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Pacific Fur Company


PACIFIC FUR COMPANY, organized by John Jacob Astor in 1810, was the western subsidiary of his American Fur Company and the lynchpin in his plan to control the American fur market. Astor supplied capital up to $400,000 and was to bear all losses for the first five years. He retained 50 percent of the stock and prorated the remainder among several field partners. The firm was to ship sea otter and beaver pelts from Astoria, at the mouth of the Columbia River in Oregon, to Canton, China. There, furs would be exchanged for Chinese goods, which Astor's ships would then deliver to the United States. The wreck of two of the ships, unfortunate management in the field, and the War of 1812 resulted in the failure of the Pacific Fur Company, and Astoria and its equipment were sold by the field partners, at a great sacrifice, to the North West Company.


Karamanski, Theodore J. Fur Trade and Exploration: Opening the Far Northwest, 1821–1852. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1983.

Lavender, David. The Fist in the Wilderness. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1979 [1964].

Robert MoultonGatke/t. d.

See alsoAstoria ; Fur Companies ; Fur Trade and Trapping .

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