During the centuries-long expansion of the Hudson's Bay Company throughout Canada, its initials, emblazoned on the flags it flew, became ubiquitous. There were even jokes about the symbols. "What did HBC stand for?" asked the tenderfoot. And the old trapper took another pull at his clay pipe before replying gravely, "Here Before Christ." Here, in this essay by New York Times bestselling historian David Lavender, is the company's surprising and little-told story.
The story of America's westward movement is at heart the story of men and women of all origins and beliefs who helped shape the character of a nation. They lived a stirring epic, the telling of which grows ever more fascinating it becomes ever more remote. It has become a romance, a drama of men and women against the forces of a stupendous land and nameless terrors. Pain and violence tormented whites and Indians alike. Here, from award-winning historian David Lavender, is their enduring story.