OTD: Nonsuch reaches Rupert River

On today’s date in 1668, U.S. sea captain Zachariah Gillam reached Rupert River (in present-day Quebec) on the ketch Nonsuch with French explorer and fur trader Médard Chouart des Groseilliers.

In 1968 – 300 years after the 1668 voyage of the Nonsuch – Canada’s Post Office Department issued a multi-coloured five-cent stamp (Scott #482) commemorating the ketch’s iconic journey. Printed by the British American Bank Note Company, the stamp had a print run of 24,560,000.

After building Charles Fort, Gillam and Groseilliers made a treaty with a local chief and spent the winter trading. In October 1669, the Nonsuch returned to England with its cargo of furs. The investors approached King Charles for a charter to establish a trading company, and this was granted on May 2, 1670, creating the Hudson’s Bay Company, one of Canada’s oldest commercial enterprises.

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