OTD: Nonsuch reaches Rupert River

On today’s date in 1668, U.S. sea captain Zachariah Gillam reached Rupert River (in present-day Québec) 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 (now Canada Post) 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, which was granted on May 2, 1670, creating the Hudson’s Bay Company, one of Canada’s oldest commercial enterprises.

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