NATIVE AMERICANS AND THE FUR TRADE:
ONE PART OF THE ECONOMIC EQUATION
The furs and lands that fell in the purview of Native Americans were highly
desired by Europeans. Frederick Philipse dealt with two groups of Native
Americans: the River Indians of the lower Hudson Valley and the Iroquois
of Northern and Western New York State. Furs fetched high prices in Europe
where deep wilderness had long been depleted. In exchange, Philipse and
other traders offered Native Americans wampum, guns, metal tools, cloth,
and cheap ceramics.
southern New York became depleted of furs, New York merchants turned a
covetous glance to the powerful Iroquois Confederacy and the fur-rich
lands under its control. Local Albany merchants lobbied the government
and were granted a monopoly in dealing with the Iroquois. Frederick Philipse
circumvented the ban by establishing a house in Albany run by his father-in-law.