Calgary & Southern Alberta
Born on the Isle of Wight, Anthony Henday was a convicted smuggler hired by the Hudson's Bay Company to work as a labourer at Fort York (York Factory), in what is now Manitoba. In 1754, Henday answered a request from the governor of Fort York for volunteers to travel to the western interior of the Company's fur trading domain. The purpose of the expedition was to convince distant native trappers to bring their goods to Company posts on Hudson Bay, thus deflecting business from French traders working in the hinterland.
After a brief period of survey training, Henday embarked on his journey on June 26, 1754. Guided by a group of Cree who had come to Fort York to trade, Henday paddled up the Saskatchewan River via the Hayes, and then continued along the Battle River valley by foot. As he moved westward, he encountered not only French traders at what is now The Pas, but also numerous Assiniboine people. By fall, Henday and the Cree leader Conawapa, along with their Cree companions, had reached a point just southeast of present-day Red Deer. Here Henday became the first European to record in writing an encounter with people the Cree called "Archithinues" - presumably either Blackfoot or Atsina (Gros Ventres).
The chief of the 200-lodge "Archithinue" encampment, while courteous, was unimpressed with Henday's "sales pitch" for the Hudson's Bay Company. He responded unenthusiastically to Henday's assurances that those who came to Fort York with furs would be rewarded with good powder, shot, cloth, and fine beads. The chief pointed out that his people could not live without bison flesh, and did not wish to make the dangerous journey east.
After wintering near the "Archithinue" camp, Henday returned to Fort York. In 1759, he again travelled west in the hope of attracting the people of the plains to Fort York. Again, he was unsuccessful.
Hudson's Bay officials described Henday as "a bold and good servant." Perhaps because his trade missions failed to achieve their primary goal, however, Henday did not receive from the Company the recognition and rewards he felt his journeys had earned him. In 1762, he left the Hudson's Bay Company, probably returning to England.
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