Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Peter Pond (c. 1739–1807) was born in Milford, Connecticut. He was a soldier with a Connecticut regiment, a fur trader, founding member of the North West Company, an explorer and cartographer. Despite his accomplishments he died in relative obscurity and poverty in his birthplace.
He began his fur trading career with his father out of Detroit, Michigan. He traded throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin. Through his business he became acquainted with Alexander Henry, Simon McTavish and the brothers Thomas, Benjamin and Joseph Frobisher. They formed the North West Company which developed a fierce rivalry with the Hudson's Bay Company.
In search of new fur resources he explored west of the Great Lakes. In 1783 his explorations led him to the Athabasca, a region stretching from Lac Île-à-la-Crosse to the Peace River. There he explored waterways around Lake Athabasca and determined the approximate locations of Great Slave Lake and Great Bear Lake from First Nations peoples of the area. From his notes and diaries Peter Pond drew map showing rivers and lakes of the Athabasca region, including what was known of the whole area from Hudson Bay to the Rocky Mountains and interpolating his information to the Arctic Ocean or Northwest Passage. In 1785, one copy of his map, accompanied by a detailed report was submitted to the United States Congress and a second to the Lieutenant-Governor of Quebec, Henry Hamilton. Pond needed financial support to carry his explorations to the limits of North America's northwest but the British government was not forthcoming.
A partner in the North West Company, founded in 1784, he was in charge of the company business in the Athabasca and Peace River areas. An ambitious man with a reputation for a violent temper he was implicated in two murders: Although acquitted on the murder charges, the company replaced him with Alexander Mackenzie. In the process of taking over the management of the business Mackenzie learned a great deal form Peter Pond about the Athabasca and Peace River region. Pond left the North West Company in 1788. Mackenzie was intrigued by Pond's belief that the rivers of that area flowed to the Northwest Passage. He took the initiative to follow up on Ponds belief and canoed that river, now called the Mackenzie River, which did in fact flow to Arctic Ocean. Peter Pond had contributed to the mapping of Canada by drawing the general outline of the river basin that Mackenzie recorded in 1789.
The maps that Peter Pond subsequently drew, based on his explorations and on the information provided to him by First Nations peoples, ultimately gained him international recognition at the end of the 18th century.
In 1790, Pond sold his shares in the North West Company to William McGillivray . He returned to Milford, Connecticut, where he died in 1807.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details