|Copyright: Denis Mark (dmark11)
|Date Taken: 2011-03-31|
|Camera: Canon EOS 60D|
|Exposure: f/5.6, 1/125 seconds|
|More Photo Info: [view]|
|Photo Version: Original Version|
|Date Submitted: 2011-04-05 18:20|
|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|This is a bit of a different posting for me, its a Canadian beaver. I had noticed a large log on the edge of the pond that was striped clean of its bark so I started to watch for this guy. I was surprised one day when I saw it sitting in the middle of the frozen pond. It looks really surprised to see me.|
The quest for religious and political freedom is often cited as the reasons Europeans colonized North America, but natural resources were another major draw. These included whales, vast schools of cod, and towering lodgepole pines used for ship's masts. But the resource that lured explorers across the continent was ACTUALLY the beaver.
After the early European explorers realized that Canada was not the spice-rich Orient, the main mercantile attraction was the beaver, then a population numbering in the millions. In the late 1600s and early 1700s, the fashion of the day demanded fur top-hats, which needed beaver pelts. As these hats became more popular, the demand for the pelts grew. Explorers were dispatched deep into the North American wilderness to trap and trade for furs with local natives.
King Henry IV of France saw the fur trade as an opportunity to acquire much-needed revenue and to establish his North American empire. Both English and French fur traders were soon selling beaver pelts in Europe at 20 times their original purchase price.
The first North American coat of arms to depict a beaver was created by Sir William Alexander, who was granted title in 1621 to the area now known as Nova Scotia .
The trade in beaver pelts proved so lucrative that the Hudson's Bay Company honoured the buck-toothed little animal by putting it on the shield of its coat of arms in 1678. The Hudson's Bay Company shield consists of two moose and four beavers separated by a red St. George's Cross, and reflects the importance of this industrious rodent to the company. A coin was created at that time to equal the value of one beaver pelt.
There is a magazine called "The Beaver", first published in 1920 by Hudson Bay Company, that is still being published today.
Hudson’s Bay Company was no ordinary business. Wielding extraordinary power, it was a business that acted like a nation. It played a major role in the exploration of Canada, even helping determine its borders. A potent rival to Hudson’s Bay Company, the French also honored the beaver in 1678. In that year, Louis de Buade de Frontenac, then Governor of New France, suggested the beaver as a suitable emblem for the Colony, and proposed it be included in the armorial bearings of Quebec City. In 1690, the "Kebeca Liberata Medal" was struck to commemorate France’s successful defense of Quebec. The reverse depicts a seated woman, representing France, with a beaver at her feet, representing Canada.
The beaver was included in the armorial bearings of the City of Montréal when it was incorporated as a city in 1833. Sir Sandford Fleming assured the beaver a position as a true National Symbol when he featured it on the first Canadian postage stamp - the "Three Penny Beaver" of 1851.
The beaver appeared with the other popular Canadian symbol, the maple leaf, on the masthead of Le Canadién, a newspaper published in Lower Canada. It was one of the emblems of the Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste for a time, and it’s still found on the crest of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company (CPR).
Despite all this recognition, the beaver was close to extinction by the mid-19th century. There were an estimated six million beavers in Canada before the start of the fur trade. During its peak, 100,000 pelts were being shipped to Europe each year, and the Canadian beaver was in danger of being wiped out. Luckily, about the mid-19th century, Europeans took a liking to silk top-hats, and the demand for beaver pelts all but disappeared. Beaver populations began to recover as Great Britain’s northern North American territories evolved towards nationhood.
On March 24, 1975, the beaver received the highest honour ever bestowed on a rodent. On that day it became an official emblem of Canada when an "act to provide for the recognition of the beaver (castor canadensis) as a symbol of the sovereignty of Canada" received Royal assent. Today, thanks to conservation and silk hats, the beaver - the largest rodent in Canada - is alive and well all over this great country.
brech, bungbing, maaciejka, Argus, Adanac, CeltickRanger has marked this note useful
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