The whole policy and nature of the Hudson's Bay Company was altered when the earl of Selkirk gained control after 1808. His scheme to colonize Scottish and Irish farmers on company lands led to the Red River Settlement trouble, which brought disaster to the company. The ruinous and bloody rivalry was brought to an end by the amalgamation of the companies in 1821. The name of the older company was retained.
The amalgamation marked the beginning of a period of true monopoly. The new united company virtually had absolute rule over a vast territory that extended from the Atlantic to the Pacific, since all of Canada except the settled eastern provinces was leased to the company. Parts of the United States, especially the Columbia River country, were subject to joint Canadian and American occupancy, but virtually were under company rule, especially during the long tenure of John McLoughlin, who acted as administrator there. The governorship (1821–56) of Sir George Simpson marked the peak of the company's fortunes.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.