The company was founded as a result of the exploration of the region by Pierre Radisson and the sieur des Groseilliers in 1668–69 under the auspices of London merchants. The expedition's success in opening up the fur trade with the Native Americans prompted Prince Rupert, Charles's cousin, and others to appeal to the king for a charter. A preliminary charter seems to have been granted that year, but it was not until 1670 that the much-discussed permanent charter was granted to these "Gentlemen Adventurers trading into Hudson's Bay." It conferred on them not only a trading monopoly but practically sovereign rights in the region specified as that drained by rivers flowing into Hudson Bay. The extent of this vast region was not then known, nor was it fully known for about a century.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.