As far back in history as the days of Marco Polo, European mariners, dreamed of a shorter sea route for reaching the riches of silk, porcelain, jewels and spices of Asia.
Mathieu Da Costa (depending on the language of the documents that mention his name, also known as “Mateus Da Costa,” “Mathieu de Coste,” “Matheus de Cost” and “een Swart genamd Matheu”), interpreter (dates and places of birth and death unknown). Da Costa is one of the most fascinating and elusive figures in the early history of Canada. Historians consider him the first Black person known to have visited Canada, probably in the company of Pierre Dugua de Mons and Samuel de Champlain. But many aspects of his life remain unclear or unknown.
James Bay is the southern appendage of Hudson Bay. It is about 160 km wide between Pointe Louis-XIV on the east coast and Cape Henrietta Marie on the west.
Throughout the history of exploration, what one group saw as new territory was often long-established homeland for another. Canada’s Arctic was no exception.
York Factory, also known as York Fort, Fort Bourbon, and Kischewaskaheegan by Indigenous people, was a post on the Hayes River near its outlet to Hudson Bay, in what is now Manitoba. During its life, it served as a trading post and later as a major administrative centre in the Hudson’s Bay Company’s fur trade network. It also bore witness to the largest naval battle to take place in Arctic Canada.