Fort Whoop Up

Box 1074
T15 4A2
Country: ca


Box 1074, Lethbridge, AB T15 4A2

In the 1860s, prospectors from Montana crossed the border into what is now Southern Alberta. Many supplemented their search for gold by trading whiskey for buffalo hides and robes ─ a practice by then outlawed in America.

Early profits were huge, and soon posts were built to capitalize on the buffalo robe trade in the northern Blackfoot territories. Fort Whoop-Up and its ilk threatened the stability of the western plains, and the growing American presence worried Canada’s government.

Some traders became fabulously wealthy off the sale of buffalo skin robes to Eastern American society. Others found the Blackfoot savvy bargainers, smart enough to prosper from the white man’s goods in their own trading relationships.

But whiskey and repeating rifles were a dangerous combination, with terrible consequences for the plains tribes. Smallpox and whiskey decimated the population, and the repeating rifles rained death on hundreds of Cree and their allies at the great “Battle of the Belly River,” yards away from Fort Whoop-Up.

To safeguard their claim to these lands, and to put a stop to the threatening violence, a force was sent west – the 300 men of the red-coated North West Mounted Police: Canada’s famous Mounties.


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