From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A factory at Bathurst (Gambia) around 1900
A recreation of a typical trading post for trade with the Plains Indians

A trading post, trading station, or trading house, also known as a factory in European and colonial contexts, is an establishment or settlement where goods and services could be traded.

Typically the location of the trading post allows people from one geographic area to trade in goods produced in another area. In some examples, local inhabitants can use a trading post to exchange local products for goods they wished to acquire. [1]

A trading post can be either a single building or an entire town. [2] Trading posts have been established in a range of areas, including relatively remote ones, but most often near the ocean, a river, or another natural resource. [3]


Major towns in the Hanseatic League were known as kontors, a form of trading posts. [4]

Charax Spasinu was a trading post between the Roman and Parthian Empires. [5]

Manhattan and Singapore were both established as trading posts, by Dutchman Peter Minuit and Englishman Stamford Raffles respectively, and later developed into major settlements. [6] [7]

The Roman Empire could control such a large amount of land because of their efficient systems for spreading information, goods, and other supplies across large distances. Goods specifically were vital to fueling outposts in distant territories, like northern Africa and western Asia. Trading posts played a large part in managing these goods, where they were going, and when. Some goods exchanged at these trading posts and other parts of the Roman trade system were precious stones, fabrics, ivory, and wine. There is also evidence that they traded cattle at the Empúries trading post, established in the 6th century BCE, on the Iberian Peninsula. [8]

North American frontier

A trading house was typically strategically stocked with goods that the Native Americans would trade furs for; some of these goods included clothing, blankets, and corn. Eric Jay Dolin's Fur, Fortune, and Empire provides some historical context on events and the origins of trading posts in North America. One of the first examples given is that of the Kennebec Trading House, established in 1628 by the Plymouth colonists. [9]

The next event from Dolin's book features early conflicts between the French and Plymouth colonists. This occurs in 1631 when the French go to the Plymouth Penobscot trading post. With the masters and most of the crew gone to get supplies, this left only a few servants to attend to the French. When the Frenchmen learned that this was the case, they decided to feign interest in a few of the guns available at the trading post, which they turned back onto the servants. They ordered for all things valuable, leaving with £500 of goods and £300 in beaver pelts. [10]

A good portion of Fur, Fortune, and Empire focuses on the journey of John Jacob Astor, who founded the American Fur Company (AFC). One of the great feats achieved by the AFC was the establishment of a trading post in the native Blackfoot tribe's territory, located in modern-day Montana along the Rocky Mountains. The Blackfoot tribe had killed many Americans and, up to this point, only traded with the Hudson Bay Company. In order to erect a trading post in Blackfoot territory, they would need an inside contact to establish contact on their behalf. Jacob Berger, a trapper, offered Kenneth McKenzie to serve as this contact and get the AFC into negotiations with the Blackfoot. The talks were successful, and McKenzie was able to build a trading post in Blackfoot territory, adjacent to the Missouri and Marias rivers, naming it Fort McKenzie. [11]

Noochuloghoyet Trading Post was an American trading post established in the last 19th century, located in central Alaska adjacent to the Yukon River. This was an important trading post for the fur trade, though it has historically gone by different names and the level of involvement varied greatly while active. [12]

Other uses

  • In the context of scouting, trading post usually refers to a camp store in which snacks, craft materials, and general merchandise are sold. [13] "Trading posts" also refers to a cub scout activity in which cub teams (or individuals) undertake challenge activities in exchange for points. [14]
  • A "trading post" also once referred to a trading booth within the New York Stock Exchange. [15]

Trading posts in North America

See also


  1. ^ Trading post; Factory - Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, 1989
  2. ^ "Santa Fe | History, Population, Map, & Facts | Britannica". 2024-01-10. Retrieved 2024-01-11.
  3. ^ John C. Ewers, "The Trading Post in American Indian Life," Smithsonian Institution Annual Report for 1954 (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1955), 389-401.
  4. ^ "Hanseatic League". BBC News. Retrieved 2024-01-11.
  5. ^ "Trade between the Romans and the Empires of Asia | Essay | The Metropolitan Museum of Art | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History". The Met’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. Retrieved 2024-01-11.
  6. ^ Matt Soniak (October 2, 2012). "Was Manhattan Really Bought for $24?". Mental Floss. Archived from the original on February 12, 2020. Retrieved May 11, 2020.
  7. ^ Mun Cheong Yong; V. V. Bhanoji Rao (1995). Singapore-India Relations: A Primer. NUS Press. p. 3. ISBN  978-9971-69-195-0.
  8. ^ Colominas, L., and Edwards, C. J. (2017) Livestock Trade during the Early Roman Period: First Clues from the Trading Post of Empúries (Catalonia). Int. J. Osteoarchaeol., 27: 167– 179. doi: 10.1002/oa.2527
  9. ^ Dolin, Eric Jay (2010). Fur, fortune, and empire : the epic history of the fur trade in America. New York: W.W. Norton & Co. p. 55. ISBN  978-0-393-06710-1. OCLC  449865266.
  10. ^ Dolin, Eric Jay (2010). Fur, fortune, and empire : the epic history of the fur trade in America. New York: W.W. Norton & Co. p. 62. ISBN  978-0-393-06710-1. OCLC  449865266.
  11. ^ Dolin, Eric Jay (2010). Fur, fortune, and empire : the epic history of the fur trade in America. New York: W.W. Norton & Co. p. 272. ISBN  978-0-393-06710-1. OCLC  449865266.
  12. ^ Turck, Thomas J., and Diane L. Lehman Turck. “Trading Posts along the Yukon River: Noochuloghoyet Trading Post in Historical Context.” Arctic, vol. 45, no. 1, 1992, pp. 51–61. JSTOR, JSTOR  40511192. Accessed 25 Mar. 2023.
  13. ^ Norfolk Scout Shop, accessed 10 February 2022
  14. ^ Online Scout Manager, Trading Post - Cubs, accessed 10 February 2022
  15. ^ New York Institute of Finance, Trading post, accessed 10 February 2022

External links