Hudson’s Bay Company Archives – UNESCO Designation

UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Hudson’s Bay Company Archival Records. Inscribed on the Register in 2007. Memory of the World.

On June 21 2007, Manitoba announced that Hudson’s Bay Company Archives’ records spanning the first 250 years of Hudson’s Bay Company history, 1670-1920, were added to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) Memory of the World Register. UNESCO started the Memory of the World programme in order to protect and promote the world’s documentary heritage.

As of March 2018, Hudson's Bay Company Archives' records are also one of six inaugural inductees to the Canada Memory of the World Register, maintained by the Canadian Commission for UNESCO.

To learn more about UNESCO’s Memory of the World programme, visit the UNESCO website and see the listing for the Hudson's Bay Company Archival Records.

Close up photo of a handwritten document
The documentary heritage included in this designation represents the first 250 years of the history of the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC), 1670-1920.
several Fur Trade Ledger books on a self
The records include ledgers, letters, fur trade post journals, ships logs, maps, paintings, photographs, sound recordings, and moving images.
hand drawn map entitled “A sketch of Hayes's River Mouth”, showing the Nelson River Mouth, N.E. end of Haven's Island and the Eastern Shore
They document HBC's operations in London, across North America, and even Russia's Far East.
photo of two men outside an HBC post, holding bundles, and standing behind a dog sled and dogs
The records reflect the changing nature of HBC's business practices, as the North American fur trade waned and HBC's focus shifted to land sales and the establishment of saleshops and department stores.
photo of a group of men, women, and children standing in front of a building
After 1870, the records capture HBC's relinquishment of its role as the de facto European government in the area of North America known as Rupert's Land.
cover of a book entitled “The Accompts at Churchill River Hudsons Bay America Anno Domini”
The records of the Hudson's Bay Company Archives also illuminate important aspects of Canadian social and cultural history, such as the interaction between European fur traders and Indigenous groups, and how this relationship shaped the economic and political fabric of Canada. Additionally, they provide important scientific evidence on climate trends, animal population cycles, and the spread of disease.
a hand drawn map showing land divisions around Red Deer
The records of the Hudson's Bay Company Archives are used to support a broad range of research, including Indigenous land claims, business history, mapping and exploration history, genealogy, environmental and climate research, and so much more.
photo of a person's hand grabbing a book off a shelf
The Hudson's Bay Company Archives is dedicated to preserving these records and making HBC's rich documentary heritage available not just to the people of Canada, but to the World.

The Hudsons Bay Company Archives is responsible for the choice and presentation of views contained on this webpage and for opinions expressed therein, which are not necessarily those of UNESCO and do not commit the Organization.