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From bases at Fort Vancouver, located north across the Columbia River from present-day Portland, and St.
Louis, the British and Americans sent expeditions instead of armies to fight for profits swimming in beaver ponds.
Unfortunately, because of the gubernatorial bans, these expeditions are largely undocumented except for the trials of those caught returning with contraband furs, slaves, or the Americans and French whom the Hispanic authorities arrested and imprisoned for trading illegally.
Led by Spaniard Manuel Lisa, Frenchman Pierre Chouteau, and American John Colter (who had accompanied Lewis and Clark), traders departed from St.
Approximating the future route of the Oregon Trail over part of their journey, they discovered South Pass in south-central Wyoming.
In this discovery, they found the easiest route across the Rockies leading into the Great Basin, Oregon, and California.
Louis for the headwaters of the Missouri, trapping on its tributaries and eventually establishing the St. Not to be outdone, New York businessman and German emigrant John Jacob Astor organized the American Fur Company and its western subsidiary, the Pacific Fur Company, to trade on the Columbia.
After establishing Astoria on the Oregon Coast, Astor's partners learned of the outbreak of the War of 1812.Louis for transshipment to markets and manufacturers.