At another intercolonial conference at Albany, called by Burnet, a line of trading posts along the northern and western frontiers was strongly recommended.
However much the administrators may have fallen short in actual practice, the Spanish ideal was to preserve and civilize the native races, rather than to establish lucrative trading posts where the natives might be easily exploited.
The capitania of Pernambuco was ably governed and took an active part in the expulsion of the French from the trading posts established along the coast northward to Maranhao, and in establishing Portuguese colonies in their places.
The St Lawrence is far the most important Canadian river from the historic and economic points of view, since it provided the main artery of exploration in early days, and with its canals past rapids and between lakes still serves as a great highway of trade between the interior of the continent and the seaports of Montreal and Quebec. It is probable that politically Canada would have followed the course of the States to the south but for the planting of a French colony with widely extended trading posts along the easily ascended channel of the St Lawrence and the Great Lakes, so that this river was the ultimate bond of union between Canada and the empire.
The report of Lewis and Clark attracted many traders and trappers, and within a few years the Missouri Fur Company, the Rocky Mountain Fur Company, the Hudson Bay Company and the American Fur Company had established fortified trading posts on the Missouri, the Yellowstone, the Marias, the Milk and other rivers; the most prominent among these was Fort Benton, which was established in 1846 at the head of navigation on the Missouri, and was made the headquarters of the American Fur Company.
In 1679 Daniel Greysolon, Sieur du Lhut (Duluth), as agent for a company of Canadian merchants which sought to establish trading posts on the Lakes, explored the country from the head of Lake Superior to Mille Lacs and planted the arms of Louis XIV.