Tucked away next to the Missouri River in northeastern North Dakota, the tranquil plains of the 1800s became home for the most iconic trading posts in the West. Fort Union Trading Post was a vital location for seven different Northern Plains Tribes and Westerners. Strategically situated at the confluence of the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers, Fort Union became a crucial hub for commerce and cultural exchange.
Trappers and traders from various backgrounds converged here, exchanging furs, goods and stories. The fort was renowned for its diverse workforce, with individuals from numerous ethnicities and cultures working side by side. Written records describe relations there as a “bastion of peaceful coexistence” where over 25,000 buffalo robes and $100,000 in merchandise traded hands. (That’s over $2.6 billion in present day standards.) Today, you can relive this activity with living history interpretations including blacksmithing, weaving and even teepee-building. Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site stands as a well-preserved reminder of the pivotal role played by trading posts in shaping the history of the American West.
For more information on North Dakota, visit NDTourism.com.