Since the 16th century, the English and the French struggled for control of the territory surrounding Hudson Bay in their quest for the Northwest Passage, but also mainly because it was an area rich in fur. In 1697, the naval officer Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville, who held the fur trade monopoly for Hudson Bay, received a fifth and final commission from the minister responsible for the colonies, to expel the English from the region. After only five days of battle, and with a single 44-cannon ship, the Pélican, the privateer sank two English warships, beat another into retreat and forced the Governor of Hudson Bay, Henry Baley, to surrender. Although Iberville won the battle, the Pélican sank.

The Sinking of the Pélican
The 1697 sinking of the ship the Pélican in Hudson Bay, from Claude-Charles Bacqueville de La Potherie, Histoire de l'Amérique septentrionale, Paris, Jean-Luc Nion and François Didot, 1722
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