Why was Beaver fur so popular in the 1600s and Why was the Fur Trade important to European traders?

When the fur trade began, European traders most wanted lush pelts of mink, sable, black fox, and ermine, which were used to trim expensive coats worn by the wealthy.

By about 1600, though, the fur most in demand was that of the beaver, an animal nearly extinct in Europe. Felt hats were then a very popular European fashion.

Durable and naturally water repellent, the best felt was made from the beaver’s soft underfur.