(c. 1786–1860), overseas governor, Hudson's Bay Company. Born out of wedlock in Scotland, Simpson was raised by his father's family and sent to London in 1800 to work with his uncle at Graham and Simpson, sugar brokers. Merger with Wedderburn and Company in 1812 opened opportunities in the fur trade, as Wedderburn's sister, Jean, was married to Lord Selkirk, an important shareholder of the HBC. Selkirk's influence led to violent competition with the North West Company and after his death in 1820 the company sought amalgamation with its rivals. Simpson, untainted by the conflicts, was sent to oversee the fusion of the work forces. Quickly gaining a reputation for efficiency and strategy, he was made effective North American governor of the company in 1826. He expanded trade across the mountains and his prodigious travel focused on zones of competition with America and Russia. Simpson was knighted in 1841 for his Oregon Treaty support of arctic exploration. With ratification of the Oregon Treaty in 1842, he oversaw withdrawal of HBC interests located south of the 49th parallel to lower mainland British Columbia and Vancouver Island. After 1839, Simpson's personal business interests expanded towards transportation, settlement, banking, and mining. He died a wealthy and prominent citizen of Montreal.
From The Oxford Companion to Canadian History in Oxford Reference.
Subjects: History of the Americas.