Early inhabitants may have gathered in the Edmonton area as early as the end of the last ice age, possibly as early as 10,000BC when as the ice receded woodlands, water and wildlife became available in the region.
In 1754, Anthony Henday, an explorer working for the Hudson's Bay Company, may have been the first European to enter the Edmonton area. His trip was part of HBC’s interest in establishing direct contact with the Native population of the interior rather than depending on Native middlemen to bring furs to posts located on Hudson Bay. In 1794, the Hudson’s Bay Company and the North-West Fur Company founded Old Fort Edmonton and Old Fort Augustus at the mouth of the Sturgeon River (present day St. Albert). By 1807, both Fort Augustus and Old Fort Edmonton had been destroyed by Blood Indians.
In 1808, New Fort Edmonton and New Fort Augustus were rebuilt on the present site of the City of Edmonton. With the amalgamation of the two companies in 1821, the Hudson’s Bay Company post was retained, as was the name Fort Edmonton. It become the distribution centre for the whole north-west and a major supply stage on the Hudson’s Bay Company trans-Canada route. In the late nineteenth century, settlers were attracted to the area by the fertile farmland in the region, and this helped to further establish Edmonton as a major regional commercial and agricultural centre. Throuhout this entire period the North Saskatchewan River served as the only major "Highway" in the region.
The area became part of the new Dominion of Canada in 1870 and modern Edmonton can be said to have begun in 1871 when it was incorporated as a village. At about this time legislation finally made it possible for private individuals to claim ownership of land. Prior to this all the land rights resided in the Hudson’s Bay Company. In the late nineteenth century, settlers were attracted to the area by the fertile farmland in the region, and this helped to further establish Edmonton as a major regional commercial and agricultural centre. Edmonton was also a stopping point for people hoping to cash in on the Klondike Gold Rush in 1897. Incorporated as a city in 1905 Edmonton became the capital of Alberta a year later on September 1, 1905.
For More History Go to the City of Edmonton Web Site