The fur trade was already well developed between Native groups by the time Europeans arrived in New England. Native Americans traded furs for metal tools, cloth and weapons. Beaver fur, which was used in Europe to make the very popular felted hats of the period, became the most valuable of these furs.
The fur trade prospered until the mid-1800s when beavers became scarce due to over-hunting and silk hats gained popularity over felt hats.
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