"UP TO the time of the ratification of the treaties of 1 837 there were no lands in the area of Minnesota open to settlement. All was “Indian country.” Pike's purchase was for military purposes only. Nevertheless, with the doubtful permission of the Indian agent and of the military commanders, a certain nucleus of white settlers had established themselves at Fort Snelling. The newcomers did not come from below in the wake of the military and the traders. They came down before the north wind from the Canadian border and beyond.
In 181 1 the Scotch Earl of Selkirk of philanthropic turn having secured a controlling interest in the Hudson's Bay Company, acquired from that organization a tract of about 116,000 square miles of land west and south of Lake Winnipeg and the Winnipeg River, to be known as Assiniboia, and comprising roughly the province of Manitoba and the northern part of the states of North Dakota and Minnesota. It was Selkirk's purpose to establish within the limits of his grant colonies of evicted Scotch peasants. On August 30, 1812, an advance body of Scotch with a few Irish emigrants arrived at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine rivers. In 1813 and 1814 additional bands of colonists, for the most part Scotch Highlanders, numbering about two hundred reached the new settlement. The Northwest Company regarded these colonists ostensibly introduced by the Hudson's Bay Company, as intruders into territory which had been explored by Canadian adventurers and in which its trading posts had long been established. Various impediments were thrown in the way of the newcomers and in the summer of 1815 nearly half of them were induced by promises of land, provisions, money, and free transportation to desert the colony and remove to Upper Canada. Those remaining withdrew down the Red River and made their way to Lake Winnipeg. A few months later they returned and were reenforced by a considerable body of new emigrants. In the summer of 18 16 the Northwest Company let loose upon the colony a band of bois brules, mounted and armed who murdered Governor Semple and twenty men with him. Again the colonists withdrew down the Red River, and the settlement at Fort Douglas was utterly destroyed. In the summer of 18 17 Lord Selkirk appeared in person with a reenforcement of about one hundred men who had been discharged from two regiments composed of Swiss Italians and other mercenaries for the British Army sent over to aid in the War of 1812 and disbanded at Montreal and Kingston. With this force which he had armed he was able to rally and reestablish his scattered colonists. The unhappy contest between the Hudson's Bay and Northwest Companies went on until their union on March 26 1821 a year after the death of Lord Selkirk.” (Source: A History of Minnesota, Volume 1, William Watts Folwell, pp 213-214)