Rupert, Prince
b. 1619-10-17
d. 1682-11-29
Prince Rupert, after whom Fort Rupert, Prince Rupert, and Rupert's Land were named, was the first governor of the Hudson's Bay Company.1 Prince Rupert was born at Prague on 18 December 1619, where—before they were driven out by the Habsburgs—his parents, Princess Elizabeth (Stuart), and Frederick V, ruled as king and queen of Bohemia.2
Rupert was an infant prodigy, skilled in arts and languages; although, he had a temper, and often misbehaved. The young prince was also interested in military tactics; Rupert served briefly with the prince of Orange's army,3 and, during the English Civil War, his uncle, King Charles I, made him commander of his Royalist cavalry,4 a position wherein Rupert gained a reputation as a fierce soldier.5
After a mild falling-out with the king, Rupert was exiled, and, for a number of years, he took to maritime activities—not dissimilar to piracy—along the coasts of Spain, Africa, and the Caribbean. Rupert returned to England after the the Restoration in 1660, and served his cousin, King Charles II, in the Anglo-Dutch wars.6
In 1670,7 Prince Rupert became the first governor of the Hudson's Bay Company, and all the land that encompassed the waters that drained into the bay were named Rupert's Land, with exclusive rights granted to the HBC.8
Though Rupert never wed, he fathered two children—a son, Dudley Bard, who was born in 1667, and died in 1686 at the Battle of Buda, as well as a daughter, Ruperta, born in 1673, to whom, along with her mother, Rupert left much of his estate. In November 1682, Rupert contracted a chest infection and passed away several days later.9
  • 1. Andrew Scott, The Encyclopedia of Raincoast Place Names (Madeira Park, BC: Harbour Publishing, 2009), 478.
  • 2. Ian Roy, Rupert, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Online.
  • 3. Ibid.
  • 4. Scott, The Encyclopedia of Raincoast Place Names, 478.
  • 5. Ian Roy, Rupert, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Online.
  • 6. Ibid.
  • 7. Ibid.
  • 8. Scott, The Encyclopedia of Raincoast Place Names, 478.
  • 9. Ian Roy, Rupert, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Online.
Mentions of this person in the documents
The Colonial Despatches Team. Rupert, Prince. The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871, Edition 2.2, ed. The Colonial Despatches Team. Victoria, B.C.: University of Victoria. https://bcgenesis.uvic.ca/p_rupert.html.

Last modified: 2020-12-02 13:40:34 -0800 (Wed, 02 Dec 2020) (SVN revision: 5008)