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Toll Routes

To reach a trade gathering travellers not only had to cover great distances, they also had to obtain permission to cross the territories of other nations. This involved not just the right of passage over land, it included lakes and rivers.

When arriving on the territory of another nation, the members of the trading expedition presented themselves as friends or relatives of the first person to establish the trade route. They also offered gifts to the nation that lived in that part of the country, a reminder of the alliance that their two nations had sealed. When returning from the trade gathering, the group came back along the same route and gave additional gifts.

If the group did not pay, or if they passed illegally through the territory of another nation, they could expect to be stopped by a group of warriors. Part of the merchandise being taken to trade, or being brought back from the trade gathering, might be confiscated. This type of incident hardly ever occurred. For the First Nations, paying for right of passage was normal and accepted.

Offering gifts and travelling through the territories of allied nations made the voyage much safer. Since each nation protected its trade routes, the trading expeditions could bring back their merchandise without risk. They preferred to take a safe route that was longer rather than one that was faster but more dangerous.