In 1821 when the Hudson's Bay Company absorbed the North West Company the old conflicts which had hindered the colony's development disappeared, but other difficulties arose. Not the least of these were natural: adapting European-style farming to the short growing season of the region proved difficult and the uncertainties facing grain growers were exacerbated by attacks of locusts and difficult-to-control plant diseases; in 1826 the settlement was washed away in the first of what were to become routine, but seemingly always unanticipated, Red River floods.
Perhaps even more threatening to the colony's future by the middle of the 19th Century were the cultural conflicts built into its heritage. The Presbyterian Scots settlers had little in common with the substantial and growing Metis population made up of French-speaking Roman Catholics, many of the former fur trade employees who settled in the area on their retirement (or dismissal due to downsizing by the Hudson's Bay Company after 1821) or even the English-speaking, usually Protestant "half breeds" (aka "mixed-blood" or "country-born") offspring of Indian-Scots unions. As the Hudson's Bay Company lost interest in subsidizing immigration from Scotland, and despite some additional European immigration (from Switzerland, for example) the Metis population of Red River came to outnumber the Europeans there. By the 1860s the stage was set for a more serious clash of interests in the region between what was by then a largely French-speaking, Roman Catholic community and another wave of newcomers to the west from central Canada.
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