The Scotch philanthropist Thomas Douglas (1771-1820), fifth earl of Selkirk, who owned a controlling interest in the Hudson Bay Company, decided to establish a colony of Scotch settlers in the fertile Red River basin near present-day Winnipeg, Manitoba. His first settlers arrived in 1812, much to the consternation of the North West Company, the Hudson Bay Company's principal rival, whose fur traders used the region for transporting their goods. The settlers were persuaded to leave in 1815, but a new group arrived and restored the Red River colony the following year. North West Company traders then stirred up their halfbreed Indian [Mete] allies against the colonists, whose outlying posts and crops were destroyed in June 1816. At a place called Seven Oaks, about 25 colonists confronted their harassers (some 60 strong) to end the destruction; a fight broke out, and 21 colonists were killed. the Red River colony fell into the hands of the North West Company. In response, Douglas hired a group of Swiss mercenaries to capture the chief North West post at Fort William, which they did. The ringleaders of the Seven Oaks Massacre were arrested, and in 1817 colonists were brought back to the Red River. This time they survived and prospered.