Rivière de Rupert is 763 km long to the head of Lac Témiscamie. It drains Lac Mistassini and then follows a twisted course through a series of lakes and across a flat coastal plain to discharge into southeastern James Bay.
Cree have inhabited its banks for centuries. English navigator Henry Hudson wintered at the mouth in 1610-11. In 1668 the ship Nonsuch made its historic voyage to the spot that led to the creation of the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) and the beginning of the fur trade in Hudson Bay. The company's first post (Fort Charles and later Rupert House) was built at the river's mouth and for many years it was a main artery of the trade, carrying traders and native people between the coast and the fur-rich interior. Waskaganish, a Cree settlement, is still located near the site of the original post. Prince Rupert was the first governor of the HBC, from 1670 until his death in 1682.