Canadian Geographic
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Early survival

Iroquoian Settlement

EARLY PERIOD (AD 500-1300)
The introduction of corn ca AD 500 was followed by beans, squash, sunflower, and tobacco. Three farming populations – Glen Meyer, Pickering, and Formative St Lawrence Iroquois – developed out of earlier non-agricultural cultures. There is evidence that about AD 1300 the Pickering people conquered and dispersed their Glen Meyer neighbours.

MIDDLE PERIOD (AD 1300-1400)
The conquest (ca AD 1300) of the Glen Meyer people by the Pickering created a relatively homogeneous culture in Ontario, known as Uren-Middleport, that expanded into New York and influenced the St Lawrence Iroquois. Villages increased in number and size as the reliance on farming deepened and the population grew. In the largest 14th-century villages, more than two hectare in size, there were more than 1,000 people.

Around the beginning of the 15th century the St Lawrence Iroquois expanded downriver as far as the vicinity of Québec City where Jacques Cartier encountered them in 1535. By this time the St Lawrence Iroquois between Lake Ontario and Montréal had disappeared; archaeological evidence suggests that they had been conquered and partially absorbed by the Huron north of Lake Ontario. Before the end of the 16th century Huron villages became increasingly concentrated around the southern end of Georgian Bay. The Neutral shifted eastward to settle around the western end of Lake Ontario. Both movements were probably intended to create defensive buffer zones, one between the Huron and the League of Five Nations in New York State, and the other between the Neutral and the Fire Nation in the Michigan peninsula.

To explore the role and development of farming in Canada click here.


This interactive map illustrates patterns of settlement, influence, war and dispersal of native populations in the St. Lawrence and Great Lakes regions. Users can select the time period using a slider, and coloured areas and arrows highlight the regions concerned. Users can explore portions of the map by clicking to zoom in and out, and dragging to pan around.


On the next page:

Cultivated Plants

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Quiz :

What are the first colonizing people of the Canadian Arctic region called?

Fluted Point people
Early Palaeo-Eskimo people
Laurentian Archaic people