Canadian Geographic
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Forged in war

The Huron

The Huron, the Ottawa valley bands, some Montagnais, and the Susquehannock were loosely allied against the five Iroquois tribes, while the Neutral, Petun, and Ottawa fought against the groups in the Michigan peninsula. Originally conducted primarily for reasons of prestige, revenge, and religion, warfare gradually changed in purpose and increased in intensity after European contact.

Champlain was made to understand by the natives that security at Québec (1608), trade, and inland exploration required French participation in native wars. He accompanied a Montagnais-Algonquin-Huron war party up the Richelieu valley to Lake Champlain to make a raid on the Mohawk. For Champlain the raid was an opportunity to explore and to cement an alliance, promised by Henry IV to the Montagnais in 1602, and for his native companions it was proof of French good will. For the Mohawk it marked the beginning of French interference in their affairs. (See the Fur Trade)

To the south on the upper Hudson River regular Dutch trade began in 1614 with the local Algonquian Mahican and expanded to the Mohawk. By the early 1620s the Dutch were trying to reach Algonquian groups north of the St Lawrence through the Mahican, a dangerous relationship in Mohawk eyes. In order to cover their northern frontier the Mohawk made peace with the French and their Algonquian allies in 1624, and then attacked the Mahican, defeating a Dutch-Mahican force in 1626 and driving the Mahican from Fort Orange in 1628. With access to the Dutch trade secured, the Mohawk turned against their traditional northern enemies.


This piece describes the Native warfare that existed between 1600 and 1648. An interactive map illustrates the breakdown of linguistic groups by region, as well as an option to highlight specific areas where warfare took place.


On the next page:

Iroquois Confederacy

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Quiz :

Where did the Dutch establish trade in 1614 with the local Algonquian Mahican?

South of Hudson Bay
Upper Hudson River
At Québec