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The Wars of the Five Nations – Indian Wars

Although the confederacy known as the Five Nations were the allies of the English in the war against the French, and joined them in many of their principal expeditions, their history deserves a separate notice, as they afford us a complete example of what the Indians of North America were capable of. Their great reputation as warriors, and their wisdom in council, have been so often alluded to by those interested in the history of the Indians, that we shall be pardoned for giving a somewhat extended description of their confederacy, and an account of their wars. The Five Nations, by their geographical position, formed a sort of barrier between the French possessions in the northwest, and the middle colonies of the English. The confederacy is said to have originated in remote antiquity; and, as the name implies, comprehended five Indian tribes, of which, the Mohawks were the most powerful, and the most celebrated. These tribes were united on terms of the strictest equality, in a perpetual league, offensive and defensive. The principles of their alliance and government display much more refinement than might have been expected of “savages.” Each nation had its own separate republican constitution, in which rank and authority were only attainable by the union of age and merit, and enjoyed during the public will. Each nation was divided into three tribes, distinguished by the names, the Tortoise, the Bear, and the Wolf. The confederacy had adopted the Roman policy of increasing their strength by absorbing the conquered tribes; and the effect was the same in both cases, though, in the latter, it was on a...

King William’s War – Indian Wars

The war commonly called by the colonists, “King William’s War,” commenced in 1688 and ended in 1697. The object of the French was the expulsion of the English from the northern and middle provinces. The English directed their efforts against Canada. The French secured the services of the greater part of the Indians, and the united forces spread death and desolation in all directions.

King William’s War

King William’s War (the first of the French and Indian Wars) began in New England as an extension of the war between England and France, when in July 1689 the French governor of Canada incited the Indians to brutally attack Dover, N.H., then known as Cochecho. By then, according to the letters of Edmund Andros, governor of New England, Maine had already been deeply embroiled in the conflict for a year. In June 1689, several hundred Abenaki and Pennacook Indians under the command of Kancamagus and Mesandowit raided Dover, New Hampshire, killing more than 20 and taking 29 captives, who were sold into captivity in New France. Jean-Vincent d’Abbadie de Saint-Castin, a Frenchman whose home on Penobscot Bay (near present-day Castine, Maine, named for him) had been plundered by Governor Andros in 1688, led an Abenaki war party to raid Pemaquid in August 1689. Also in August 1689, 1,500 Iroquois attacked the French settlement at Lachine before New France had even learned of the start of the war. Frontenac later attacked the Iroquois village of Onondaga. New France and its Indian allies then attacked English frontier settlements, most notably the Schenectady Massacre of 1690. The Treaty of Ryswick in 1697 ended the war between the two colonial powers, reverting the colonial borders to the status quo ante bellum. The peace did not last long, and within five years, the colonies were embroiled in the next of the French and Indian Wars, Queen Anne’s War. After their settlement with France in 1701, the Iroquois remained neutral in the early part of the war. 1689 to 1697 King William’s War –...

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