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Post by thelivyjr » Fri Jul 24, 2020 1:40 p


Iroquois Offensive and the Destruction of the Huron: 1647-1649

The Iroquois Confederacy (the Five Nations-Mohawk, Seneca, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Oneida) launched a massive offensive against the Huron north of the Great Lakes in the summer of 1647.

Unfortunately for the Huron, Jesuit missionaries had brought smallpox to Huronia in the previous decade, and continuous outbreaks of the disease had taken a serious toll.

The Iroquois objective was to seize control of the major fur-trade routes controlled by the Huron.

The Huron had realized great benefits as middlemen between the French on the St. Lawrence and the First Nations farther inland.

An Iroquois Confederacy victory would enable the Five Nations to control the fur trade and divert furs to the Dutch trading posts along the Hudson River.

Iroquois control of the fur trade would also weaken the French settlements along the St. Lawrence.

The fur trade was the most important source of income for the French colony of New France.

By 1649, the Iroquois had all but annihilated the Huron nation.

Their towns had been razed to the ground, and the main Jesuit mission at Huronia had been destroyed.

The few Huron that survived the Iroquois onslaught abandoned their lands and resettled near Quebec. ... -1647-1649

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Post by thelivyjr » Fri Jul 24, 2020 1:40 p


Iroquois' destruction of Huronia

In 1649, the Iroquois attacked and massacred.

They benefitted from the weakened state of the Huron nation, laid waste by epidemics and divided by the presence of so many Christian converts.

The Hurons had no European weapons either for the French refused to sell to them.

The Jesuits Daniel, Jogues, Lallemant, and Brébeuf were taken prisoner, tortured, and executed.

"About twelve hundred Iroquois came," a Huron remembered.

"They took their anger out on the Fathers: they stripped them naked; they tore their fingernails off."

"They rained blows on their shoulders with sticks, on their kidneys and stomach and legs and face, and no part of their body was spared this torment."

Huronia was bathed in blood and fire.

The Iroquois laid waste to Huronia.

Their vengeance knew no limit.

Of the thirty thousand Hurons, a few thousand survived: some of which decided to live on the Île d'Orléans under the protection of the cannons of Quebec.

"Since the faith entered into their hearts," wrote Father Le Jeune, "and they began to adore the Cross of Jesus Christ, He shared with them a part of this Cross, exposing them to miseries, torments and cruel deaths."

"In a word, this people has been wiped off the face of the Earth."

"My brother," a Huron chief said to a Frenchman, "your eyes cheat you when you look at us: you think you are seeing living beings, whereas we are only the spectres and souls of the departed."

It was the end of a people and a culture.

Forty years after meeting the explorer Samuel de Champlain, the Huron nation was merely a vestige of its former self.

A powerful nation had disappeared, victim of the fur trade, and an excess of zeal to convert it to Christianity.

The beaver, the crucifix, and the Iroquois had killed it.

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Post by thelivyjr » Fri Jul 24, 2020 1:40 p

The Canadian Encyclopedia

Iroquois Wars

Updated by Zach Parrott, Tabitha Marshall

Published Online February 7, 2006

Last Edited July 31, 2019

The Iroquois Wars, also known as the Beaver Wars and the French and Iroquois Wars, were a series of 17th-century conflicts involving the Haudenosaunee Confederacy (also known as the Iroquois or Five Nations, then including the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca), numerous other First Nations, and French colonial forces.

The origins of the wars lay in the competitive fur trade.

In about 1640, the Haudenosaunee began a campaign to increase their territorial holdings and access to animals like beaver and deer.

Hostilities continued until 1701, when the Haudenosaunee agreed to a peace treaty with the French.

The wars represent the intense struggle for control over resources in the early colonial period and resulted in the permanent dispersal or destruction of several First Nations in the Eastern Woodlands.


In the 17th century, the Haudenosaunee economy became interdependent with the European fur trade.

They began trading with British and Dutch merchants early that century, providing animal pelts in return for iron tools, firearms, blankets and other items.

Their traditional enemies, including the Huron-Wendat and Algonquin, established trading relationships and alliances with French merchants and colonists.

The fur trade was intensely competitive and led to increased hostility between First Nations.

By the middle of the 17th century, the Haudenosaunee had depleted the numbers of beaver in their homeland.

They therefore began a campaign to increase their territory and gain access to new hunting and trapping grounds.

After Dutch traders on the Hudson River (in present day New York State) provided them with firearms, the Haudenosaunee began to exert their military strength.

In 1628, they pushed the Mohicans east and, in the 1630s, the Mohawk began to raid the Algonquin in the Ottawa Valley.

By the early 1640s the Mohawk and Oneida were attacking settlements of New France and raiding the colony's Algonquian allies throughout the St. Lawrence Valley.

By 1642, the French had begun to halt these raids by building a chain of fortified settlements as far upriver as Montréal.

The French tried to counter the Mohawk acquisition of firearms by arming their Wendat and Algonquian allies, but the Jesuits persuaded officials to restrict their sale to Christian converts, whom they saw as more “reliable.”

Dispersals of First Nations

One of the profound effects of the Iroquois Wars was the dispersal of numerous First Nations.

The policy of the Seneca was to disperse the Wendat, which left them free to raid the hunting peoples to the north.

Their raids, beginning in 1642 with the more isolated Wendat villages, culminated in 1649 with over 1,000 Seneca and Mohawk attacking two main villages.

Some Wendat tried to hold out on a nearby island but were forced to disband; some fled to Québec and others joined the Neutral, who were decisively defeated in 1651.

In the winter of 1649–50 the Haudenosaunee attacked the Nipissing and the Petun.

With the Wendat nation effectively destroyed and the Neutral crushed, the Haudenosaunee increased their raids on the Mohican, Sokoki and Abenaki.

While in Québec they raided as far east as Tadoussac and north beyond Lac Mistassini.

Faced with stiff resistance from the Susquehannock and the Erie, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy entered into peace with the French in 1653.

After concentrated Haudenosaunee attacks, the Erie were absorbed in 1657.

Renewed hostilities in 1659–60 on a wide front greatly strained the confederacy, and the Haudenosaunee again sought peace with the French.

But a treaty embracing all groups was not arranged until 1667, after the Carignan-Salières Regiment had burned Mohawk villages and food supplies.

By 1675, the Haudenosaunee had absorbed the Susquehannock to the south and had moved westward into the Ohio Valley, where they fought the Illinois and Miami nations.


Over the course of five conflicts, the Haudenosaunee succeeded in breaking up every one of the groups that had surrounded the confederacy.

However, the victories did not bring them the prosperity they sought.

The treaty of 1667 had allowed the French to extend their trade in the north and, with explorer Louis Jolliet, they advanced through the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River.

As part of a broader conflict between French and British, the Haudenosaunee attacked Lachine in force in 1689 (see Lachine Raid).

However, with the aid of the Troupes de la Marine, the defenders eventually forced the Haudenosaunee to make peace.

In a treaty ratified July 1701 at Montréal, they agreed to remain neutral in wars between the British and French (see Peace of Montreal 1701).

Further Reading

George T. Hunt, Wars of the Iroquois: A Study in Intertribal Trade Relations (1978)

Daniel P. Barr, Unconquered: The Iroquois League at War in Colonial America (2006)

Anthony P. Schiavo, Claudio R. Salvucci, (eds.), Iroquois Wars: Extracts from the Jesuit Relations (2003) ... quois-wars

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Post by thelivyjr » Fri Jul 24, 2020 1:40 p



Native American warfare, before European contact, is characterized as primitive warfare due to their lack of territorial gain or economic advancement.

The Iroquois, specifically, based their warfare on social continuity and spiritual growth.

Death in Iroquois society is a direct correlation to the level of tribal spirituality and strength.

Sustainability of this strength is maintained through adoption and Mourning War.

Mourning War (as these were called due to their emphasis on the deceased) assured the spiritual power of the clan would be preserved.

The encounter of Europeans and the Iroquois drastically changed the Iroquois society and their methodology of warfare.

Europeans brought disease and commerce, which in turn proved disastrous to these tribes.

By the early sixteenth century, the definition of the Mourning War had changed.

Warfare began as a cultural answer to death and diminishing power within the Iroquois society; however, after contact with Europeans, this tradition evolved into a detrimental cycle of destruction.

Older histories attribute Iroquois warfare to various different rationales.

Scholars of the nineteenth century tended to portray the warfare of the northeastern Native Americans as an innate cultural or racial predisposition.

They were seen as possessing an “intractable spirit of independence, and pride which...rein-force...that savage lethargy of mind from which it is so hard to rouse him.”1

Tragically, this aided in the ideas of Indian savagery.

Twentieth century historians tended to reject these earlier notions and began to concentrate on the economic factors of warfare.

Historians such as George T. Hunt blame the European introduction of economic competition brought on by the fur trade.

He concluded that inter-tribal wars began as private and social enterprises that, after the introduction of European trade, created new rivalries and these wars assumed an entirely different aspect.

These changes could be first documented in the battle for Fort Orange in 1626. 2

Recent scholarship has provided a multi-causational approach to the wars of the Iroquois.

Various cultural traits such as mourning, feuding, and revenge also played a key role in this cultural mechanism.

Brandao suggests that “any monocausal explanation should be suspect, and this one is no exception."

"The Beaver Wars interpretation is an economically reductionist and simplistic explanation that downplays both the Iroquois cultural resilience and other important goals of seventeenth-century Iroquois warfare."

"A closer look at the central tenets of this economic interpretation reveals several reasons for questioning its validity; the most important is that there is little or no evidence to support it.” 3

As in many Indian cultures, the Iroquois practice of warfare was not driven by territorial expansion or economic gain; but the need for social continuity.

The Iroquois (as they were called by the French denoted their infamous reputation as “snake-like”savages) declared and conducted war as any European country would, but their organized violence served functions in their culture that were unfamiliar to the colonizers. 4

The Five Nations, however, oftentimes engaged in raids which were “oftentimes large-scale efforts organized on village, nation, or confederacy levels...” or battles of revenge that were deeply inlaid with cultural significance.

Relations between the Iroquois and Europeans varied depending on individual interests of the tribes in the League.

Because the Iroquois League existed primarily to suppress warfare among its constituent groups rather than “to coordinate interactions with outsiders...” 5

Sometimes these individual interests led to warfare with Europeans who were allied with fellow tribesmen.

This warfare, seen as primitive warfare and created the generalization that the Iroquois peoples were “warlike”.

With the Europeans came disease and technology both unfamiliar and destruction to these tribes.

From the mid-sixteenth century, disease ran rampant through the Iroquois tribes and reduced them to half of their population.

Maintenance of population levels was only possible through war and adoption of new members.

The significance of adoption and maintenance of population is best understood by the role of warfare in Iroquois society.

According to Blick, adoptions are divided into preliminal rites, luminal rites, and postliminal rites: Iroquois adoption forces a captive to move through the preliminal states of separation from his tribe, the capture, removal from his old life, and the recognition of his status as a stranger.

The luminal state, or transition, imposes upon the captive the ordeal of the gauntlet, a ceremonial death (symbolized by beating or whipping), and the status of initiate.

Finally the postliminal state concludes the captive’s odyssey with his incorporation into Iroquois society through adoption, thereby granting him a new life (or rebirth after his ceremonial death), and the recognition of his status as a member of that society. 6

Similarly to their European counterparts, the Iroquois engaged in battle for prominence of society.

However, according to the Iroquois prominence was gained through maintenance and growth of tribal spiritual power.

War captives were used to replace the dead, literally and symbolically.

According to Richter, warfare defined Iroquois mourning practices.

By the end of the first half of the seventeenth century, warfare practices were further redefined with European trade.

According to the Iroquois, no bad deed could go unpunished.

Death that spawned from war was considered traumatic and caused profound grief to loved ones.

The deceased’s family and village suffered a loss of power as a result of this loss of life.

The only way to appease the mourning families was to wage vengeance on their killers.


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Post by thelivyjr » Sat Jul 25, 2020 1:40 p



“Mourning wars” (wars that were fought to obtain captive from war) assured that the spiritual power would not leave the community, but remain in the captive of war.

The Haudenosaunee, collectively known as the People of the Longhouse were frequently involved in inter-tribal warfare and war between neighboring tribes.

To create a solution for tribal antagonisms the Iroquois League or Confederacy was created.

The legendary leaders Deganawidah and Hiawatha developed a plan to end (forever) all wars.

A system was set up where chiefs from the five nations would hold council before any action was taken.

In order to curb the blood-feud, a system of wampum exchange was devised.

In turn, “wampum became an Iroquois version of the wergild where by the family of the individual killed by someone from a different clan could be appeased without further bloodshed.” 7

Despite this alliance, the Iroquois continued to pursue their own interests including alliances with Europeans.

The Five Nations prospered as a result of their unity; however, negligence of their peace resulted in intermittent warfare.

Most historians view warfare as the progression of weaponry, state-building, and territorial gain in that only hierarchical, centrally controlled states can conduct “true” or “decisive” war.

Pre-states, as many Native American societies are defined, fought “primitive” wars due to their lack of geopolitical concerns or plans of destruction of opponents will to fight. 8

The traditional wars of the Five Nations centered on the premise of population stability, which in turn provided individual and collective spiritual power.

When a person died, according to the Iroquois, “the power of his or her lineage, clan, and nation diminished in proportion to his or her individual strength.”

Requickening is a ritual in which the deceased’s name, along with the social role and duties it represented, transfers to a successor.

Father Paul le Jeune, a French Jesuit missionary in French Canada, observed this ritual in practice.

He noted that the Iroquois gave the potential adoptee presents and in acceptance of such presents would solidify his acceptance into the tribe.

He would then assume all social functions of that tribal member as well as organizing a war party to kill his enemies, in place of the deceased who lives again through him. 9

The Requickening Address in the Ritual of the Condoling and Installation Council of the League (or Confederation) was confined to specific constraints: The Condoling and Installation Council of the League (or Confederation) of the Iroquois held requickening in the autumn and winter due to their concern with death and the powers that requicken and preserve the living from the power of the Destroyer, and so it was thought to be deadly and destructive to growing seeds and plants and fruits were it held during the spring or summer - the period of growth and rebirth.

Its purpose in part is to nullify and overcome the power of Death and to restore to its normal condition the orenda, or magic power, of the stricken sisterhood of tribes. 10

Through requickening, any vacancy in Iroquois families and villages are thus filled symbolically and physically.

Requickening addresses were accompanied with fourteen strings of wampum 11 (sometimes the name of the Requickening Address is called the Fourteen Matters or Ne’Adondak’sah) known as the Wampum Strings of Requickening. 12


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Post by thelivyjr » Mon Jul 27, 2020 1:40 p



The Requickening Address is the third of five 13 essential rituals used in the Condolence Council (which in this case is for a tribal chieftain) that uses redundant phrases to illustrate the evils and the wounds that devastate the mourning.

The act of requickening counteracts the effects of these evils by restoring the dying people to new life in the person of their newly installed member. 14

Some of the key aspects of the address are as follows: “’Now, is...the calamity, so direful, that has stricken thy person...I shall speak such words that I will soothe and appease by [caressing] thy guardian spirit....The being that is demonic in itself...the Great Destroyer, that it is, that every day and every night roams about... [where] it exclaims(s) ‘I,...will destroy the Commonwealth [the League],’ we have wiped the tears away from our faces...that customarily takes place when a distressful event has befallen a person, that the flesh [and] body...becomes obstructed....Moreover, the powers of life usually are lessened....[When] it comes to pass where a direful thing befalls a person, that the Sun becomes lost to that person, customarily....Now, I have set in order all thy shall be possible that they shall again set his face fronting the people, that they shall again raise him up [requicken him], that they shall again name him, and that also he shall again stand in front of the people.’” 15

The Requickening Address is the key to understanding the vital importance in understanding the maintenance and integrity of the Iroquois peoples.

The Iroquois perception was aggravated by certain view-points such as the idea of natural death.

With the exception of drowning, the Iroquois believed that there was no such thing as a natural death.

When a loved one died, someone else was to blame and revenge was essential.

Iroquois warriors were urged to “take vengeance for the wickedness and treachery committed and to make war upon them as speedily as possible.” 16

On a societal level, warfare helped the Iroquois deal with death, more importantly, on a personal and emotional level, it performed similar functions.

They believed that the despair and grief of a loved one’s passing could, if uncontrolled, plunge survivors into depths of anguish and fits of rage potentially harmful to themselves or the community.

Mourning rituals assisted the deceased’s household providing an easy return to normal life.

However, if these feelings remain exacerbated the only socially acceptable channel of release was to seek captives to ease the pain.

The target of such a mourning war was usually traditional enemies even if they were neither directly or indirectly responsible for the death.

Members of the dead person’s household did not participate in the captive raids personally.

Instead, young men, related by marriage, were obliged to form a raiding party or face accusations of cowardice.

Martial skills in Indian societies were highly valued because achievement in battle was a sign of prestige and honor.

Participation in a war party was both a great honor and a pivotal point in a young man’s life.

The status of a warrior was dependent on the number of captives he brought home for torture or adoption.

In fact success was a determinant in an “advantageous marriage and possibilities of becoming a village leader."

"Selection to a sachem, or the governing body, was determined on his ability to attract followers in raids and his munificence in giving warfeasts.”

Success in his efforts brought the young man merit in his clan and village.

After the raid, mourners either selected a prisoner for adoption or vented their rage through torture and execution.

The duty of the prisoners was to make a sincere effort to please their new relatives or meet a sudden death.

During ritual torture, the Iroquois were absorbing the spiritual power of the captives.

According to Parkman, sometimes this torture would include, but was not limited to, the tearing away of finger nails with their teeth, the gnawing of the fingers, and piercing of body parts. 17

The final consumption of power lay in the ritualistic feast of the captive’s body.

According to Barr, this feast, fed to the warriors, literally gave the warriors power.

The ceremonial torture and executions of prisoners was beneficial to both mourners as well as other villagers; by participating in the humiliation and torture, “villagers were simultaneously partaking in the defeat of their foes."

"Additionally, youth learn valuable lessons in the behavior expected of warriors and in the way to die bravely if captured.”


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Post by thelivyjr » Tue Jul 28, 2020 1:40 p



Therefore, warfare promoted group cohesion and demonstrated to the Iroquois their superiority over their enemies.

Scalping also aided in demonstrating superiority while simultaneously spreading a sense of fear among Europeans.

The Jesuits felt threatened by the Iroquois and “ man could hunt, fish, till the fields, or cut a tree in the forest, without peril to hi sscalp.18

Native Americans believed that the “hair was full of magical power and that a person’s spirit or soul was supposed to be concentrated at the top of the head.” 19

The practice of scalping literally captured the soul and power of a defeated foe.

This scalp also served as a trophy for the warrior in that it was worn as a “badge of honor daring enemies to attack him.” 20

As prominent as scalping was to an Iroquois, the practice was not well received in reverse.

To be scalped in Iroquois society made the warrior dead to society and he was seen (literally) as a lost soul. 21

Scalping was an important mechanism used to regain lost tribal power, but cannibalism also aided in this salvage.

Cannibalism also played an integral part of the Iroquois war-fare methodology.

Ritual cannibalism, a trait commonly exhibited in Northeastern Indian warfare, involved the “consumption of a victim’s flesh or organs and was considered a way to acquire the strength and courage of an enemy warrior.”

Archaeology has provided evidence of ritual cannibalism and is evident at several sites and suggests that the cyclic “mourning warfare” was prominent at this time.

According to Keener, some archaeological sites contain refuse pits that contain burned human bone and several arrow-riddled burials at this site. 23

Despite attempts to sanitize Native American History, cannibalism remains a known, yet debated factor. 24

According to Parkman, during ceremonial torture, the bravest victims were honored with a ritual feast in which they literally participated; where “their bodies were divided, thrown into kettle, and eaten by the assembly.” 25

Native Americans believed that a person’s bravery dwelled in their blood and that it could be transferred to others via consumption or transfusion.

According to Marrin, such feasts included boiling of entire bodies, the roasting of the victim’s heart (which was given to the young men to feed their courage), the drinking of blood, or the transfusion of blood through incisions. 26

Jesuit documents have also described the frequent practice of cannibalism; they have noted the skinning of human remains, the consumption of hands and ears, as well as feet. 27

Not all accounts come from Jesuit documents.

One such example is Governor Devonville’s account of the cutting of his dead soldiers into quarters in order to put them in a pot and have their blood drank. 28

This inhuman tradition was seen as a necessary and vital part of life despite its present conceptions.

The social demands of mourning wars shaped strategy and tactics in at least two ways.

First, the essential measure of a war party’s success was its ability to seize prisoners and bring them home alive.

The capture of enemies was preferred to killing and scalping them.

This was vastly different from the European style warfare.

According to the Iroquois, “ forget the importance of captive taking or to ignore the rituals associated with it was to invite defeat.”

The second tactical reflection of the social functions of warfare was the idea of survival in battle.


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Post by thelivyjr » Fri Jul 31, 2020 1:40 p



For the Iroquois, casualties challenged the intention of warfare as a means of enlarging the population.

Slain warriors were barred from the village of the dead and doomed eternally to seek vengeance.

Contrary to the notion of admiralty in death in battle, the Iroquois saw death in battle as dishonorable and irrational.

Tactical changes decreased the number of fatalities in battle.

Such tactics included ambushes and surprise attacks, never fighting when outnumbered, and avoiding frontal assaults on fortified places.

Iroquois defensive tactics developed to include spies posted in enemy villages along with scouts who warned of any impeding attack.

Strategies were developed so that “if enemies penetrated Iroquoia, the defenders ambushed the war party only if confident in victory."

"Oftentimes, villages were burned and villagers fled to the forest or neighboring villages to avoid loss of life."

"The Iroquois were able to maintain spiritual power as long as the invaders failed to attempt a complete surprise attack.”

Generally, if the Iroquois were at a disadvantage, they chose to flee or arrange a truce.

According to Richter, warfare, to the Iroquois, was a response to the death of specific individuals at specific times, a sporadic affair characterized by seizing from traditional enemies a few captives who would replace the dead, literally and symbolically, and ease the pain of those who mourned.

Ultimately, the Iroquois envisioned a world without war - a time of peace and a time of condolence; war ends when grief ends.

The mid-seventeenth century introduced a series of aggressive wars against a mounting group of enemies.

The threat of “childhood diseases” from the Europeans such as measles and smallpox was already affecting the Iroquois as well as other neighboring tribes before they ever laid eyes on a European.

New diseases spread among the Iroquois “shredding the social fabric and giving rise to desperate attempts to understand and counter the scourge.”

In 1634 Dutch traders introduced smallpox to the Connecticut and Hudson rivers.

William Bradford witnessed the destruction this epidemic caused: “the condition of these people was so lamentable... they die like rotten sheep...very few of them escaped...”

Nearly half the Indians in this area died as a result of the illness and many could not bury their dead before they met their own timely demise.

These epidemics caused the Iroquois to give in to desperate attempts to understand and remedy the situation. 80

Epidemics wiped out almost half the Iroquois populations.

By the early 1640s, roughly half the Iroquois League was dead, reducing the population to about 10,000.

According to Snow a general malady affected the Mohawk in 1647; a great mortality struck the Onondaga in 1656-1657; a smallpox epidemic was seen amongst the Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca in 1661-1663; a kind of contagion among the Seneca in 1668; and a general Influenza among the Seneca in 1676.

As these people suffered terrible diseases from the Europeans, only captive adoptees could regenerate the tribe.

Because of these afflictions, mourning wars increased on an even grander scale.

No one was able to escape the detrimental effects of the European epidemics.

Smallpox was especially hard on infants and mature adults, selecting the very men and women who held the key to the vitality of Iroquois culture.

According to Snow, “the survivors found themselves forced to reconstitute society without the wisdom of many of the elders on whom they had depended only a few months earlier, and without the many individuals who had previously made up their kindred constellation.”

Warfare therefore ceased to be a response to death and mourning and became a necessary yet ineffective warning of a society in crisis.

By 1675, the introduction of European diseases, firearms, and trade changed the role of warfare in Iroquois society.

This introduction threatened the very function and purpose of mourning warfare.

European colonists changed in the Iroquois’ motivation for warfare.


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Post by thelivyjr » Sat Aug 01, 2020 1:40 p



Competition for European trade further exacerbated Iroquois warfare on other Indian tribes that contradicted the cultural significance and necessity for warfare.

According to Hunt, “so quickly did the hostilities arise after the entry of the European, and so fiercely did they continue, that observers were prone to consider war as the usual intertribal relationship, not knowing how they themselves had transformed these relations when they appeared with the precious tools and weapons.”

Mourning warfare’s principal objective was changed from replacement of the deceased to achievement of an economic advantage.

By the early seventeenth century, the French allied with the Algonquian-speaking Indians of the St. Lawrence area.

Through warfare with these tribes, the Iroquois acquired French trade goods such as axes and other metal goods.

As early as 1609, Iroquois raids began to disrupt the fur trade in the St. Lawrence area.

As trade goods made their way into Iroquoia and surrounding villages, the geographic position of the Iroquois tribes made it difficult to participate effectively in European trade.

This dilemma was particularly felt by the Mohawk tribe.

Fort Orange became the center for the Dutch-Indian fur trade.

In the early seventeenth century, they were still fighting with antiquated weaponry which affected their war patterns and their victories.

Their participation in the trade was enhanced when the Dutch provided firearms.

Fort Orange served as a middle ground for the Dutch and the Mohawk in that “to obtain furs, the Dutch needed the Mohawks."

"To obtain furs from tribes farther west, the Mohawks needed Dutch weaponry.”

Although they received firearms from the Dutch, they were not readily available.

In order to reap the benefits of European trade, the Mohawk needed to travel through enemy territory — the land of the Mahicans.

The direct access the Mahicans had to the Dutch was seen as a threat to the Mohawks.

From 1624 to 1628 the Mohawk-Mahican wars ensued.

By the early 1630s, other Iroquois tribes joined the Mohawk in economic (mourning) wars.

Victory in these wars gave the Iroquois access to Dutch trade goods, specifically beaver pelts, to aide them in obtaining firearms.

According to Graymont, the Dutch pressured the Mohawks and the Mahicans for many years to make peace, for the warfare was disrupting normal trade relations between the Dutch and the Indians.

The Five Nations engaged in battle with the Huron, the Neutral, and the Erie Nations and over time these wars developed into a phenomenon that continued the vicious cycle of mourning war.

These resulting wars were soon seen as an evolution from the small-scale raids with the objective to obtain captives for requickening to large-scale battles that proved more deadly and were acted out due to an economic stimulus.

The Mourning war would again become the primary purpose of warfare; but social, political, and economic factors escalated this purpose to genocidal levels of hostility.

The Fur Trade introduced new goals to the mourning war, but did not completely overshadow the traditional purpose.

Raids were noted to “increase in number and intensity in years immediately after an outbreak of disease, demonstrating a definitive link between disease and increased warfare."

In addition “...the number of captives taken by the Iroquois during the Beaver Wars was on average two to three times greater than the number of enemies they killed.”

This illustrates the necessity and desperate attempt to replace population losses.

Mourning war was a way to assuage the grief and pain that was felt after the loss of tribal members.

Such wars evolved into a more complicated system of warfare that “also motivated raiding, as Iroquois warriors took captives or scalps as well as furs and trade goods.”

These wars were driven by the cataclysm created by the Europeans.


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Post by thelivyjr » Sun Aug 02, 2020 1:40 p



The French and Iroquois Wars, more commonly known as the Beaver Wars were an intermittent series of conflicts fought in the late seventeenth century in the Northeast.

In these wars the Iroquois were able to gain a position as middleman in the French fur trade and simultaneously conquered many other Native American tribes.

These wars, led predominately by the Mohawk Tribe (due to their close proximity to the main trading station Fort Orange), secured the Iroquois dominance over the French and her allies.

The early 1600s saw the development of an Iroquois-Dutch alliance until 1664 where the English replaced the Dutch.

The origins of the war began with the depletion of beaver in the Iroquois territory in the middle 1600s.

Iroquoia, now present day New York, was mainly compromised of Dutch trading posts.

These posts soon became a gateway into European-Native American entanglements and eventually led to the redefinition of mourning war.

Dutch trade posts introduced the Iroquois to advanced technological weaponry that was far superior to the typical bow and arrow.

The acquisition of firearms led to a declination of beaver so that by 1640 it had relatively disappeared.

This declination is important in that without the rifles hunting beaver is far less efficient, and concurrently beaver pelts were regularly traded for firearms.

Necessity for pelts drove the Iroquois to invade territories of the north along the St. Lawrence River.

Alas, this territory, inhabited by the Hurons, was the center of the French trade.

Almost immediately the Iroquois found themselves deeply embedded in European affairs.

In the late 1600s the Iroquois competed with the Huron and other Indian tribes for domination of the beaver fur trade.

The rivalry between the French, Dutch, and the English for control of the fur trade in North America encouraged intertribal warfare among the Indians.


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