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Beaver Wars

Seeking to expand their range and broker the thriving fur trade, the Dutch-supported Iroquois engaged in one of the earliest and longest territorial conflicts with the French-allied confederated Algonquin nations. Hoping to dominate the lucrative market, the Iroquois sought to leverage their European trade relationships into territorial expansion. Armed with British and Dutch weapons, they disrupted French trade and seized hunting grounds from various Algonquin and Iroquoian nations in the regions of the Great Lakes.

The conflicting interests of the myriad alliances led to years of war, inflamed by the European pursuit of Native land and drawn out by regional political destabilization. The disruption in tribal territories and regular trade relations sparked a long-running conflict that pushed many Northeastern tribes further west. Resulting from this war, displaced Potawatomi communities emigrated to and initially populated the northern and western shores of Lake Michigan.


Books & Articles:

  1. Edmunds, R. David. The Potawatomis, Keepers of the Fire. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1989.
  1. MacLeitch, Gail D. Imperial Entanglements: Iroquois Change and Persistence on the Frontiers of Empire. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011.
  1. Starna, W. A. “From the Mohawk-Mahican War to the Beaver Wars: Questioning the Pattern.” Ethnohistory 51, no. 4 (2004): 725–50. https://doi.org/10.1215/00141801-51-4-725.
  1. Taylor, Alan. Colonial America: a Very Short Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.
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