Indian wars


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Indian wars,

in American history, general term referring to the series of conflicts between Europeans and their descendants and the indigenous peoples of North America.

Early Conflicts

Each of the colonial powers in North America met and overcame Native American resistance. In the Southwest the most notable incident precipitated by the Spaniards was the ferocious Pueblo uprising led by PopéPopé
, d. c.1690, medicine man of the Pueblo. In defiance of the Spanish conquerors, he practiced his traditional religion and preached the doctrine of independence from Spanish rule and the restoration of the old Pueblo life. In Aug.
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 in 1680. New France was constantly menaced because of the hostility of the Iroquois ConfederacyIroquois Confederacy
or Iroquois League
, North American confederation of indigenous peoples, initially comprising the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca.
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, although the French missionaries and traders maintained better relations with other Northeastern tribes. The history of the English settlements is studded with tribal conflicts, including the war of the PequotPequot
, Native North Americans whose language belongs to the Algonquian branch of the Algonquian-Wakashan linguistic stock (see Native American languages). The Pequot are of the Eastern Woodlands cultural area (see under Natives, North American).
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 against the Connecticut settlers in 1637; the uprising of the WampanoagWampanoag
, Native North Americans whose language belongs to the Algonquian branch of the Algonquian-Wakashan linguistic stock (see Native American languages). In the early 17th cent.
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 and NarragansettNarragansett
, Native North Americans whose language belongs to the Algonquian branch of the Algonquian-Wakashan linguistic stock (see Native American languages). Part of the Eastern Woodlands culture (see under Natives, North American), in the early 17th cent.
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 against the New England colonies in 1675–76, known as King Philip's WarKing Philip's War,
1675–76, the most devastating war between the colonists and the Native Americans in New England. The war is named for King Philip, the son of Massasoit and chief of the Wampanoag. His Wampanoag name was Metacom, Metacomet, or Pometacom.
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; the wars with the Yamasee on the South Carolina frontier; and Pontiac's RebellionPontiac's Rebellion,
 Pontiac's Conspiracy,
or Pontiac's War,
1763–66, Native American uprising against the British just after the close of the French and Indian Wars, so called after one of its leaders, Pontiac.
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 in the Northwest Territory in 1763.

Struggles in the Northwest Territory

After the American Revolution, the most pressing Native American problem facing the new government was the unwillingness of the tribes of the Northwest to acquiesce in the settlement of the Ohio valley. After unsuccessful expeditions under generals Josiah Harmar (1790) and Arthur St. ClairSt. Clair, Arthur,
1734–1818, American general, b. Thurso, Scotland. He left the Univ. of Edinburgh to become (1757) an ensign in the British army and served in the French and Indian War at Louisburg and Quebec.
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 (1791), Gen. Anthony WayneWayne, Anthony,
1745–96, American Revolutionary general, b. Chester co., Pa. Impetuous and hot-headed, Wayne was sometimes known as "mad Anthony," but he was an able general. Early Career

Not inclined toward academic studies, Wayne became a surveyor in 1763.
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 defeated the tribes of the Northwest Territory at the battle of Fallen TimbersFallen Timbers,
battle fought in 1794 between tribes of the Northwest Territory and the U.S. army commanded by Anthony Wayne; it took place in NW Ohio at the rapids of the Maumee River just southwest of present-day Toledo.
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 in 1794. By the Treaty of Greenville (1795) they agreed to give up their lands in Ohio and move to Indiana.

Settlers soon began to encroach on Native American lands in Indiana, provoking the Shawnee chief, TecumsehTecumseh
, 1768?–1813, chief of the Shawnee, b. probably in Clark co., Ohio. Among his people he became distinguished for his prowess in battle, but he opposed the practice of torturing prisoners.
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, and his brother, the Shawnee ProphetShawnee Prophet,
1775?–1837?, Native North American of the Shawnee tribe; brother of Tecumseh. His Native American name was Tenskwautawa. He announced himself as a prophet bearing a revelation from the Native American master of life.
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, to organize a powerful native confederacy. In 1811, William H. HarrisonHarrison, William Henry,
1773–1841, 9th President of the United States (Mar. 4–Apr. 4, 1841), b. "Berkeley," Charles City co., Va.; son of Benjamin Harrison (1726?–1791) and grandfather of Benjamin Harrison (1833–1901).
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 defeated the Shawnee Prophet at TippecanoeTippecanoe
, river, c.170 mi (270 km) long, rising in the lake district of NE Ind. and flowing SW to the Wabash River, near Lafayette. U.S. Gen. William Henry Harrison fought the Shawnees in the battle of Tippecanoe, Nov. 7, 1811, on the site of Battle Ground, Ind.
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. Tecumseh allied himself with the British in the War of 1812 and was killed in the battle of the ThamesThames, battle of the,
engagement fought on the Thames River near Chatham, Ont. (Oct. 5, 1813), in the War of 1812. Gen. William H. Harrison led an American force of about 3,000 against a British army of approximately 400 regulars commanded by Gen. Henry A.
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 (1813), which ended the threat from Native Americans in the Northwest Territory. During the War of 1812 the CreekCreek,
Native North American confederacy. The peoples forming it were mostly of the Muskogean branch of the Hokan-Siouan linguistic stock (see Native American languages).
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 also rose and were defeated (1814) by Andrew JacksonJackson, Andrew,
1767–1845, 7th President of the United States (1829–37), b. Waxhaw settlement on the border of South Carolina and North Carolina (both states claim him). Early Career

A child of the backwoods, he was left an orphan at 14.
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.

Relocation across the Mississippi

After 1815 a policy of removing the indigenous population to reservations across the Mississippi River was pursued by the U.S. government with such success that by 1860 the great majority of the tribes had been relocated. Often, however, this was accomplished only after a struggle. The attempt to remove the SeminoleSeminole,
Native North Americans whose language belongs to the Muskogean branch of the Hokan-Siouan linguistic stock (see Native American languages). They separated (their name means "separatist") from the Creek in the early 18th cent.
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 from their lands in Florida resulted in a number of wars; the most notable Seminole WarSeminole War,
in U.S. history, armed conflict between the U.S. government and the Seminoles. In 1832 the U.S. government signed a treaty with the Seminoles, who lived in Florida, providing for their removal to Oklahoma in 1835 in exchange for a small sum of money.
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 involved the celebrated OsceolaOsceola
, c.1800–1838, leader of the Seminole. He was also called Powell, the surname of his supposed white father. In the early 1830s, Osceola was living close to Fort King, near the site of Ocala, Fla.
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. Similarly the refusal of the Sac and FoxSac and Fox,
closely related Native Americans of the Algonquian branch of the Algonquian-Wakashan linguistic stock (see Native American languages). Sac and Fox culture was of the Eastern Woodlands area with some Plains-area traits (see under Natives, North American).
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 to be removed led to the Black Hawk WarBlack Hawk War,
conflict between the Sac and Fox and the United States in 1832. After the War of 1812, whites settling the Illinois country exerted pressure on the Native Americans.
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 of 1832.

Wars in the West

After 1860 the wars continued but they now took place W of the Mississippi; the heaviest fighting occurred on the Great Plains, but there was also intermittent warfare in the Southwest and Northwest. In these conflicts most of the fighting was done by the regular army led by two of the more renowned Indian fighters, generals George CrookCrook, George,
1828–90, U.S. general, b. near Dayton, Ohio, grad. West Point, 1852. During the Civil War, Crook commanded a regiment of Ohio volunteers as colonel.
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 and Nelson MilesMiles, Nelson Appleton,
1839–1925, American army officer, b. near Westminster, Mass. In 1861, at the outbreak of the Civil War, he left his job in a Boston store and organized a company of volunteers.
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. Much of the opposition was furnished by four tribes: the SiouxSioux
or Dakota,
confederation of Native North American tribes, the dominant group of the Hokan-Siouan linguistic stock, which is divided into several separate branches (see Native American languages).
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, the ApacheApache
, Native North Americans of the Southwest composed of six culturally related groups. They speak a language that has various dialects and belongs to the Athabascan branch of the Nadene linguistic stock (see Native American languages), and their ancestors entered the area
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, the ComancheComanche
, Native North Americans belonging to the Shoshonean group of the Uto-Aztecan branch of the Aztec-Tanoan linguistic stock (see Native American languages). They originated from a Basin-type culture and eventually adopted a Plains culture.
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, and the CheyenneCheyenne
, indigenous people of North America whose language belongs to the Algonquian branch of the Algonquian-Wakashan linguistic stock (see Native American languages). The Cheyenne abandoned their settlements in Minnesota in the 17th cent.
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. Other tribes that presented courageous but generally futile opposition to the white man's rapacity were the ArapahoArapaho
, Native North Americans of the Plains whose language belongs to the Algonquian branch of the Algonquian-Wakashan linguistic stock (see Native American languages).
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, the KiowaKiowa
, Native North Americans whose language is thought to form a branch of the Aztec-Tanoan linguistic stock (see Native American languages). The Kiowa, a nomadic people of the Plains area, had several distinctive traits, including a pictographic calendar and the worship of a
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, the UteUte
, Native North Americans whose language belongs to the Shoshonean group of the Uto-Aztecan branch of the Aztec-Tanoan linguistic stock (see Native American languages). In the early 19th cent. the Ute occupied W Colorado and E Utah.
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, the BlackfootBlackfoot,
Native North Americans of the Algonquian branch of the Algonquian-Wakashan linguistic stock (see Native American languages). They occupied in the early 19th cent.
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, the ShoshoneShoshone
or Shoshoni
, Native North Americans whose language belongs to the Shoshonean group of the Uto-Aztecan branch of the Aztec-Tanoan linguistic stock (see Native American languages). In the early 19th cent.
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, the Nez PercéNez Percé
[Fr.,=pierced nose], Native North Americans whose language belongs to the Sahaptin-Chinook branch of the Penutian linguistic stock (see Native American languages).
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, and the BannockBannock
, Native North Americans who formerly ranged over wide territory of the N Great Plains and into the foothills of the Rocky Mts. They were concentrated in S Idaho.
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. Among the Native American fighting leaders were GeronimoGeronimo
, c.1829–1909, leader of a Chiricahua group of the Apaches, b. Arizona. As a youth he participated in the forays of Cochise, Victorio, and other Apache leaders.
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, Crazy HorseCrazy Horse,
d. 1877, war chief of the Oglala Sioux. He was a prominent leader in the Sioux resistance to white encroachment in the mineral-rich Black Hills. When Crazy Horse and his people refused to go on a reservation, troops attacked (Mar.
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, Chief JosephJoseph
(Chief Joseph), c.1840–1904, chief of a group of Nez Percé. On his father's death in 1871, Joseph became leader of one of the groups that refused to leave the land ceded to the United States by the fraudulently obtained treaty of 1863.
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, Captain JackCaptain Jack
(d. 1873), subchief of the Modoc and leader of the hostile group in the Modoc War (1872–73). Jack, whose Modoc name was Kintpuash , had agreed (1864) to leave his ancestral home and live on a reservation with the Klamath.
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, Red CloudRed Cloud,
b. 1821 or 1822, d. 1909, Oglala Sioux chief, b. near the Platte River in present-day Nebraska. He led the Native American fight against the establishment of the Bozeman Trail (see Bozeman, John M.) in what became known as "Red Cloud's War" (1866–68).
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, and Mangas ColoradasMangas Coloradas
[Span.,=red sleeves], c.1797–1863, chief of the Mimbrenos group of Apache of SW New Mexico. Many of the Mimbrenos were massacred by trappers in 1837 as a result of the bounty for Apache scalps offered by the Mexican authorities.
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. The warfare was characterized by numerous atrocities on both sides.

Until 1861 the Plains people had been relatively peaceful, but the advance of white settlers, with their wanton slaughter of the buffalo herds on which the Native Americans depended for their livelihood, led to the first of the numerous outbreaks in the West. Dissatisfaction among the Native Americans continued; the contributing causes were corrupt Indian agents, transgressions by prospectors seeking valuable minerals in tribal lands, and the interference of the railroads with the tribes' traditional hunting practices. Hostilities between the army and indigenous tribes reached its height between 1869 and 1878, when over 200 pitched battles were fought. Although the Native Americans fought fiercely and courageously, the continuing flow of settlers to the West and the spread of a Western railroad network made their resistance ineffectual.

Notable incidents in this bloody warfare include the virtual siege of Tucson by a band of Apaches led by CochiseCochise
, c.1815–1874, chief of the Chiricahua group of Apache in Arizona. He was friendly with the whites until 1861, when some of his relatives were hanged by U.S. soldiers for a crime they did not commit. Afterward he waged relentless war against the U.S.
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, the massacre at Sand CreekSand Creek,
Colorado, site of a massacre (1864) of Cheyenne by Col. John M. Chivington and his Colorado Volunteers. The Cheyennes, led by their chief, Black Kettle, had offered to make peace and, at the suggestion of military personnel, had encamped at Sand Creek near Fort Lyon
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, the Fetterman Massacre (see under FettermanFetterman, William Judd,
1833?–1866, American army officer. In 1861 he enlisted in the Union army from Delaware; he served throughout the Civil War and was twice brevetted for gallant conduct. After the war he remained in the army and was sent, in Nov.
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, William Judd), Custer's last stand (see Custer, George ArmstrongCuster, George Armstrong,
1839–76, American army officer, b. New Rumley, Ohio, grad. West Point, 1861. Civil War Service

Custer fought in the Civil War at the first battle of Bull Run, distinguished himself as a member of General McClellan's staff in the
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), and the battle of Wounded KneeWounded Knee,
creek, rising in SW S.Dak. and flowing NW to the White River; site of the last major battle of the Indian wars. After the death of Sitting Bull, a band of Sioux, led by Big Foot, fled into the badlands, where they were captured by the 7th Cavalry on Dec.
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. Wounded Knee in 1890 is often considered the last battle of the Indian Wars although there was an expedition against the OjibwaOjibwa
or Chippewa
, group of Native North Americans whose language belongs to the Algonquian branch of the Algonquian-Wakashan linguistic stock (see Native American languages).
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 in Minnesota in 1898. By 1887, with the passage of the Dawes ActDawes Act
or General Allotment Act,
1887, passed by the U.S. Congress to provide for the granting of landholdings (allotments, usually 160 acres/65 hectares) to individual Native Americans, replacing communal tribal holdings. Sponsored by U.S. Senator H. L.
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, a new era had begun. The resistance of the Native Americans was at an end, and the government had successfully confined them to reservations.

Bibliography

See A. Britt, Great Indian Chiefs (1938, repr. 1969); M. F. Schmitt and D. A. Brown, Fighting Indians of the West (1948, repr. 1966); R. H. Lowie, Indians of the Plains (1954, repr. 1963); A. M. Josephy, The Patriot Chiefs (1961); J. Tebbel and K. W. Jennison, The American Indian Wars (1961); J. Tebbel, The Compact History of the Indian Wars (1966); A. W. Eckert, Wilderness Empire (1969); D. A. Brown, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (1970); S. Longstreet, War Cries on Horseback (1970); H. Bird, War for the West, 1790–1813 (1971); S. L. A. Marshall, Crimsoned Prairie (1972). See also the bibliographies under the various chiefs, tribes, and wars cited.

References in classic literature ?
The jute mills failed of its agreement to increase my pay to a dollar and a quarter a day, and I, a free-born American boy whose direct ancestors had fought in all the wars from the old pre- Revolutionary Indian wars down, exercised my sovereign right of free contract by quitting the job.
Bahia Blanca -- Geology -- Numerous gigantic Quadrupeds -- Recent Extinction -- Longevity of species -- Large Animals do not require a luxuriant vegetation -- Southern Africa -- Siberian Fossils -- Two Species of Ostrich -- Habits of Oven-bird -- Armadilloes -- Venomous Snake, Toad, Lizard -- Hybernation of Animal -- Habits of Sea-Pen -- Indian Wars and Massacres -- Arrow-head, antiquarian Relic.
Not a single Indian war has yet been occasioned by aggressions of the present federal government, feeble as it is; but there are several instances of Indian hostilities having been provoked by the improper conduct of individual States, who, either unable or unwilling to restrain or punish offenses, have given occasion to the slaughter of many innocent inhabitants.
To my mind there was a sort of poetry in such an incident, hardly inferior to what would have accompanied the painted array of an Indian war party gliding forth from the same wild chasm.
The discouragements to agriculture were greatly lessened by the cessation of Indian war, during which men held the plough in one hand and the musket in the other, and were fortunate if the products of their dangerous labor were not destroyed, either in the field or in the barn, by the savage enemy.
His foot was fleet, his aim true, his apprehension quick, his heart glad and high; and all who anticipated the return of Indian war spoke of Cyrus Bourne as a future leader in the land.
He might just as well have turned a somersault and uttered an Indian war whoop, for his face was so full of suppressed excitement and his voice so treacherously joyful that everyone jumped up, though he only said, in a queer, breathless voice, "Here's another Christmas present for the March family.
Lieutenant General Sherman was to have been of the party also, but the Indian war compelled his presence on the plains.
The big carriage was full of parcels, and even Ben's seat was loaded with Indian war clubs, a Chinese kite of immense size, and a pair of polished ox-horns from Africa.
A member of the Pawnee tribe of Native Americans, Echohawk served on the European battlefields of World War II, counted coup as his grandfather had done during the Indian wars of the previous century, and drew combat sketches as well as portraits of Allied and enemy soldiers, some of which appeared in the "Detroit Free Press" in 1944.
John Bemrose leaves his home in England and travels to America, joining the American Army where he eventually fights in the Seminole Indian Wars.
The text is ordered chronologically, with chapters devoted to the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Civil War, Indian Wars, Wars of Empire, World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam, and Iraq and Afghanistan.

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