Beaver Wars

Iroquois Warriors - Beaver Wars

Iroquois Warriors - Beaver Wars

Beaver Wars Summary and Definition
Beaver Wars Summary and Definition: The Beaver Wars (1640 - 1701), also called the French and Iroquois Wars, were terrifying and brutal wars fought by tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy against the French and the Indian tribes who were their allies, including the Huron and Algonquins. The Iroquois Confederacy, and in particular the Mohawk tribe, had established trading links with Dutch exchanging beaver pelts for guns. The Iroquois Confederacy wanted to extend their trading activity and gain new territories. A series of bloody battles led to the Iroquois League destroying several large tribes including the Hurons, Eries and Susquehannocks.

The Indian Wars
Native Indian Tribes Index

Beaver Wars and The Iroquois Confederacy
Interesting facts and information about the significance, specific events and famous leaders of the Beaver Wars. The combatants of the Beaver Wars were the Iroquois Confederacy and the French Colonists. The Iroquois Confederacy was a powerful  confederation of Native American Indians which was originally composed of 5 tribes consisting of the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca people who inhabited the Great Lakes area, as seen in the map. The tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy went on to fight in the French and Indian Wars as allies of the British.

Beaver Wars Map

Beaver Wars Map

Facts about the Beaver Wars
Who fought in the Beaver Wars? When did the conflict start and when did the conflict end? What were the causes of the Beaver Wars? What was the significance of the Beaver Wars? What were the results and effects of the Beaver Wars? Interesting history and facts about the Beaver Wars:

Fast Facts about the Beaver Wars
Name of Conflict: Beaver Wars 
Alternative Names: The French and Iroquois Wars or the Iroquois Wars 
Location of Beaver Wars: Great Lakes area 
Year Beaver Wars started: 1640 
Year Beaver Wars ended: 1701 
Combatants of Beaver Wars: Iroquois Confederacy and the French.
The Iroquois Confederacy was an alliance of tribes headed by the Onondaga, Cayuga, Mohawk, Seneca and the Oneida tribes.

The Native Indian allies of the French included the Huron and Algonquins

Result of Beaver Wars: 1701 Grande Paix (Great Peace) Treaty 



Beaver Wars - The Fur Trade
The fur trade was heavily dependent on beaver pelts. Beavers were nearly extinct in western Europe due to over hunting, and European hat makers had to rely on Russian and Scandinavian beaver fur until North American furs became available. The Iroquois League wanted to extend their territory in all directions and take over the fur trade which operated at trading posts between the other tribes of the region and the European settlers and colonists. Native Indians traded the Beaver pelts for advanced weapons, tools, beads and other European goods, which were highly valued among the Indians and beavers were growing scarce in Iroquois territories. The battles and the wars to gain monopolization of the fur trade became known as the Beaver Wars.

D'Orsay Beaver Hat

The European Fur Trade
Beaver fur was the raw material for a high quality felt,  suitable for hat making. Beaver hats served as a status symbol for position and wealth from the 1600s to the 1700s. Hat sales were an extremely important source of income to the English and French nations. From 1700 to 1770, 21 million hats made from beaver skins were exported from England. Beaver pelts were the first great American trade commodity. Refer to Triangular Trade and the Hat Act

Continental Beaver Hat

Beaver Hat

Beaver Hat

Specific Causes of the Beaver Wars
What were the specific causes of the Beaver Wars? The specific causes of the Beaver Wars at a local level were:

  • The Iroquois League wanted to extend their territory needing access to stocks of beaver enabling them to trade for arms and goods with the Europeans

  • The Iroquois League wanted to monopolize the fur trade and the trade between European markets 

  • The French and English both wanted to monopolize the fur trade from a European perspective

  • The French and English wanted dominance in North America


History & Causes of the Beaver Wars - Political Policies and Beliefs
What were the causes of the Beaver Wars? Some of the history and causes of the Beaver Wars were dictated by political policies and beliefs which shaped the historical background to the causes of the Beaver Wars

  • Imperialism: In the early 1600's South America was largely controlled by Spain or Portugal, but North America was mostly unclaimed. England and France wanted to establish its own empire. Establishing colonies in America provided land and new trading opportunities
  • Colonialism: In the 1600's the Europeans brought with them the system of colonialism, primarily to generate income, which encompassed "the policy and practice of a power in extending control over weaker peoples or areas." A major cause of conflict in the 1600's
  • Mercantilism - Practice of creating and maintaining wealth by carefully controlling trade. The Europeans all wanted to monopolize the fur trade
  • Culture Clash: Distrust and hostilities grew between the indigenous population of the region and the Europeans as the number of newcomers increased leading to the inevitable culture clash. A major cause of conflict in the 1600's
  • Land: The United States adopted the European practice of expansion and of recognizing only limited land rights of indigenous peoples. A major cause of conflict in the 1600 and 1700's

Beaver Pelt

Beaver Pelt



The Significance and Effects of the Beaver Wars
The effects and significance of the Beaver Wars in history is that:

  • Many tribes were forced from their homelands by the tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy and eventually adopted the Great Plains culture
  • The French had dominated early European fur trading in northern North America but lost their grip following the Beaver Wars of the mid-17th century
  • New France was conquered by the English. All trading rights and privileges became English. Furs were sent to London instead of Paris and most trade goods were supplied through London Agents
  • The English achieved dominance in the area and of the fur trade providing a massive economic boost for England
1754 Map showing claims of Great Britain, France and Spain
     British Colonies
●    New France
      New Spain
    Disputed Areas
- - -    Boundary of Iroquois League

1754 Map showing claims of Great Britain, France and Spain
Note: The colonists are referred to as English up to 1707 when the union between England and Scotland
created Great Britain and the term British is then used.

History Timeline of the Beaver Wars
This short History Timeline of the Beaver Wars provides fast facts and information about the history, years & dates, key events and famous people who fought in the Beaver Wars.

History Timeline of the Beaver Wars - 1640 - 1701

1640Beaver becomes almost extinct from the Iroquois nation land and the Iroquois begin raiding trade routes of neighbouring tribes for Beaver pelts to trade for guns from the Dutch

1645Mohawks and Dutch sign treaty known as Two Row Wampum Treat 

1648War begins between the Mohawk and their allies the Seneca who are of the Iroquois nation against the Wendat

1640Iroquois attack Huron villages along the St. Lawrence, disrupting their trade with the French

1649The Iroquois had driven the Huron homelands. The French trade with the Ottawa for furs

1650The Iroquois begin to make attacks on the French terrifying the French colonists with their ferocious and blood thirsty warfare tactics

1650The Iroquois expand their territories in the west

1650The Iroquois attacked the Neutral Nation killing and assimilating thousands

1654The Iroquois initiate war against the Erie and within 2 years the nation is almost destroyed

1600An Iroquois force of 160 warriors attacked Montreal and captured 17 colonists

1600The French retaliate with small military force made up of French, Huron, and Algonquin to counter the Iroquois raids - there are heavy casualties on both sides

1600Professional French soldiers arrive in the 1660's to fight the Iroquois and adopt a 'scorched earth' policy to starve out the Iroquois. At the point of starvation the Iroquois sue for peace

1660The next attacks made by the Iroquois were on the Susquehannock tribe who are allied to the English in Maryland.

16611661 and 1662 the Iroquois made several raids against the Abenakis, who were allied with the French

1663800 Iroquois warriors invade Susquehannock land. The invasion promptS the colony of Maryland to declare war on the Iroquois

1664The Dutch allies of the Iroquois lose control of the New Netherland colony to the English

1666500 French, led by Daniel de Rémy de Courcelle, invade the Iroquois homeland in present-day New York. The French are greatly outnumbered and forced to retreat

1666A second French invasion of 1300 led by Alexandre de Prouville, the "Marquis de Tracy" and viceroy of New France destroys Mohawk villages and crops. The Mohawk are forced to sue for peace

1667French militia is organised and all men in he colonies are issued with guns and become liable for military service

1670The Hudson Bay Company receives its charter and set up a trading post were located on Hudson Bay where the Indians brought their furs

1674The English in Maryland changed their Indian Policy and negotiated peace with the Iroquois

1677The Iroquois conquer the Susquehannock

1683War between the Iroquois is resumed due to the French encroaching on their fur trade, A violent conflict erupts with the French supported by their Indian allies and the Iroquois make sporadic raids on each other

1698The Iroquois realise that they are the scapegoat in what was essentially an English inspired war sue for peace

1701Grande Paix (Great Peace) Treaty. Iroquois set policy of neutrality 
History Timeline of the Beaver Wars

Beaver Wars

  • Significance, causes, summary, dates and history of the Beaver Wars for kids
  • History timeline of the Beaver Wars
  • Interesting Facts and information on the Beaver Wars for kids and schools
  • Cause and Effects of the Beaver Wars
  • Significance, causes events, summary, dates and history of the Beaver Wars for kids

Beaver Wars - Pictures and Videos of Native Americans
Beaver Wars. Discover the key years, famous people and events of the Beaver Wars together with the causes and effects of the war, conflict and battle. Pictures have been include wherever possible which show the battlefield, clothing and weapons of the Native Indian tribes and their leaders who fought in the Beaver Wars. We have included pictures and videos to accompany the main topic of this section - The Beaver Wars. The videos enable fast access to the images, paintings and pictures together with the information and the many facts featured on this subject of the Beaver Wars.


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