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‘A Warrior People’
The Susquehannock Trajectory

-1525: Trade with Europeans via Chesapeake Bay, population expansion begins in 20 to 30 year cycles. Their settlements are all on the Susquehanna River

-1600: Washington Settlement, East Bank

-1625: Billmyer Settlement, East Bank

-1625: Connestoga Settlement, East Bank [mixed tribal location]

-1640: Beaver Wars begin, Pitting Susquehannocks against other Longhouse Tribes based in New York. This is tied in with competition for trade in beaver furs to Dutch [New York], Swedish [Delaware] and English [Maryland] traders in return for guns, steel and slaves.

-1661: Treaty with Maryland. Maryland militia force helps equip the largest Susquehannock town yet with bastions.

-1664?: Treaty with Virginia

-1665: Upper Leibhart Settlement, is built on the West Bank for defense against northern Invaders, its 100 longhouses accommodating some 3,000 people.

-A full century of close European contact has not caused a population reduction due to epidemic. Indeed, this tribe’s population peaks 140 years after contact. Susquehannocks are known to aggressively adopt English captives and have a good command of the English language, with the very name of theirtribe being English.

-1674: Some Susquehannocks [a band of 500] are driven south into Maryland and build a fortified town on the north bank of the Potomac River. A pamphlet issued two years later, claimed that at this time, the Governor of Maryland traded English slaves to the Susquehannocks for furs, indicating that these people have suffered severe population reduction and are adopting via the English slave trade.

-1675: Virginians murder approximately 10 Susquehannocks, who they mistake for the Doeg tribe.

-1675: 800 Maryland and Virginia militia, with 200 Algonquin allies, besiege the fort on the Potomac. During a parley they murder the 5 Susquehannock chiefs. The 100 warriors then defeat the besieging force at night and slip away into the mountains with their 300-400 noncombatants.

-1676: 100 warriors terrorize Virginia, precipitating a political crisis in this 46,000 person plantation. 180 to 300 Virginians are killed in retaliation and the Susquehannock’s send an English Indian envoy to offer piece, which is rejected.

-1676: 30 to 100 of the Susquehannock’s are murdered by their Indian trading partners on the Carolina/Virginia border. This was instigated by the English, who then murdered the murderers and then killed and enslaved some of the peaceful Algonquin [formerly of the Powhatan Confederacy] peoples rather than go into the wilderness after the remaining Susquehannocks.

-1676: The surviving Susquehannocks return to the new settlement on the Susquehanna at Lower Leibhart on the West Bank.

-1677: Albany Peacemaking Conference halts the Beaver Wars.

Within a hundred years, combined attacks from Iroquois and English enemies had driven the tribe to extinction, though some of their members may have survived as Mingo Indians who were mixed race, or as “whites.”

-1701: Beaver Wars end.

-1765: Remaining organized band slaughtered by the Paxton Boys.

Both Conestoga and Susquehannock are English names of uncertain derivation, as is Doeg, Westos, Delaware and others.

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