What Is Some Historical Information About the Seneca Indians?


Quick Answer

The Seneca people were an indigenous group of Native Americans who first historically lived in what is now New York state and southern Ontario. They were the largest nation of the Iroquois league and continued to grow in size during the 1600's and the early parts of the 1700's due to their conquests and adoptions of smaller Native American tribes.

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Full Answer

Seneca legend states that the tribe first originated from a village called Nundawao, which is located around the southern end of Canandaigua Lake, near South Hill. Recent dating of an oral tradition that mentions a solar eclipse gives the year 1142 as the year the Seneca first entered the Iroquois league. Further archaeological study around this time period indicates that the Seneca may have lived as far south as the Allegheny River in northwestern Pennsylvania

During the colonial period, the Seneca established fur trade, first with the Dutch and then with Britain. They would later side with Britain during the American Revolution as they sought to expel would-be American colonists off of their land through carefully calculated raids. This lead to General George Washington to send upwards of 5,000 men, under the command of General John Sullivan, to neutralize the Seneca Confederacy. During the year 1779, Sullivan would lead his men to destroy over 40 Seneca villages, including crop fields and all stored food, which eventually lead to the dissolving of the Iroquois league.

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