By 1642 the French had begun to halt these raids by building a chain of fortified settlements as far upriver as Montréal.
Iroquois WarsIroquois Wars, a series of 17th-century conflicts involving the Five Nations IROQUOIS confederacy (MOHAWK, ONEIDA, ONONDAGA, CAYUGA and SENECA), numerous other Iroquoian groups and the French. As the Iroquois grew dependent on European trade goods, pressure was exerted on the rich beaver-producing areas south of the Canadian Shield. After Dutch traders on the Hudson River [NY] provided them with firearms, the Iroquois grew more militant. In 1628 they pushed the Mohicans east, and in the 1630s the Mohawk began to raid the ALGONQUIN in the Ottawa Valley. By the early 1640s the Mohawk and Oneida were attacking NEW FRANCE and raiding the colony's Algonquian and MONTAGNAIS allies throughout the St Lawrence Valley.
By 1642 the French had begun to halt these raids by building a chain of fortified settlements as far upriver as Montréal. The French tried to counter the Mohawk acquisition of muskets by giving muskets to their HURON and Algonquian allies, but the Jesuits persuaded officials to restrict their sale to reliable Christian converts. As a result, the Iroquois had a numerical and psychological advantage.
One of the profound effects of the Iroquois Wars was the dispersal of numerous native groups. The policy of the Seneca was to disperse the Huron, which left them free to raid the hunting peoples to the north. Their raids, beginning in 1642 with the more isolated Huron villages, culminated in 1649 with over 1000 Seneca and Mohawk attacking 2 main villages. Some Huron tried to hold out on a nearby island but were forced to disband; some fled to Québec and others joined the NEUTRAL. In the winter of 1649-50 the Iroquois attacked the Nipissing and the PETUN. The Neutral were decisively defeated in 1651.
With the Huron nation destroyed and the Neutral crushed, the Iroquois increased their raids on the Mohican, Sokoki and ABENAKI, while in Québec they raided as far east as Tadoussac and north beyond Lac Mistassini. Faced with stiff resistance from the Susquehannock and the Erie, the Iroquois Confederacy entered into peace with the French in 1653. After concentrated Iroquois attacks, the Erie were absorbed in 1657. Renewed hostilities in 1659-60 on a wide front greatly strained the confederacy, and the Iroquois again sought peace with the French. But a treaty embracing all groups was not arranged until 1667, after the CARIGNAN-SALIÈRES REGIMENT had burned Mohawk villages and food supplies. By 1675 the Susquehannock to the south had been absorbed and the Iroquois moved westward into the Ohio Valley, where they fought the Illinois and Miami nations.
The Iroquois succeeded in breaking every one of the groups that surrounded the confederacy. However, the victories did not bring them the prosperity they sought. The treaty of 1667 had allowed the French to extend their trade in the north and, with Louis JOLLIET, they advanced through the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River. In September 1680 a large Iroquois force attacked a small French party under Henri de TONTY which was trading in an Illinois village; the Iroquois were persuaded to desist on condition that the French leave the Illinois country. As part of a broader conflict between French and English, the Iroquois attacked Lachine in force in 1689 (see LACHINE RAID). However, with the aid of some 1500 TROUPES DE LA MARINE, the defenders eventually forced the hard-pressed Iroquois to make peace. In a treaty ratified July 1701 at Montréal, they agreed to remain neutral in wars between the English and French.