Peace of Montréal, 1701

In 1701 the French concluded a peace agreement with the Five Nations IROQUOIS, bringing to an end almost a century of hostilities marked by atrocities on both sides. CHAMPLAIN inaugurated this series of military expeditions and guerrilla raids in 1609, when he joined a war party of ALGONQUIN, MONTAGNAIS and HURON against the MOHAWK of the Lake Champlain region. He had inserted the French into the pattern of North American aboriginal warfare in the interests of the fur trade monopolists. There ensued successive indecisive expeditions against Iroquois villages under governors COURCELLE in 1665, LA BARRE in 1684, and DENONVILLE in 1687. It was only in 1696 that Governor FRONTENAC was able to stop the Iroquois raids on New France and destroy the villages and food supplies of the Onondaga and Oneida.

In July 1700, delegates from 4 of the Iroquois nations (the Mohawk were absent) met with Governor Callière of Montréal to inaugurate peace talks with the French and their native allies. A meeting of all the tribes was scheduled for the following summer in Montréal. Thirty nations sent a total of 1300 delegates to discuss over several weeks, at great expense to the French hosts, terms of collective action. The Iroquois protocol of the condolence ceremony, the exchange of gifts and the exchange of prisoners preceded the solemn "signing" of accords, whereby the several nations undertook to remain at peace with each other.

The Iroquois League undertook to remain neutral in the event of a war between England and France. All agreed that in the event of disputes among them they would resort to the governor general of New France to mediate their differences. This in fact recognized a special kinship relationship with the French and virtually undermined the effectiveness of the COVENANT CHAIN with the Anglo-American colonies. The Montréal peace accord assured France superiority in dealing with native issues and freedom to expand its military presence on the continent during the next half century.