History really does give a major insight into how different processes, trends and cultures were before the industrial revolution and innovation in technology. Wars took place left, right and centre, and nations used most of their resources in order to expand their lands and to gain more power. It is also interesting to note how the countries that went through these conditions are doing today. Such is the case with the Treaty of Fort Stanwix. Let’s explore what the treaty entailed, and its consecutive consequences.
A Little Background
The Iroquois Confederacy (also known as the Haudenosaunee or the Six Nations) which consisted of Mohawk, Cayuga, Seneca, Oneida, Tuscarora and Onondaga are known in history as being extremely powerful. Iroquois homelands are now in what is known as New York, and many people of the confederacy also migrated to Canada and are still settled there. The Treaty of Fort Stanwix was signed between the British Superintendent of Indian Affairs in the Northern District and the Six Nations, due to the Royal Proclamation of 1763. The proclamation was issued by the British after the Seven-Year War with the Indians and the French, and it stated that colonies could not expand west of Appalachia, which meant that the British obtained control of Northern American lands.
The Treaty Of Fort Stanwix (1768)
This treaty aimed at resolving issues with the American Indians situated in the west, however it ended up being extremely influential in shaping British American colonies during the formative years of the United States of America.
The proclamation of 1763 was deemed unacceptable to power hungry fur traders and settlers who wanted land. Thus, the Treaty of Fort Stanwix was signed in the presence of 3000 Iroquois Indians and British Government Agents. The treaty gave settlers and fur traders a way to buy out aboriginal lands.
The Treaty of Fort Stanwix caused the dismantling of the aboriginal lands of the Cherokee, Delaware, and Shawnee, which are now modern day western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Tennessee, Maryland, and Kentucky. Sir William Johnson, who was a land speculator, had determined that the treaty would satiate Britain and the Thirteen Colonies, but instead the land was opened up and all of the territory of the aborigines was captured. He also did this so that the Haudenosaunee could remain allies with the British, as this treaty was thought to prove the dominance of the Haudenosaunee.
Treaty of Fort Stanwix (1784)
This treaty was signed after the American Revolution, and this was the time when the Iroquois had less power than before. The Iroquois reluctantly signed the Treaty of Fort Stanwix, as it basically stated that the eastern boundaries were to be redrawn. At the Fort, they had to yield not only a section of Western New York, but also areas of Western Pennsylvania. However, those tribes who were living in the west disputed the treaty and subsequently a lot of bloodshed occurred in that specific area.
It is unfathomable to think of all the lives lost in this mess caused by land speculation and greed. It is also scary to think that not much has changed now either, and the saying that ‘history repeats itself,’ is already coming true.