Little Turtle

Miami War Chief Little Turtle

Fast Facts about Little Turtle
Who was Little Turtle and why was this Native Indian chief famous? Summary: Little Turtle aka Michikinikwa  (c1747 - 1812) was a famous war chief of the Miami Native Indian tribe of the Great Lakes region. Chief Little Turtle successfully led in raids on settlers in the Northwest Territory and is famous for his victory known as La Balme's Defeat and the 1791 Battle of the Wabash.

Subsequent defeats forced him to sign the Treaty of Greenville (Ohio) in 1795.   The following fact sheet contains interesting facts, background history and information about the life of Little Turtle and the events in history that led to his fame as a great Native American Indian leader.

Fast Facts about Little Turtle

  • Tribe: Miami of the Great Lakes region
  • Lifespan of Little Turtle: c.1747 July 14, 1812
  • Role: War chief and military strategist
  • Language: Algonquian
  • Alternative name: Michikinikwa
  • Place of Birth: Pickawillany village, located on the Great Miami River, a tributary of the Ohio River (present-day city of Piqua, Ohio)
  • Date of Birth: c. 1747
  • Date of Death: July 14, 1812
  • Place of Death: Near present-day Columbia City, Indiana
  • Native Indian Allies: Shawnee, Iroquois, Potawatomi, Ottawa, Shawnee, Delaware, Chippewa (Ojibwe), Kickapoo, Wyandot and the Seneca tribes. The alliance of these tribes were called the Western Confederacy
  • Native Indian Enemies: Ottawa and
  • European Allies and Wars: Little Turtle fought with the British in the 1774 Lord Dunmore's War and in the War of Independence (1775 - 1783). Northwest Indian War (17851795) also known as Little Turtle's war
  • Famous Battles: 1794 Battle of Fallen Timbers
  • Peace Treaties: The Treaty of Greenville (1795) and the Treaty of Fort Industry (1805)

Little Turtle and the Miami Tribe
Little Turtle was a famous Miami war chief who opposed white encroachment and resisted against white expansion. The Miami tribe are a Native American nation and among the peoples known as the Great Lakes tribes. The Miami tribe occupied territory that is now known as Indiana, southwest Michigan, and western Ohio. Little Turtle was raised in the Miami Indian village and fortified trading post of Pickawillany that was located on the Great Miami River, a tributary of the Ohio River. The tribe were named due to the close proximity to the Great Miami River. It was destroyed in 1752 by French aided by Ottawa and Ojibwe allies, in a battle over the fur trade

Little Turtle Timeline
The following Little Turtle timeline charts the resistance of this great Miami war chief against the encroachment of lands in Ohio.

1743: Little Turtle was born in Pickawillany village c1747
1774: Lord Dumore's War. The British defeated the Miami in the Battle of Point Pleasant, but Little Turtle emerged as a strong Miami leader.
1775: The American Revolutionary War (1775 - 1783). Little Turtle fought with the British against the American and French forces
1780: La Balme's Defeat. Chief Little Turtle defeated the French led by Augustin de La Balme during this revolutionary battle.
1783: The 1783 Treaty of Paris ended the American Revolutionary War the British abandoned their native allies and ceded the land between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River to the United States (the Northwest Territory). 1785: The Western Confederacy was formed consisting of many different American Indian tribes including the Shawnee, Iroquois, Potawatomi, Ottawa, Shawnee, Delaware, Chippewa (Ojibwe), Kickapoo, Wyandot and the Seneca tribes. The objective of the Western Confederacy was to keep the Ohio River as a boundary between Native Indian lands and the United States.
1785: Little Turtle's war aka the Northwest Indian War (17851795) erupted.
1790: Conflict with General Josiah Harmar who attempted to subdue Native Indians in the Northwest Territory. General Harmar was defeated by a tribal coalition led by Little Turtle and Blue Jacket in an engagement known as "Harmar's defeat"
1791: Battle of the Wabash on November 4, 1791. Chief Little Turtle led 1,000 warriors into battle against Major General Arthur St. Clair's 1,400 federal troops. American Indians were led by Chief Little Turtle and Chief Blue Jacket won a major Native Indian victory against Americans led by General Arthur St. Clair. It was the U.S. Army's worst defeat up to that time in its long-standing conflict with the Native Indians.
1794: Battle of Fallen Timbers on August 20, 1794. The Legion of the United States, which was an extension of the United States Army, led by Major General Anthony Wayne defeated Little Turtle and the Native Indians.
1795: The Treaty of Greenville was signed on August 3, 1795 following the Battle of Fallen Timbers in which the Native Indians were forced to cede much of present-day Ohio and Indiana to the United States
1795: The Treaty of Greenville ended Little Turtle's war
1797: Little Turtle met cordially with President George Washington who presented him with a ceremonial sword
1809: Little Turtle broke away from other Miami tribe leaders when the tribe failed to agree a peace treaty with Governor William Henry Harrison. Little Turtle retired to a place near present-day Columbia City, Indiana
1811: The Shawnee chief Tecumseh continued the fight against the US during Tecumseh's War (18111813) in a final attempt to reclaim Indian lands. Little Turtle continuously advised cooperation with the U.S., refusing an alliance with the Chief Tecumseh.
1812: The War of 1812 (1812 - 1815) broke out.
1812: Little Turtle died on July 14, 1812
1812: In September 1812 Native Indians from the Potawatomi and Miami tribes, led by Chief Five Medals and Chief Winamac, participated in the Siege of Fort Wayne (September 5 September 12, 1812)
1812: The siege of Fort Wayne prompted William Henry Harrison to order punitive expeditions against the Miami which culminated in the Battle of the Mississinewa December 1718, 1812. A large number of Miami Indians were killed and Miami villages were burnt to the ground.
1826: The Treaty of Mississinewa forced the Miami tribe to cede most of their land to the US government.

The Story of Little Turtle
For additional facts and interesting information refer to:

Story of Little Turtle
Wars with the Western Indians
Famous Native Indians
Native Indian Tribes Index

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Updated 2018-01-01

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