History of Delaware

Native Indian Tribe

Names of the Delaware Indian Tribes
Delaware is a state of the Northeastern United States. There are many famous Native American tribes who played a part in the history of the state and whose tribal territories and homelands are located in the present day state of Delaware. The names of the Delaware tribes included the Lenape (Delaware), Iroquois, Cherokee and Narwahro, aka Wichita tribe.

History of Delaware Indians - The French Indian Wars
French and Indian Wars (1688 - 1763) was a generic names for a series of wars, battles and conflicts involving the French colonies in Canada and Louisiana and the 13 British colonies, which included Delaware, consisting of King William's War (1688-1699), Queen Anne's War (1702-1713), King George's War (1744 - 1748) and the French and Indian War aka the Seven Years War (1754-1763). Various Delaware Indian tribes were allied to the French and British colonies during the French Indian Wars which raged for nearly 75 years.

Fast Facts about the History of Delaware Indians
The climate, land, history, environment and natural resources that were available to the indigenous Indian tribes in Delaware resulted in the adoption of the Northeast Woodlands culture

  • Name of State: Delaware
  • Meaning of State name: Named after the Delaware River whose name was derived from that of Sir Thomas West (Lord de la Warr) who was Virginia Company's first governor
  • Geography, Environment and Characteristics of the State of Delaware: Flat lowland, Atlantic Coastal Plain. The southern boundary of Delaware is swampland with over 30,000 acres of swamp
  • Culture adopted by Delaware Indians: Northeast Woodlands Cultural Group
  • Languages: Iroquoian and Algonquian 
  • Way of Life (Lifestyle): Hunter-gatherers, farmers, fishers, trappers
  • Types of housing, homes or shelters: Chickees, Wigwams (aka Birchbark houses) and Longhouses

History Timeline of the Delaware Indians

  • 10,000 BC: The first indigenous people were of the Paleo-Indian culture who lived in caves or were Nomadic Hunters
  • 7000 BC: Archaic Period in which people built basic shelters and made stone weapons and stone tools
  • 1000 AD: Woodland period with permanent houses and farming
  • 1400: The Lenni Lenape, an Algonquian tribe, settle along the Delaware
  • 1541: The Wichita were the people reached by Francisco Vásquez de Coronado made first contact with the Narwahro, aka Wichita tribe
  • 1593: Spanish expedition to Delaware
  • 1601: Spanish expedition to Delaware
  • 1600: The Minquas, from the Susquehanna River Valley, start to attack the villages of the Lenni Lenape.
  • 1609: Henry Hudson, working for the Dutch East India Company, discovers Delaware Bay and River
  • 1610: Captain Samuel Argall names the bay and river after Lord De La Warr, the governor of Virginia
  • 1631: Dutch colonists settle at Zwaanendael (present day Lewes)
  • 1632: Massacre at Zwaanendael. The settlement is destroyed and all colonists killed in dispute with Native Americans.
  • 1681: William Penn was granted land from England, that included Delaware
  • 1688: 1688 - 1763 The French and Indian Wars between France and Great Britain for lands in North America consisting of King William's War (1688-1699), Queen Anne's War (1702-1713), King George's War (1744 - 1748) and the French and Indian War aka the Seven Years War (1754-1763)
  • 1754: 1754 - 1763: The French Indian War is won by Great Britain against the French so ending the series of conflicts known as the French and Indian Wars
  • 1763: Treaty of Paris
  • 1775: 1775 - 1783 - The American Revolution.
  • 1776: July 4, 1776 - United States Declaration of Independence
  • 1778: Treaty of Fort Pitt - The Lenape were the first Indian tribe to enter into a treaty with the new United States government
  • 1812: 1812 - 1815: The War of 1812 between U.S. and Great Britain, ended in a stalemate but confirmed America's Independence
  • 1830: Indian Removal Act
  • 1832: 1832-1839: Removal of the Seminole, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw and Creek Indians, known as the "Five Civilized Tribes" to Indian Territory on the Trail of Tears
  • 1832: Department of Indian Affairs established
  • 1835: Most of the Lenape (Delaware) tribe had been removed to a reservation in Kansas
  • 1861: 1861 - 1865: The American Civil War.
  • 1862: U.S. Congress passes Homestead Act opening the Great Plains to settlers
  • 1865: The surrender of Robert E. Lee on April 9 1865 signalled the end of the Confederacy
  • 1867: The Delaware tribe were moved to Oklahoma Indian Territory and incorporated with the Cherokee Nation
  • 1887: Dawes General Allotment Act passed by Congress leads to the break up of the large Indian Reservations and the sale of Indian lands to white settlers
  • 1969: All Indians declared citizens of U.S.
  • 1979: American Indian Religious Freedom Act was passed

History of Delaware Indians - Destruction and Decline
The history of the European invasion brought epidemic diseases such as tuberculosis, cholera, influenza, measles and smallpox. The Native Indians of Delaware had not developed immunities against these diseases resulting in huge losses in population. Exploitation including the leverage of taxes, enforced labor and enslavement were part of their history, taking their toll on the Delaware Indians.

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