History of West Virginia

Native Indian Tribe

Names of the West Virginia Indian Tribes
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 West Virginia. The names of the West Virginia tribes included the the Cherokee, Iroquois, Manahoac, Meherrin, Monacan, Nottaway, Occaneechi, Saponi and Shawnee.

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

  • Name of State: West Virginia
  • Meaning of State name: Named after Queen Elizabeth I of England - the "Virgin Queen"
  • Geography, Environment and Characteristics of the State of West Virginia: Mountains and plateau areas
  • Culture adopted by West Virginia 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)

History Timeline of the West Virginia Indians

  • 10,000 B.C.: Paleo-Indian Era (Stone Age culture) the earliest human inhabitants of America who lived in caves and were Nomadic hunters of large game including the Great Mammoth and giant bison.
  • 7000 BC: Archaic Period in which people built basic shelters and made stone weapons and stone tools
  • 1000 AD: Woodland Period - homes were established along rivers and trade exchange systems and burial systems were established
  • 1614: 1614 Violent confrontation between hundreds of English and Powhatan men on the Pamunkey River, Virginia - refer to Powhatan
  • 1622: 1622-1624 The Powhatan Wars, battles and conflicts in Virginia between colonists and American Native Indians
  • 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)
  • 1758: The Anglo-Cherokee War (17581761) - The Cherokee uprising in present-day Tennessee, Virginia and the Carolinas
  • 1774: Lord Dunmore's War. Governor Dunmore commanded a force to defeat the Shawnee, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio, down the Ohio River.
  • 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
  • 1803: The United States bought the Louisiana Territory from France for 15 million dollars for the land
  • 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: Department of Indian Affairs established
  • 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
  • 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 West Virginia 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 West Virginia 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 West Virginia Indians.

History of Native Americans
Native Indian Tribes Index

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Updated 2018-01-01

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