Seneca: 2 Things This Native Tribe Is Known For

Further ReadingIroquois Confederacy: The 3 Different Dates For Its Formation and The 3 Main Causes Of The Beaver Wars

The American tribe of Seneca are known today for 2 main things. This Iroquois tribe was the westernmost nation within the confederacy and was one of the first that encountered Europeans. Their territory at its peak extended over much of the south western end of Lake Ontario.

Throughout history the Seneca tribe was known for 2 main things. First, the Seneca were known to be great diplomats during the 17th century. Second, the Seneca were a powerful military force that required Wampum tribute from surrounding tribes. Across the Iroquois Confederacy the Seneca were seen as a noble people and gained a lot of respect.

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Without further ado, here are the 2 things that the Seneca tribe was known for.

The Seneca Tribe Was Known For Being Great Diplomats

One of the many things the Seneca are known for was being expert negotiators and great diplomats.

Over the course of the 17th and 18th centuries the Seneca people would engage in several diplomatic missions to extend their influence across the northeast of North America.

Because of this they would develop extensive trade networks and be a mediating force in several large scale conflicts.

In 1657 the Seneca sent diplomatic envoys from their homeland to the Dutch in New Amsterdam (New York City). This was to begin the process of developing trade with the Europeans.

In 1660 the Seneca would travel to New Amsterdam to play a mediating diplomatic force in helping to end the Esopus Wars. In this war the Dutch and Lenape tribe would engage in several battles and take prisoners on both sides. The Seneca tribe would successfully argue for an end to hostilities and the return of prisoners of war.

As a result of these negotiations the Seneca would come to be known as great diplomats across northeastern America. To this day historians are still uncovering accounts and testimonies of Seneca chiefs sending envoys and diplomats around North America.

As such one of the main things that the Seneca tribe are known for today were their skilled diplomatic efforts.

The Seneca Tribe Was A Powerful Tribe That Received Wampum Tribute From Surrounding Tribes

One of the main things the Seneca are known for today was being so powerful that they received Wampum tributes from other surrounding tribes.

In 1694 a Dutch trader named Aren Schuyler decided to travel across the Iroquois Confederacy to improve trade and learn more about his trading partners.

Eventually he encountered the Minnisink tribe of the Delaware river. In an official report back to the Dutch in New Amsterdam Aren reports that the Minnisink chiefs were afraid of attack from the Seneca because they failed to pay the regular wampum tribute.

This is very peculiar as the region of the Minnisink tribe was closer to the eastern side of the Iroquois League while the Seneca was almost 200 miles away on the far western side of the Iroquois Confederacy.

Because of this we can see the power of the Seneca over the local tribes in the surrounding area.

As such one of the main things that the Seneca native tribe was known for was being so powerful that they would collect tribute from the other local tribes.

How Did The Seneca Get Their name

Nobody really knows the origin of the modern name of the Seneca. There have been several theories proposed as to why the Seneca got their name.

The best example of why the Seneca nation is called the Seneca nation comes from a report from a traveling Dutch merchant in 1634 who traveled around the Iroquois Confederacy. While visiting the Mohawk this merchant named Van Curler heard of another tribe of Iroquois from the Mohawk that he describes as the “Sinnekens.”

When Van Curler visited these Sinneken people he learned what they called themselves. This he wrote down as “Enneyuttehage.”

Besides this historians have little reason to understand why the western name of the Seneca tribe is named Seneca. People have theorized that because of the Seneca’s stance as one of the wisest tribes the Dutch traders called them Seneca after the famous Roman philosopher Seneca.


There you have it; an article that goes over the 2 things the Seneca tribe is known for.

The Seneca tribe remains one of the most important inquiries of historical research. We know almost nothing about them as few oral histories remain and much of their culture was destroyed by wars, disease, and British/French settlers.

Here at The History Ace I strive to publish the best history articles on the internet. If you enjoyed this article then consider subscribing to the free newsletter and sharing around the internet.

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