The 3 Main Causes Of The Beaver Wars

Further ReadingIroquois Confederacy: The 3 Different Dates For Its Formation and Oneida: The 3 Things They Did During The Revolutionary War

During the 17th century the Iroquois Confederacy would fight against the French and their native American allies in a series of wars called the Beaver Wars. These Wars had no direct conclusion but were started by 3 main causes. By the end of the Beaver Wars the Iroquois Confederacy’s power would expand significantly making them one of the most powerful nations in North America.

There are 3 main causes of the Beaver Wars. First, from 1610-1614 the Dutch began to trade with the Iroquois for Beaver Furs. Second, the Europeans introduced firearms into North America which destabilized the power dynamic. Third, the growing militaristic nature of the 17th century Iroquois Confederacy after the defeat of the Mahicans resulted in increased tensions for natives.

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Without further ado, here are the 3 main causes of the beaver wars.

In 1610-1614 The Dutch Began To Trade With The Iroquois For Beaver Furs

One of the main causes of the Beaver Wars was that the Dutch began to colonize the north east coast of the modern U.S.

This gave the Iroquois Confederacy the ability to engage in direct trade with European markets for Beaver furs. For the first time the Iroquois people could obtain European goods for Beaver furs.

However in order to satisfy this growing trade Beavers would need to be hunted en mass. At first this was not a problem as Beavers were plentiful in North America.

However, the demand for beaver furs was so great that by 1620 the Iroquois had nearly exhausted their lands of the local beaver population. As such they had to begin to expand into neighboring lands.

Meanwhile the French in modern Quebec were doing the same thing with the local Huron and Algonquians. By 1620 these Canadian native American tribes had nearly exhausted their local Beaver populations as well.

It was only a matter of time between both of these native American groups would seek to wage war against each other for the remaining supply of beavers.

As such one of the main causes of the beaver wars was the fact that the Dutch began to trade with the Iroquois Confederacy for beavers.

The European Powers Introduced Firearms To Native Americans Which Destabilized The Power Dynamic

One of the main causes of the Beaver Wars was the fact that European powers began to introduce firearms to the natives.

Warfare for the native Americans resembled warfare from Ancient Greece. Battles were not designed to eliminate the other party but rather prove a point. As such the indigenous populations did not fight as the Europeans did.

However, once the European powers introduced firearms into North America suddenly the nature of warfare changed. Now the native Americans could wage an efficient way to take large portions of territory with ease.

In 1648 the Dutch realized that they could easily swing the Beaver trade in their favor by selling massive amounts of munitions cheaply to the Iroquois warriors. With the aid of these firearms the Iroquois easily began to expand their territory which led to the Beaver Wars.

As such one of the main causes for the Beaver Wars was the introduction of firearms to the native Americans by European powers.

The Growing Militaristic Nature Of The 17th Century Iroquois Confederacy After The Defeat Of The Mohicans Resulted In Increased Tensions For Natives.

One of the main causes of the Beaver Wars was the growing militaristic nature of the Iroquois Confederacy after the defeat of the Mohicans.

In 1628 with the aid of the Iroquois Confederacy the Mohawk tribe defeated the Mahicans and pushed them east across the Hudson River. This removed one of the last major threats to the Iroquois outside of the French.

As a result of this other native tribes surrounding the Iroquois Confederacy would either join them, move away, or begin to ally themselves with the French. This proved to be a vital tipping point in the power dynamic and a direct cause of the Beaver Wars.

Historians often theorize that the Mohicans played a powerful role in native American society and helped to regulate the power dynamic of the Iroquois Confederacy.

With the Mohican tribe successfully pushed away the Iroquois Confederacy could start to expand their territory to begin to dominate the beaver trade in the colonies.

As such one of the main causes of the beaver wars was the growing militaristic nature of the 17th century Iroquois Confederacy that came after the defeat of the Mohican tribe.

Conclusion

There you have it; an entire article dedicated to the 3 main causes of the Beaver Wars.

17th century native American history is a fascinating subject. Not only did the natives have a rich culture but also they had a very complex social society. Potential graduate students will find much in the way of potential research surrounding native Americans.

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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Sincerely,

Nick