The History of the Five Indian Nations Depending on the Province of New-York in America: A Critical Edition

The History of the Five Indian Nations Depending on the Province of New-York in America: A Critical Edition

by Cadwallader Colden


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"How should we approach The History of the Five Indian Nations today? The book's information—rich as it is—should be critically interrogated and placed in social, political, and cultural context. The book reflects the outlook of a colonial British agent and, in a more general sense, of early modern European and Euro-American culture. Its claims of empirical objectivity should be historicized."—John M. Dixon, "Imperial Politics, Enlightenment Philosophy, and Transatlantic Print Culture"

"The History of the Five Indian Nations remains an invaluable font of information for understanding the Iroquois during the decades before European invaders began to pour into the Longhouse. Colden’s account of Iroquois military and diplomatic exploits is studded with fascinating details. It illuminates internal and external political dynamics as well as the extent and limits of European colonial power. Colden did not necessarily comprehend the cultural logic that guided Iroquois people, but he appreciated them as agents—remarkably audacious ones—in the affairs of all of eastern North America."—Karim M. Tiro, "Iroquois Ways of War and Peace"

Cadwallader Colden’s History of the Five Indian Nations Depending on the Province of New-York in America, originally published in 1727 and revised in 1747, is one of the most important intellectual works published in eighteenth-century British America. Colden was among the most learned American men of his time, and his history of the Iroquois tribes makes fascinating reading. The author discusses the religion, manners, customs, laws, and forms of government of the confederacy of tribes composed of the Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas (and, later, the Tuscaroras), and gives accounts of battles, treaties, and trade with these Indians up to 1697.

Since Cornell University Press first reprinted Colden’s History in 1958, the book has served as an invaluable resource for scholars and students interested in Iroquois history and culture, Enlightenment attitudes toward Native Americans, early American intellectual life, and Anglo-French imperial contests over North America. The new Critical Edition features materials not previously included, such as the 1747 introduction, which contains rich and detailed descriptions of Iroquois culture, government, economy, and society. New essays by John M. Dixon and Karim M. Tiro place The History of the Five Indian Nations Depending on the Province of New-York in America in historical and cultural context and provide a balanced introduction to the historic culture of the Iroquois, as well as their relationship to other Native people.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501709265
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publication date: 04/15/2016
Edition description: Critical
Pages: 264
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Cadwallader Colden (1688–1776), an educated Scottish emigrant and powerful colonial politician, was at the forefront of American intellectual culture in the mid-eighteenth century.

Table of Contents

Critical Context for the Critical EditionImperial Politics, Enlightenment Philosophy, and Transatlantic Print Culture by John M. DixonIroquois Ways of War and Peace by Karim M. TiroSuggestions for Further ReadingFront matter from the 1958 Edition, The History of the Five Indian NationsDedication.The Preface to the First Part.A short Vocabulary of some Words and Names used by the French Authors. A Short View of the Form of Government of the Five Nations.Part II. The Wars of the Five Nations with the Adirondacks and Quatoghies.II. Their Wars and Treaties of Peace with the French, from 1665. to 1683. and their Affairs with New-York in that Time.III. The Affairs of the Five Nations with the Neighbouring English Colonies.IV. Mr. De la Barre's Expedition, and some Remarkable Transactions in 1684.V. The English Attempt to Trade in the Lakes, and Mr. De Nonville Attacks the Sennekas.VI. Coll. Dongan’s Advice to the Indians. Adario’s Enterprize, and Montreal Sacked by the Five Nations.Part IIThe Preface to the Second Part.I. The State of Affairs in New-York and Canada, at the Time of the Revolution in Great-Britain.II. A Treaty between the Agents of Massachuset’s Bay, New-Plymouth, and Connecticut, and the Sachems of the Five Nations, at Albany, in the Year 1689.III. An Account of a general Council of the Five Nations at Onondaga, to consider the Count De Frontenac’s Message.IV. The French surprise Schenectady. The Mohawks Speech of Condoleance on that Occasion.V. The Five Nations continue the War with the French; the Mohawks incline to Peace; their Conferences with the Governor of New-York.VI. The English attack Montreal by Land, in Conjunction with the Indians, and Quebeck by Sea.VII. The French and the Five Nations continue the War all Winter with various Success. The French burn a Captain of the Five Nations alive.VIII. The Five Nations treat with Captain Ingoldsby.IX. The French surprise and take three Mohawk Castles.X. The Treaties and Negotiations the Five Nations had with the English and French, in the Years 1693 and 1694.XI. The War renewed. The French repossess themselves of Cadarackui Fort, and find Means to break off the Treaty between the Five Nations and Dionondadies.XII. The Count de Frontenac attacks Onondaga in Person, with the whole Force of Canada. The Five Nations continue the War with the French, and make Peace with the Dionondadies.XIII. The Conduct which the English and French observed, in regard to the Five Nations, immediately after the Peace of Reswick.A Map of the Country of the Five Nations.Appendix to the Critical EditionThe Introduction [to the 1747 London edition], Being A Short View of the Form of Government of the Five Nations, and of their Laws, Customs, &c.

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