Tensions and Warfare
Wahunsonacock alternated between offering the English friendship and threatening them with force. When tobacco became the staple crop, the English shifted from seeking commodities to gathering land itself. Between 1617 and 1622, they established twenty-three "particular plantations" beyond Jamestown. The Powhatans replied to these encroachments by making war in 1622-32 and 1644-46. When they met defeat, English authorities confined them to small territories.
The third Anglo-Powhatan War, 1644–46, ended in the dissolution of the Powhatan empire. Surviving Powhatans accepted the sovereignty of the English king, and those in the east were confined to small areas. In 1662, Virginia issued silver and copper passport badges for Native leaders and warriors, without which they could not enter English settlements. This one is engraved “Ye King of” on one side and “Patomeck” (Potomac) on the other.
Virginia Historical Society, gift of John Pratt
France's alliances with First Nations were exceedingly durable. Throughout the 1600s, French settlers allied with the Huron and others against the Iroquois and the English, who were rivals for furs and territories. By 1650, however, Iroquois warriors had destroyed and dispersed the Huron nations. The French king sent soldiers to the colony to prosecute wars and defend its borders. Securing new alliances to combat the English and Iroquois became a central concern of New France.
This Huron wampum belt recorded a treaty concluded with the Five Nation Iroquois at the headwaters of the Ottawa River in 1612. The square signified the four constituent nations that composed the Huron confederacy. The stripes at the ends signify people (symbolized by purple) walking together in peace (symbolized by white). These rivals may have reached a temporary peace in hopes of mutual benefit from trading with the new French settlement at Québec.
National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution (1855)
Pueblo peoples always outnumbered the Spanish in New Mexico, and Spanish domination was uneasy. In 1573, King Philip II had called for peaceful appropriation to replace violent conquest in the New World, but the practice was different. In the 1670s, years of drought, economic exploitation, and the suppression of indigenous religious practices led most Pueblo peoples to unite against Spanish occupation. In 1680, a Puebloan alliance rose against both civil and religious authority, driving the Spanish from the province until 1692.
The Pueblo Revolt of 1680 involved communities separated by hundreds of miles and speaking six different languages. One of the coordinators of the alliance was Popé of San Juan. No contemporary portrait of Popé exists, but Jemez Pueblo sculptor Clifford Fragua produced this statue, which stands in the United States Capitol.
Architect of the Capitol, Washington, D.C.