Colonialism Transforms Indian Life

European microbes probably reached Wisconsin's Indians before European explorers. In the fifty years following Hernando de Soto's invasion of the lower Mississippi in 1539-1540, disease wiped out 90 percent of Indian villages in the middle Mississippi Valley - villages with whom Wisconsin's Oneota culture had traded for centuries. Some archaeologists therefore think it likely that epidemics of measles or smallpox may have swept through native communities here decades before Nicolet stepped ashore at Red Banks.

When the French arrived and began living in Indian villages, diseases once again broke out. "Maladies wrought among them more devastation than even war did,"... more...

Original Documents and Other Primary Sources

Link to article: Menominee Vocabulary, 1893Menominee Vocabulary, 1893
Link to article: An 1818 War Department report describes early U.S. fur trade policies.An 1818 War Department report describes early U.S. fur trade policies.
Link to article: The Ho-Chunk recall 18th-century battles with the Meskwaki (Fox).The Ho-Chunk recall 18th-century battles with the Meskwaki (Fox).
Link to article: A French official summarizes Wisconsin tribes in 1736A French official summarizes Wisconsin tribes in 1736
Link to article: The Meskwaki (Fox) and Mascouten resist the French in 1712.The Meskwaki (Fox) and Mascouten resist the French in 1712.
Link to article: The governor of New France surrenders to the English in 1760.The governor of New France surrenders to the English in 1760.
Link to article: Speeches of Pontiac (1763) and Souligny (1848) against white incursions.Speeches of Pontiac (1763) and Souligny (1848) against white incursions.
Link to article: Indian Versions of Some Early Wisconsin EventsIndian Versions of Some Early Wisconsin Events
Link to article: The diary of the British commander in Wisconsin during Pontiac's war in 1763.The diary of the British commander in Wisconsin during Pontiac's war in 1763.
Link to book: Smallpox decimates the Ojibwe in the 1770'sSmallpox decimates the Ojibwe in the 1770's
Link to book: Sex, drinking, and moral corruption on the Wisconsin frontier in 1702.Sex, drinking, and moral corruption on the Wisconsin frontier in 1702.
Link to book: A French priest writes home in 1721 about Indians, beavers, and fur.A French priest writes home in 1721 about Indians, beavers, and fur.
Link to book: Report on the Menominee at Termination, 1958Report on the Menominee at Termination, 1958
Link to book: Fr. Baraga's 1853 Ojibwe DictionaryFr. Baraga's 1853 Ojibwe Dictionary
Link to book: Memoirs of an Interpreter among the Ojibwe, 1840-1900Memoirs of an Interpreter among the Ojibwe, 1840-1900
Link to images: View of Charles de Langlade's warriors at Braddock's defeat in 1755.View of Charles de Langlade's warriors at Braddock's defeat in 1755.
Link to manuscript: Alfred Bridgman's English-Menominee word list from the 1870sAlfred Bridgman's English-Menominee word list from the 1870s
Link to manuscript: A Long Ho-Chunk Vocabulary, 1880A Long Ho-Chunk Vocabulary, 1880
Link to manuscript: Brief Potawatomi Language Vocabularies, 1920-1932.Brief Potawatomi Language Vocabularies, 1920-1932.
Link to map: A popular French map of the Great Lakes in 1757.A popular French map of the Great Lakes in 1757.
Link to map: An English view of No. America in 1754An English view of No. America in 1754
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