The Iroquois Era is a historical designation used to define the time period when the Iroquois, a confederacy of six American Indian tribes (also known as the Six Nations), invaded present-day Ohio. The Iroquois forced many American Indian tribes to flee the Ohio Country during the Beaver Wars (ca. 1640-1701), a campaign during which the Iroquois fought other American Indian groups, including those in the Ohio Country, for their lands and territories in order to gain access to new beaver populations.
The Iroquois, commonly known as the Iroquois Confederacy, was a confederacy of six Nations— the Seneca, Cayuga, Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, and Tuscarora. Land surrounding Lake Ontario and greater upstate New York is the homeland for the Iroquois Confederacy. During this period, these tribes did not establish permanent settlements in the Ohio Country, rather they utilized this territory for trapping for the fur trade. However, some small groups of Iroquois peoples stayed and lived in what is today northeastern Ohio after Ohio tribes re-settled there. For example, the Seneca-Cayuga Tribe, a conglomeration of groups from the Iroquois Confederacy and other tribes such as the Erie and Wyandotte, settled in the Sandusky region of northeastern Ohio and gradually spread farther south, even establishing a village on the Scioto River in present-day Columbus.
In 1701, the Iroquois, British, and French signed the Treaty of Grande Paix, or Great Peace, in which the Iroquois agreed to end their campaign against tribes in the Ohio Country and allow those pushed out to return.
- Hurt, R. Douglas. The Ohio Frontier: Crucible of the Old Northwest, 1720-1830. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1996.
- Richter, Daniel K. The Ordeal of the Longhouse: The Peoples of the Iroquois League in the Era of European Colonization. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1992.