The Nanfan Treaty or The Deed from the Five Nations to the King, of their Beaver Hunting Ground, was an agreement reached in Albany, New York on July 19, 1701, between John Nanfan and representatives of the Iroquois Confederacy. Nanfan was acting on behalf of the The Crown as colonial governor of New York. The Five Nations, which would subsequently became the ‘Six Nations’, granted the English crown title to land that the Five Nations had claimed as a hunting ground by right of conquest during the later Beaver Wars of the 17th century. The land extended from the present-day Midwestern United States into southern Ontario.
The treaty was not recognized by the French, since the majority of the Beaver Hunting Grounds were also claimed by New France or its Algonquian Indian allies. Consequently, the English did not attempt, during this time period, to settle the region. The treaty was amended September 14, 1726 to reserve a 60 mile wide strip of land adjoining Lakes Erie and Ontario for occupation and use by the ‘Six Nations’. This permission was granted by the King of Great Britain, who was the landowner based on the 1701 agreement.
The Nanfan Treaty:
A “Deed from the Five Nations to the King, of their Beaver Hunting Ground,” made at Albany, New York, July 19, 1701. This, which is somewhat peculiar, is as follows:
To all Christian & Indian people in this parte of the world and in Europe over the great salt waters, to whom the presents shall come—Wee the Sachims Chief men, Captns and representatives of the Five nations or Cantons of Indians called the Maquase Oneydes Onnandages and Sinnekes living in the Government of New York in America, to the north west of Albany on this side the Lake Cadarachqui sendeth greeting—Bee it known unto you that our ancestors to our certain knowledge have had, time out of mind a fierce and bloody warr with seaven nations of Indians called the Aragaritkas whose Chief cômand was called successively Chohahise—The land is scituate lyeing and being northwest and by west from Albany beginning on the south west side of Cadarachqui lake and includes all that waste Tract of Land lyeing between the great lake off Ottowawa and the lake called by the natives Sahiquage and by the Christians the lake of Swege and runns till it butts upon the Twichtwichs and is bounded on the right hand by a place called Quadoge conteigning in length about eight hundred miles and in bredth four hundred miles including the country where the bevers the deers, Elks and such beasts keep and the place called Tieugsachrondio, alias Fort de Tret or Wawyachtenok and so runs round the lake of Swege till you come to place called Oniadarondaquat which is about twenty miles from the Sinnekes Castles which said seaven nations our predecessors did four score years agoe totally conquer and subdue and drove them out of that country and had peaceable and quiet possession of the same to hunt beavers (which was the motive caused us to war for the same) for three score years it being the only chief place for hunting in this parte of the world that ever wee heard of and after that wee had been sixty years sole masters and owners of the said land enjoying peaceable hunting without any internegation, a remnant of one of the seaven nations called Tionondade whom wee had expelled and drove away came and settled there twenty years agoe disturbed our beaver hunting against which nation wee have warred ever since and would have subdued them long ere now had not them been assisted and succoured by the French of Canada, and whereas the Governour of Canada aforesaid hath lately sent a considerable force to a place called Tjeughsaghronde the principall passe that commands said land to build a Forte there without our leave and consent, by which means they will possess themselves of that excellent country where there is not only a very good soile but great plenty of all maner of wild beasts in such quantities that there is no maner of trouble in killing of them and also will be sole masters of the Boar hunting whereby wee shall be deprived of our livelyhood and subsistance and brought to perpetual bondage and slavery, and wee having subjected ourselves and lands on this side of Cadarachqui lake wholy to the Crown of England wee the said Sachims chief men Captns and representatives of the Five nations after mature deliberation out of a deep sence of the many Royall favours extended to us by the present great Monarch of England King William the third, and in consideration also that wee have lived peaceably and quietly with the people of albany our fellow subjects above eighty years when wee first made a firm league and covenant chain with these Christians that first came to settle Albany on this river which covenant chain hath been yearly renewed and kept bright and clear by all the Governours successively and many neighbouring Governmts of English and nations of Indians have since upon their request been admitted into the same. Wee say upon these and many other good motives us hereunto moveing have freely and voluntary surrendered delivered up and for ever quit claimed, and by these presents doe for us our heires and successors absolutely surrender, deliver up and for ever quit claime unto our great Lord and Master the King of England called by us Corachkoo and by the Christians William the third and to his heires and successors Kings and Queens of England for ever all the right title and interest and all the claime and demand whatsoever which wee the said five nations of Indians called the Maquase, Oneydes, Onnondages, Cayouges and Sinnekes now have or which wee ever had or that our heirs or successors at any time hereafter may or ought to have of, in or to all that vast Tract of land or Colony called Canagariarchio beginning on the northwest side of Cadarachqui lake and includes all that vast tract of land lyeing between the great lake of Ottawawa and the lake called by the natives Cahiquage and by the Christians the lake of Swege and runns till it butts upon the Twichtwichs and is bounded on the westward by the Twichtwichs by a place called Quadoge conteining in length about eight hundred miles and in breath four hundred miles including the Country where Beavers and all sorts of wild game keeps and the place called Tjeughsaghrondie alias Fort de tret or Wawyachtenock and so runns round the lake of Swege till you come to a place called Oniadarundaquat which is about twenty miles from the Sinnekes castles including likewise the great falls Oakinagaro, all which [was] formerly posest by seaven nations of Indians called the Aragaritka whom by a fair warr wee subdued and drove from thence four score years agoe bringing many of them captives to our country and soe became to be the true owners of the same by conquest which said land is scituate lyeing and being as is above expressed with the whole soyle the lakes the rivers and all things pertaining to the said tract of land or colony with power to erect Forts and castles there, soe that wee the said Five nations nor our heires nor any other person or persons for us by any ways or meanes hereafter have claime challenge and demand of in or to the premises or any parte thereof alwayes provided and it is hereby expected that wee are to have free hunting for us and the heires and descendants from us the Five nations for ever and that free of disturbances expecting to be protected therein by the Crown of England but from all the action right title interest and demand of in or to the premises or every of them shall and will be uterly excluded and debarred for every by these presents and wee the said Sachims of the Five Nations of Indians called the Maquase, Oneydes, Onnandages, Cayouges and Sinnekes and our heires the said tract of land or Colony, lakes and rivers and premises and every part and parcell thereof with their and every of their appurtenances unto our souveraigne Lord the King William the third & his heires and successors Kings of England to his and their proper use and uses against us our heires and all and every other person lawfully claiming by from or under us the said Five nations shall and will warrant and forever defend by these presents—In Witness whereof wee the Sachims of the Five nations above mentioned in behalf of ourselves and the Five nations have signed and sealed this present Instrument and delivered the same as an Act and deed to the Honble John Nanfan Esqr Lieut Govr to our Great King in this province whom wee call Corlaer in the presence of all the Magistrates officers and other inhabitants of Albany praying our Brother Corlaer to send it over to Carachkoo our dread souveraigne Lord and that he would be graciously pleased to accept of the same Actum in Albany in the middle of the high street this nineteenth day of July in the thirteenth year of His Majty’s reign Annoque Domini 1701.
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