The Abenakis & The Europeans
What was Vermont before it became a state? What happened when people from different cultures met?
400 years ago, Vermont was not “Vermont.” It was part of the land Ndakinna where the Western Abenakis lived. Their land included what is now Vermont and New Hampshire. It also included parts of Maine, Massachusetts and Quebec, Canada. Historians estimate that 10,000 Abenakis lived in what is now Vermont.
Abenaki Indians lived on this land. They hunted in the woods and fished in the rivers. The Abenakis grew crops in fields and built wigwams in villages.
After the Europeans came, the Abenakis traded with them. The French and English traders wanted furs to sell in Europe. The Abenakis traded these furs for metal tools and cloth. The Europeans also gave the Abenakis new diseases they had never had before. Many Abenakis got sick or died from diseases like small pox.
Some of the Europeans came to North America to stay. They started settlements, then towns, and then colonies. The English settlers wanted to own the land where they built their houses and farms.
Sometimes the Abenakis and Europeans got along and shared their spaces. Sometimes they fought each other over the land. The Europeans had more guns and more people than the Abenakis. The Abenakis knew the land better than the Europeans.
The European settlers took most of the land from the Abenakis. Many of the Abenakis moved farther away from the Europeans. Some moved into the forests. Others moved north to the Abenaki villages of Missisquoi and St. Francis. And the Europeans kept coming to what is now Vermont.
|Becoming a State||The New Hampshire Grants|
Thinking about History
History has different stories or sides. How would the English settlers tell the story of coming to America?
How would the Abenakis tell the story of the Europeans coming to their land?
An Abenaki Village - a mural at the Vermont History museum (Freedom & Unity link)
|Malian's Song - an Abenaki story of the British raid on the village of St. Francis (outside link)|
|Chimney Point: Where Cultures Meet (PDF)|
|Raid on Deerfield: The Many Stories of 1704 (outside link)|