Treaty of Fort Stanwix (1768)

The power of many of the eastern Indian tribes had been sapped by the demands of the French and Indian War and Pontiac's Rebellion. A possible respite was provided by the implementation of the Proclamation of 1763, a British plan to end white incursions onto Indian lands by establishing a line of separation down the crest of the Appalachian Mountains.

Within months after the new policy's enunciation, the pressure was on to secure more lands from the tribes. Minor westward adjustments were made over the next few years, but a major change occurred in 1768. At that time, British officials met with Iroquois leaders at Fort Stanwix, a key installation near present-day Rome, New York. In return for a guarantee of their traditional homelands in western New York, the Iroquois surrendered their claims south of the Susquehanna and Ohio rivers — lands not occupied by the Six Nations, but home to the Delaware, Mingo and Shawnee.

British aims in the Treaty of Fort Stanwix are not entirely clear. White settlers were pressing hard to gain access to western lands, but there also is some evidence that thought was being given to creating a permanent buffer zone between the races. In the end, the intent mattered little. Colonists began almost immediately to pour over the mountains, which sparked conflict with the resident tribes. The mounting friction culminated in 1774 in Lord Dunmore’s War, a clash that resulted in further white access to Indian hunting grounds and free navigation of the Ohio River.


See also Indian Wars Time Table .