The Iroquois Confederacy (the Five Nations-Mohawk, Seneca, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Oneida) launched a massive offensive against the Huron-Wendat north of the Great Lakes in the summer of 1647. The Iroquois objective was to seize control of the major fur-trade routes controlled by the Huron-Wendat. The Huron-Wendat had realized great benefits as middlemen between the French on the St. Lawrence and the First Nations farther inland. An Iroquois Confederacy victory would enable the Five Nations to control the fur trade and divert furs to the Dutch trading posts along the Hudson River. Iroquois control of the fur trade would also weaken the French settlements along the St. Lawrence. The fur trade was the most important source of income for the French colony of New France.

It is estimated that the Huron-Wendat population totalled approximately 20,000 to 30,000 people in 1634. However, by 1649 their numbers had been vastly reduced and the population dispersed. Many had been decimated by infectious disease epidemics and the survivors were attacked by the Iroquois Confederacy, who pushed from the south (present-day New York) trying to control hunting grounds and the fur trade. Their towns had been razed to the ground, and the main Jesuit mission at Huronia had been destroyed. Those that survived the Iroquois onslaught abandoned their lands, with the Huron-Wendat eventually resettling near Quebec City 1650) and the remainder (Wyandotte) moving to Mackinac Island in the upper Lake Michigan region (1651).




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