The Miami Indians originally lived in Indiana, Illinois, and southern Michigan at the time of European arrival. They moved into the Maumee Valley around 1700. They soon became the most powerful Indian tribe in Ohio. The Miamis spoke one of the dialects of the Algonquian Indians and were thus related to the Delaware Indians, the Ottawa Indians, and the Shawnee Indians.
The Miamis were allies of the French until British traders moved into the Ohio Country, around 1740. The French forced the British out of Ohio, and the Miamis allied themselves with the French again until the British victory in the French and Indian War. As French trading posts turned into British forts, many Miami Indians moved to present-day Indiana to avoid further battles with the more powerful British. During the American Revolution, the Miamis, who were especially fearful of additional white settlers moving into the Ohio Country, fought with the British against the Americans. After the defeat of the British, the Miami Indians continued to fight the Americans.
Little Turtle was a great leader of the Miamis. He helped to lead a force of Miamis and other Indians to victory over two American armies. They defeated the army of General Josiah Harmar in 1790 (Harmar's Defeat) and the army of General Arthur St. Clair in 1791 (St. Clair's Defeat).
General Anthony Wayne finally defeated the Miamis and other Ohio Indians at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794. They surrendered most of their lands in Ohio with the signing of the Treaty of Greeneville. In 1818, the United States forced the Miami Indians to give up their last reservation in Ohio. Most of these people settled in Indiana, but the United States removed some of them to Kansas during the 1850s, while others were permitted to remain in Indiana.
- Anson, Bert. The Miami Indians. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1970.
- Hurt, R. Douglas. The Ohio Frontier: Crucible of the Old Northwest, 1720-1830. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1996.