Treaty of Fort Stanwix (1768)

From Ohio History Central

In 1768 in present-day Rome, New York, British officials and leaders of the Iroquois Confederacy signed the Treaty of Fort Stanwix. In this treaty, the Confederacy, a confederation of six Iroquois-speaking tribes, the Mohawk, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Seneca, and Tuscarora Nations, relinquished their claims to lands south of the Ohio River.

This treaty was one of many initiated by the British in order to control “unsettled” lands and establish Indian territories. After their victory in the French and Indian War (1754-1763), the British issued the Proclamation of 1763 which stated that any land west of the Appalachian Mountains, from the southern area of the Hudson Bay to the region north of Florida, was to be reserved for American Indian territories. The Proclamation also prohibited colonists from settling this region and anyone who previously settled there was required to relocate within the colonial divide. However, many colonists disregarded this legislation and continued to encroach on native lands, especially settling on the Kentucky bank of the Ohio River, which instigated continuous conflict between colonists and native peoples.

In an attempt to quell tensions between settlers and American Indian tribes in southern Ohio, the British drafted the Treaty of Fort Stanwix (1768) which established new boundary lines between the colonists and native peoples. While the Iroquois agreed to give up this land, other tribes living in Ohio did not, including the Delaware, Seneca-Cayuga, and Shawnee Tribes. These peoples claimed that the Iroquois, most of whom did not live in Ohio, did not have the right to negotiate for the other tribes.

Colonial settlers immediately moved into the region. By the spring of 1774, violence had begun in the disputed area as Ohio's American Indians, especially the Shawnee, tried to drive the colonists east of the Appalachian Mountains. The American Indians' insistence that the treaty did not speak for them resulted in increased tensions with the British and conflicts initiated by Anglo-American settlers, such as Lord Dunmore's War in 1774.

See Also


  1. Hurt, R. Douglas. The Ohio Frontier: Crucible of the Old Northwest, 1720-1830. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1996.
  2. Richter, Daniel K. The Ordeal of the Longhouse: The Peoples of the Iroquois League in the Era of European Colonization. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1992.