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Tarrateen War [archive]

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Tarrateen War

Rivalry over the French fur trade aggravated earlier animosities between the Abenaki, especially the Penobscot confederacy, and the Micmac and their Maliseet allies . In 1607 this escalated into the Tarrateen War. For 8 years the war raged until the Micmac succeeded in killing the sachem of the Penobscot, thereby winning the war. In the next two years, Micmac warriors swept southwards through the Abenaki villages in Maine in a wave of destruction. They went as far as Massachusetts where they came in contact with the devastating epidemics which were sweeping through the tribes in southern New England. The Micmac took the diseases back home. Before the sickness would have passes three-quaters of the native population would die - leaving not even enough survivors to bury the dead.

Meanwhile the French had a more lucrative source of fur and by 1610 the French presence in the Maritimes was limited to a tiny settlement at Port Royal and single trading post on Penobscot River in Maine. The fur trade was over for the Micmac but the long struggle between Britain and France for control of their homeland was just beginning.

In 1632 a treaty restores Quebec and the Maritimes back into the hands of France after the British had forcefully taken control of it 4 years earlier. The french settlers in Acadia built their homes near the bay rather than clearing away forest land as the English had done. As a result, their presence did little to disturb the Micmac's lifestyle, and during their 160 years presence in Acadia the French never needed a single treaty to remain at the peace with them.

--written by Dora and Ruud Hein (Dora is part Mi'kmaq from Gespegiag)

Additional Reading

 The Micmac Tribe
 Mi'kmaq Words
 Glooscap Legends
 American Indians in Maine

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