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The Wisconsin Blue Book, 1923

Schaefer, Joseph
A brief outline of Wisconsin history,   pp. [5]-16 ff. PDF (3.9 MB)

Page 7

             The Primitive Human Background
  The Indian mounds, scattered widely over the state, furnish
proof that ages before the coming of white men Wisconsin
contained a varied and somewhat advanced primitive culture.
From the advent of white men in the region, of whom the
Frenchman Jean Nicolet, who came from Canada by way of
Lake Huron, Lake Michigan and Green Bay in 1634, was the
first, the Indian life was modified by two great influences-
wars and commerce. The wars carried on beyond the eastern
frontier, and sometimes in the territory itself, by the Iroquois
Indians of western New York, drove the Hurons and Ottawas,
as well as the Sauk, Foxes, and Potawatomi, into Wisconsin,
while the Sioux on the upper Mississippi invaded the country
from the west. These pressures from opposite sides tended,
in historic times, to concentrate the Wisconsin tribes along
the great interior waterways of the state, the Green Bay-Fox
and Wisconsin line, which afforded safety from enemies by
providing a way of escape under almost all circumstances.
This concentration of the tribes also facilitated the work of
the French missionaries who followed, as friends and protec-
tors, the refugee bands of Hurons fleeing from the Iroquois
enemy.1 The Indian trade was also begun by the French, who
carried it on at first through agents at Montreal, later through
trading establishments located at strategic points in the country
itself. Green Bay and Prairie du Chien, at the opposite ends
of the Fox-Wisconsin waterway, became the leading French
posts for carrying on trade with the Indians, while a post on
Chequamegon Bay gathered the fur harvest of Lake Superior.
  By the terms of the Treaty of Paris, 1763, France was dis-
possessed and Great Britain came into control of the whole
north country. Twenty years later, at the close of the Amer-
ican Revolution, another treaty of Paris formally transferred
the Wisconsin region to the United States. British companies
operating from Canada were able to reap most of the benefits
of the trade'until after the close of the War of 1812, when
the American Fur Company, of which John Jacob Astor was
the head, took control. Through all these changes, however,
most of the men who actually came in contact commercially
  'Frederick J. Turner, "The Fur Trade in Wisconsin," in Wisconsin
Historical Society, Proceedings, 1889.

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