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Delaware - At one time the most important confederacy of the Algonquian family.  The Delaware occupied New Jersey, the basin of the Delaware River in eastern Pennsylvania and northern Delaware, western Long Island, and Manhattan and Staten Islands in New York. 

They called themselves Lenni-Lenape, "Genuine Men," or "Original People."  They comprised three powerful tribes, known by their totem symbols as the Turtle, the Turkey, and the Wolf.  The latter were generally known as the Munsee, although the French termed them all Loups, or "Wolves."

The Delaware did not at first like the name given them by the English until it was explained to them that they ahd the river were named for a great and brave Englishman, Lord de la Warre, second governor of Virginia.  After learning this the Delaware were much pleased.

In early history the capital of the Delaware was near what is now Germantown, Pennsylvania.  William Penn had established his settlement nearby.  The Delaware made their first treaty with Penn in 1682 under the famed oak tree at Shackamaxon.

The Delaware lived in small villages of rectangular bark covered houses, dome shaped after the Algonquian type wigwam.  They were hunters and raised corn and vegetables.  Their early history is to be found in a remarkable document called the Walan Olum, which may or may not be authentic.

Tammany or Tamenend was their greatest chief and he won so much renown that even the whites respected him and called him St. Tammany.  After the Revolutionary War the Tammany Society was organized by war veterans.

In 1720 the powerful Iroquois dominated the Delaware and forbade them to make war or sell any more of their land.  They had further troubles when by 1742 the whites had pushed them westward to Wyoming, Pennsylvania.  Some bands drifted farther west and made an alliance with the Huron, and being in French territory they defied the Iroquois and made war on them.

Still others of the Delaware went as far as Texas, but in 1835 most of these western bands were gathered on a reservation in Kansas.  In 1867 they were removed to Indian Territory, where some occupied a corner of the Cherokee nation.

The name Delaware has been used for post offices in Arkansas, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, and Oklahoma, besides for the state and river.  Lenape is a village in Kansas and Lenapah one in Oklahoma.

Related Information within this Site
[ Lappawinze ][ Penn ][ Tammany ]