Delawares, a tribe of the Algonquin family of North American Indians, dwelling when they were first known by the whites in detached bands under separate sachems, on the Delaware river, and calling themselves Re-nappi (the collective term for men), or as now written Lenape or Lenno Lenape. The Dutch began to trade with them in 1616, and maintained a friendly intercourse with the various clans, the most important being the Sankhi-cans at the falls of the river. In 1632 the Dutch settlement of Swanendael was utterly destroyed by them, but trade was soon resumed. The Swedes on settling on the river were well received, and made attempts to Christianize the Indians, Luther's catechism being translated into their language by Campanius, and printed in Stockholm. The Delawares claim to have come from the west with the Minquas or Conestogas, after having driven from the Ohio the Allegewi (perhaps the Alkansas or Arkansas of the Illinois traditions). The Minquas soon reduced the Delawares to a state of vassalage, and when they were conquered by the Five Nations, the latter termed the Delawares women. At a later period the Delawares claimed to be the source of all the Algonquin tribes, and were styled grandfathers by many of them.
They formed three clans or families, the Turtle, Turkey, and Wolf. The Dutch and Swedes bought lands of the Re-nappi, who had to strike inland for game to supply furs. The English after the conquest of New Netherlands kept up the trade, and Penn with his followers, occupying the land in still greater numbers, bought large tracts; all the Indians within his limits were at the time estimated at 6,000, with ten tribes of whom he made treaties. The Delawares complained bitterly that they were grossly defrauded in the interpretation of the treaty, called the "walking treaty," and showed a reluctance to remove; but in 1742 the Pennsylvania authority called upon the Six Nations, who haughtily ordered the Delawares, as women, to retire. The Dutch, penetrating to the Minnisink country, had already induced the Indians there to retire to the Susquehannas, where they became known as Minsees or Mun-sees, or joined that tribe. The Nanticokes of Maryland, a kindred tribe, also centred there. From a gentle, peaceful tribe, the Delawares, now thrown together in presence of warring nations, became warlike and energetic, and assumed a mastery.
In a war with the Cherokees they reached the Ohio; and by consent of the Wyandots and Kickapoos, who certainly had no rights, part of the Delawares settled there and remained till 1773. In 1741 the Moravians began to labor among the Delawares near Bethlehem and Nazareth, Pa., and soon had a little church of converts. When the French attempted to gain the valley of the Ohio, they won some of the Five Nations, and through them the Delawares. Many took up arms and fought under the French flag at Braddock's defeat and elsewhere; but the Senecas, again joining the English, turned on the Delawares and Munsees, and attacked one of their towns on the Susquehanna. Part of the tribe, guided by the Moravians, had always held to the English; others made peace at Easton in 1757, and the rest after the fall of Fort Duquesne. The Delawares then centred at Wyalusing and other points on the Susquehanna, the Christian Indians with their missionaries apart. A number soon after settled on the Muskingum, while the Munsees halted on the Alleghany. Smarting under a sense of wrong, many Delawares, led by a prophet, took part with Pontiac, and were among those who besieged Detroit, Fort Pitt, and other frontier posts.
They were totally defeated by Bouquet at Bushy Run in August, 1763, Teedyus-cung, their chief, being killed. The whites then ravaged the Delaware towns on the Susquehanna. The Moravian converts, who had taken no part in the war, fled to Philadelphia; and they were already in New Jersey, on the way to New York, when that colony refused to admit them. After remaining nearly a year at Philadelphia, they returned to the Susquehanna. The hostile Delawares, under Custa-loga and Turtle Heart, made peace on the Muskingum in 1764, and with Croghan at Fort Pitt in 1765; the great prophet, in the name of the Great Spirit, directing them to lay down the hatchet. A general emigration followed, and by 1768 the Delawares ceased to exist east of the Alleghanies. The Moravians emigrated with their flock, and on the Ohio the number of Christian Indians increased; but the hostile feeling prevailed, and Delaware bands kept the field till they were completely broken in the bloody battle at Pleasant Point, in September, 1774. When the revolutionary war began, this party, won over by the English, renewed hostilities, although a part of the nation, with Capt. White Eyes, Capt. Kill-buck, and Capt. Pipe, made a treaty with congress at Fort Pitt in 1778. The Christian Indians had been settled on the Muskingum in 1772 by the great council of the Delaware nation, and formed three towns, Gnadenhutten being that of the Delawares. They took no part in the war, but kept cultivating their fields till 1781, when the English captured their towns and removed them to Sandusky. A part of these Indians, returning to their old homes to save some of their crops, were attacked by the Americans, who massacred 90; the rest fled to Huron river and to Canada. The treaty of Fort Mclntqsh in 1785, renewed at Fort Harmar in 1789, guaranteed to the Delawares the lands between the Cuyahoga and Miami, up to Lake Erie, and .ordinances of 1785 and 1787 reserved lands on the Muskingum for the Christians; but difficulties arose, and these Delawares formed the town of Fairfield, on the Thames, in Canada, on lands granted by the English government; only a small band returned to the Muskingum. The rest of the tribe were still hostile in heart, and had 480 warriors near Grand Glaize, 400 of whom, under Buek-ongehelas, were with the Miamis in the defeat of St. Clair, in November, 1791. Upon Wayne's victory they made peace at Greenville in 1795; after which the government, by a series of treaties, obtained the cession of the lands claimed by them between the Ohio and Wabash and elsewhere.
In 1808 there were 800 at Wapeminskink and other towns on White river, a small band on Whitewoman creek near Sandusky, a few on the Muskingum, and a large body at Fairfield. In the war with Great Britain the Delawares refused to join Tecumseh, but preserved their fidelity to the United States. They joined the United States in a curious treaty at Greenville, July, 1814, in giving peace to the hostile tribes. The body in Canada suffered, Fairfield being destroyed by the Americans in 1814. In 1818 the Delawares ceded all their lands to the United States by the treaty of St. Mary's, and removed to White river, Missouri, to the number of 1,800, leaving only a small band in Ohio. Another change soon followed. Some went south to Red river; but the mass of the nation, by treaty of Oct. 24, 1829, were settled on the Kansas and Missouri. They numbered about 1,000; were brave, enterprising hunters on the plains, cultivated some land, and were friendly to the whites. By this time the Baptists and Methodists had missions and schools among them, the Moravians still caring for the old Christian band.
Some Munsees and Delawares from Wisconsin joined them in 1844, and some were with the Shawnees. In the west they met the experience of all; they suffered from the Sioux and other wild tribes, and from lawless whites. They sold to the United States in 1853 all the lands granted them except a suitable reservation in Kansas, applied the money judiciously, improved their farms, and built a Methodist church. They were unaffected by the Kansas troubles, except a few who were among the Shawnees; and during the civil war, when they numbered 1,085, they sent to the United States army 170 out of their 201 able-bodied men, and proved efficient soldiers and guides in operations against the south and the Sioux. They had now given up most of their Indian ways, had abandoned wigwams for comfortable houses, and, though too indolent, still advanced in agriculture. In 1866 their reservation was cut up by the Pacific railroad, and they finally sold the whole to the Missouri railroad, and early in 1868 settled on lands on the Verdigris and Cane, which they had acquired from the Cherokees. Here the main body of the Delawares still are; a party who went to the Peo-rias having returned, and small bands only still lying without among the Wichitas and Kio-was. They adopted a code of laws in 1866; but a treaty made with the United States in that year having authorized them to become citizens, they elected to- do so, received and divided the funds held for their benefit, took lands in severalty, and ceased to be regarded as a tribe.
To the last the old clan division of Turtle, Turkey, and Wolf was retained, and will probably survive for a time. - The language of the Delawares is one of the best known of the Algonquin dialects; the works of Campanius and Loskiel, Zeisberger's Delaware-English spelling book (1776), and his grammar, published by the American philosophical society (1827), and Duponceau's "Memoir on the Grammatical System of some North American Languages," having afforded students at an early date the means of comparison. (See Ameeioan Indians, Languages of the.) The number of works issued on the language is comparatively large. Tamanend, or Tammany, whose name has figured so much in American politics, was a Delaware chief of the mythical period. The Jesuit fathers of Missouri reckon among them a priest, Wato-mika, who is a Delaware.