Algonquins, a family of Indian tribes in North America, which at the commencement of the 17th century covered a vast region, bounded on the north and northeast by the Esquimaux, on the northwest by the Athabascan tribes, on the west by the Dakotas, and on the south by the Catawbas, Cherokees, Mo-bilian tribes, and Natchez, and extending from about lat. 37° to 53° N., and from lon. 25° E. to 15° W. of Washington. All the tribes of the family were nomadic, cultivating very little ground, and moving about in their own districts as hunting and fishing required. They resemble each other strongly in manners and customs, and the differences of dialect are easily traced to a common source. Within the same limits also dwelt the Winnebagoes, a Dakota tribe, in the west, and a large family of tribes extending from Lake Huron through the present states of New York and Ohio to North Carolina, and comprising the Wyandots or Hu-rons, Tionontatez, Neutres, Iroquois, Andastes or Susquehannas, Nottoways, Tuscaroras, and some smaller tribes, all of the same origin and language, but differing essentially from the Algon-quins. The chief Algonquin tribes were the Crees, from Hudson Bay to Lake Superior; Nas-quapees, on the Saguenay; Montagnais, on the St. Lawrence; Algonquins proper, on the Ottawa; Nipissings and Ottawas, on Manitouline; Chippewas, Menomonees, and Pottawatamies, on Lake Michigan; Miamis, Sacs, Foxes, Kicka-poos, and Illinois, in the west; and on the Atlantic the Micmacs, Etechemins, Abenaquis, Soko-kes, Massachusetts tribes, Pequods, Narragan-setts, Mohegans, Lenni Lenape or Delawares, Nanticokes, the Powhatan tribes in Virginia, Pampticoes in North Carolina, and Shawnees in the south.
West of the Mississippi were the Blackfeet and Cheyennes, regarded as isolated branches of the same family. Various dialects of the Algonquin have been studied and reduced to grammatical rules, by missionaries and others, Eliot's Indian Bible being the most extensive work published in it, while the labors of Eliot, Edwards, Roger Williams, House, Schoolcraft, Zeisberger, Du Ponceau, Gravier, Rale, Le Boulanger, Baraga, and Cuoq furnish the best data for study and comparison. At the beginning of the 17th century the Algon-quins numbered apparently more than a quarter of a million; and the survivors must even now number 40,000. - There is no little confusion in the later writers as to the locality of the Algonquin tribe, from which the family took its name; but from the earlier explorers it is evident that they lived on the Ottawa river, the chief band being called also Kichi-sipirini (men of the great river). They were enemies of the Iroquois, and levied a sort of toll on all the canoes that passed down the river to trade with Europeans. They induced the French to join in the war against the Iroquois, but were almost annihilated by war and disease.
The only remnant of the Algonquins is at the Lake of the Two Mountains. Their dialect has been modified by intermixture with the kindred Nipissings and Ojibways, so that its original dialectic forms are scarcely traceable.