Alternative History
Iroquois (or Five Nations)
Irokezen / Vijf naties (Dutch)
Timeline: Cromwell the Great

OTL equivalent: Iroquois
Flag of Iroquois
Hiawatha Belt
Location of Iroquois
Haudenosaunee homeland and territories (in red), other Iroquois people (in blue)
(and largest city)
Onondaga (location changed periodically)
Northern Iroquoian (including Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, Tuscarora)
  others Dutch, Mohawk Dutch (Dutch creole spoken in the Mohawk and Hudson Valleys), English and French
  others Protestants and Catholics
Ethnic Group Iroquois
Government Confederacy, Dutch protectorate since 1708.
  Legislature Grand Council
Population 25 000 - 30 000 
Currency Gift exchange, wampum beads, Dutch stuivers and duits, Commonwealth pounds and pennies and New France livre.

Dekanawidah called for the five tribes to gather to teach the laws of peace spoken to him by the Great Spirit which had sent him to bring the good news of peace and power to men. The Mohawk, Oneida, Cayuga, Seneca and Onondaga accepted the call and meet at the long house. I am Dekanawidah and with the Five Nations' sachems I plant the Tree of Great Peace. Finally Dekanawidah took an arrow from each of the five nations and bound them together. With his mission fulfilled the Dekanawidah vanished promising that if the Great Peace should fail the people were to call his name in the bushes and he would return. Wampun beads were tied together to remember this event and the words of Dekanawidah

The Iroquois, also known as the Haudenosaunee, are a powerful and important northeast Native American league or confederacy. It limits with the European colonies of Canada, New England, and New Netherland. The Haudenosaunee is a Dutch protectorate since 1708.

The Iroquois

They are known to the Dutch as Irokezen or Vijf naties (Dutch), to French as the Iroquois Confederacy or League, and to the English as the Five Nations. The Haudenosaunee comprises the Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga, and Seneca peoples.

The League is governed by the Grand Council of the Five Nations that is an assembly of Hoyenah (chiefs) or sachems. The Tadodaho, is the chief from the Onondaga people chosen to preside over the Grand Council of the Iroquois League. Relations with other tribes are done under the terms of several means such as trade and military alliances.

The Iroquois have absorbed many other peoples into their cultures as a result of warfare, adoption of captives, and by offering shelter to displaced nations.

The Five Nations of the Iroquois homeland

Diplomacy, Trade and Wars

The Two Row Wampum Treaty, also known as the Tawagonshi Agreement or Treaty of 1613, is an agreement made between representatives of the Five Nations of the Iroquois and representatives of the Dutch government in 1613. It declared peaceful coexistence and trade between the Haudenosaunee and Dutch settlers in the area. The factory of Fort Orange-Beverwijck is the main trade center for furs, alcohol, manufactured goods and weapons between the Iroquois and the Dutch of New Netherland.

The North River Treaty

An Iroquois longhouse.

In March 1663 the Iroquois and Dutch West India Company (WIC) envoys meet at Fort Orange to sign the North River Treaty. This was the result of proposal by the WIC. After several month of negotiations both delegations meet to sign the Treaty and exchange gifts. The Treaty defined the relationship between both parties. The Dutch were giving open access to Iroquois lands and establish factorijs (trade posts), forts and schools, and the Iroquois freedom of movement in New Netherlands and New Amsterdam. Exchange of food in case of scarcity and free trade between the two parties. The WIC guaranteed the supply of guns and munitions. Recognition of the titles of the Iroquois plantoonships and Dutch purchases in Iroquois lands. both parties could buy and sell land in their territories. Finally each year at the same date the envoys would meet to exchange gifts, complains and suggestions. Legal issues would also be addressed in these meetings.

Although the treaty was from perfect and many thorny issues would rise in the yearly meetings it provided an effective alliance against the French and gave the Iroquois a free hand and resources to dealt with its tribal neighbours and the specifically the Susquehannock. Thereby engaging in proxy war against threats to New Netherlands.

The Beaver Wars

The Beaver Wars—also known as the Iroquois Wars or the French and Iroquois Wars—encompass a series of conflicts fought intermittently during the 17th century in eastern North America.

Beginning in 1609, the Iroquois were engaged in a decades-long series of wars against the French, their Huron allies, and other neighboring tribes. The Iroquois sought to expand their territory and monopolize the fur trade and the trade between European markets and the tribes of the western Great Lakes region. The Iroquois Confederation, led by the dominant Mohawk, mobilized against the largely Algonquian-speaking tribes of the Great Lakes region. The Iroquois were armed by their Dutch and English trading partners; the Algonquian were backed by the French, their chief trading partner.

At various stages of the Beaver Wars, the Iroquois, Dutch, French and English agreed on commercial and exchange agreements and partially acknowledge the Iroquois monopoly of fur trading in their territory.

During the Beaver Wars, they defeated and assimilated the Huron (1649), Petun (1650), the Neutral Nation (1651), Erie Tribe (1657), and Susquehannock (1680). After the Beaver Wars the Iroquois became dominant in the region and enlarged their territory, realigning the tribal geography of North America. The Iroquois took as prisoners women and children, that were brought back to the Iroquois homelands and adopted into the nations.

During the Wars the Iroquois strengthened their confederacy to work more closely and create an effective central leadership. By the 1660s the five Iroquois nations ceased fighting among themselves. They also easily coordinated military and economic plans among all five nations. In so doing, they increased their power and achieved a level of government more advanced than those of the surrounding tribes' decentralized forms of operating. The Tadodaho was given more powers as the League's spokesman with the Europeans.

Trade and military alliances with other tribes gave the Iroquois the authority to represent its members with Europeans, but with no vote or direct representation in the Grand Council. In the late 1680s the Iroquois established a system of appointed emissaries ("half-kings) to intermediate between the Grand Council and the subject tribes.

The Haudenosaunee had more than doubled its territory having destroyed or assimilated several large tribal confederacies and and monopolize the fur trade and the trade between European markets and the tribes of the western Great Lakes region.

However diseases and war had reduced the population and therefore critically curbed a massive occupation of the new territories. The establishment of the North and South New Villages was hampered by this factor and never fulfilled their role of fully securing and integrating the new territories to the Iroquois homeland. Much more successful were the Dutch Iroquois Plantations.

The territories south of the Saint Lawrence river were partitioned among the English, Dutch and Haudenosaunee.

The Treaty Teantontalago / Mabee Fort of 1708

After the war and in a dire situation due to diseases and reduction of population along the rearmament by the French of rival Iroquois tribes pushed the Haudenosaunee to establish alliances with the Dutch and English colonies. With the Dutch a closer alliance was signed by Treaty Teantontalago/Mabee Fort of 1708, becoming the Haudenosaunee a Dutch protectorate with a large degree of autonomy.

The Iroquois Plantation

At the height of the Beavers Wars in the 1660s and as the Dutch started to switch from fur trade to timber and grain production a change in the Indian policy (i.e. Iroquois) was started. It also allowed a new policy of colonization desperately needed at the growing number of Englishmen to the East and Southwest of the New Netherlands.

The Iroquois sachems were offered patroonships. These native patroon assigned or recognized the land rights of the tribe or clan in perpetuity and the right to appoint or elect local officials. The sachem were given in exchange the duty to pay a small tribute, allow Dutch to settle in the patroonship, allow passage of missionaries and built schools for the natives.

After the Second Esopus War (1663), the lands of the Esopus tribe of the Lenape in the Mohawk and Hudson Valley were sold to French Huguenot refugees and Mohawks allies, or given as patroonships to the later.

The Iroquois had been counterattacked by the French and their Indian allies in New France. Mutual protection and alliances against the French, the Commonwealth and Indian tribes that were rivals of the Iroquois opened years of negotiations with the Dutch.


The economy of the Iroquois is historically based on communal production and combined elements of both horticulture and hunter-gatherer systems. The Iroquois peoples are predominantly agricultural, harvesting the "Three Sisters" (corn, beans, and squash). The Iroquois trade corn and tobacco for the pelts from the tribes to the north and the wampum from the tribes to the east. Fur trade, obtained by trade or hunting, with Europeans allowed the commerce of manufactured goods, weapons, and alcohol. However French-English competition led to an overexploitation and depletion of beavers. The new lands and Iroquois patroonships allowed activities such as agricultural products (corn, beans, barley), fish, timber and cattle to be exploited and bartered for other goods between other tribes or the use of currency with European.