Indian Wars
Overview
 
American Indian Wars is the name used in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 to describe a series of conflicts between American settlers or the federal government and the native peoples of North America
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

 before and after the American Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

. The wars resulted from the arrival of European colonizers who continuously sought to expand their territory, pushing the indigenous populations westwards. The wars were spurred by ideologies such as Manifest Destiny
Manifest Destiny
Manifest Destiny was the 19th century American belief that the United States was destined to expand across the continent. It was used by Democrat-Republicans in the 1840s to justify the war with Mexico; the concept was denounced by Whigs, and fell into disuse after the mid-19th century.Advocates of...

, which held that the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 was destined to expand from coast to coast on the American continent, and which resulted in the policy of Indian removal
Indian Removal
Indian removal was a nineteenth century policy of the government of the United States to relocate Native American tribes living east of the Mississippi River to lands west of the river...

, by which indigenous peoples were removed from the areas where Europeans were settling, either forcefully or by means of voluntary exchange of territory through treaties.
Today Native Americans make up 1.37% of the population of the United States.
Timeline

1763    Indian Wars: Pontiac's Rebellion begins – Chief Pontiac begins the "Conspiracy of Pontiac" by attacking British forces at Fort Detroit.

1814    Indian Wars: the Creek sign the Treaty of Fort Jackson, giving up huge parts of Alabama and Georgia.

1832    Indian Wars: The Black Hawk War begins – the Sauk warrior Black Hawk begins a war with the United States.

1842    Indian Wars: Second Seminole War ends, with the Seminoles forced from Florida to Oklahoma.

1855    Indian Wars: in Nebraska, 700 soldiers under United States General William S. Harney avenge the Grattan Massacre by attacking a Sioux village and killing 100 between men, women and children.

1862    Indian Wars: The Dakota War of 1862 begins in Minnesota as Lakota warriors attack white settlements along the Minnesota River.

1862    Indian Wars: during an uprising in Minnesota, Lakota warriors decide not to attack heavily-defended Fort Ridgely and instead turn to the settlement of New Ulm, killing white settlers along the way.

1862    Indian Wars: In Minnesota, 303 Dakota warriors are found guilty of rape and murder of whites and are sentenced to hang. 38 are ultimately executed and the others reprieved.

1863    Indian Wars: Chief Pocatello of the Shoshone tribe signs the Treaty of Box Elder, agreeing to stop the harassment of emigrant trails in southern Idaho and northern Utah.

1864    Indian Wars: Indian Wars: Indian Wars: [[Sand Creek Massacre

Encyclopedia
American Indian Wars is the name used in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 to describe a series of conflicts between American settlers or the federal government and the native peoples of North America
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

 before and after the American Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

. The wars resulted from the arrival of European colonizers who continuously sought to expand their territory, pushing the indigenous populations westwards. The wars were spurred by ideologies such as Manifest Destiny
Manifest Destiny
Manifest Destiny was the 19th century American belief that the United States was destined to expand across the continent. It was used by Democrat-Republicans in the 1840s to justify the war with Mexico; the concept was denounced by Whigs, and fell into disuse after the mid-19th century.Advocates of...

, which held that the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 was destined to expand from coast to coast on the American continent, and which resulted in the policy of Indian removal
Indian Removal
Indian removal was a nineteenth century policy of the government of the United States to relocate Native American tribes living east of the Mississippi River to lands west of the river...

, by which indigenous peoples were removed from the areas where Europeans were settling, either forcefully or by means of voluntary exchange of territory through treaties.

Effects on indigenous populations

Today Native Americans make up 1.37% of the population of the United States. No conclusive evidence exists to determine how many native people lived in North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 before the arrival of Columbus. David Stannard
David Stannard
David Edward Stannard is an American historian and Professor of American Studies at the University of Hawaii. He is particularly known for his book American Holocaust , on the genocide of the native American population.-Early life:He was born to Florence E. Harwood Stannard and David L. Stannard,...

 notes that more conservative demographers cite a figure of about 7 or 8 million inhabitants. The Library of Congress
Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is the research library of the United States Congress, de facto national library of the United States, and the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. Located in three buildings in Washington, D.C., it is the largest library in the world by shelf space and...

 uses 900,000 as the total number in its educational article "Destroying the Native American Cultures". By 1800, the native population of the present-day United States had declined to approximately 600,000, and only 250,000 Native Americans remained in the 1890s. As the direct result of written and broken treaties, warfare, and of forced assimilation, the Indians were virtually destroyed by the European immigration that created the United States. Scholars believe that among the causes of the overwhelming population decline of the American natives were new infectious disease
Infectious disease
Infectious diseases, also known as communicable diseases, contagious diseases or transmissible diseases comprise clinically evident illness resulting from the infection, presence and growth of pathogenic biological agents in an individual host organism...

s carried by Europeans. Native Americans had no acquired immunity to such diseases, which had been chronic in Eurasian populations for centuries. For instance, some estimates indicate case fatality rates of 80–90% in Native American populations during smallpox
Smallpox
Smallpox was an infectious disease unique to humans, caused by either of two virus variants, Variola major and Variola minor. The disease is also known by the Latin names Variola or Variola vera, which is a derivative of the Latin varius, meaning "spotted", or varus, meaning "pimple"...

 epidemics.

According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census (1894), "The Indian wars under the government of the United States have been more than 40 in number. They have cost the lives of about 19,000 white men, women and children, including those killed in individual combats, and the lives of about 30,000 Indians."

Colonial Period

While some historians suggest that settlers were engaged in warfare to open further land for settlement, other historians suggest that settlers needed to defend themselves from attacks by the Indians. The wars, which ranged from the 17th-century (Pequot War
Pequot War
The Pequot War was an armed conflict between 1634–1638 between the Pequot tribe against an alliance of the Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, and Saybrook colonies who were aided by their Native American allies . Hundreds were killed; hundreds more were captured and sold into slavery to the West Indies. ...

 of 1637, Anglo-Powhatan Wars, King Philip's War
King Philip's War
King Philip's War, sometimes called Metacom's War, Metacomet's War, or Metacom's Rebellion, was an armed conflict between Native American inhabitants of present-day southern New England and English colonists and their Native American allies in 1675–76. The war is named after the main leader of the...

, King William's War
King William's War
The first of the French and Indian Wars, King William's War was the name used in the English colonies in America to refer to the North American theater of the Nine Years' War...

, as well as Queen Anne's War
Queen Anne's War
Queen Anne's War , as the North American theater of the War of the Spanish Succession was known in the British colonies, was the second in a series of French and Indian Wars fought between France and England, later Great Britain, in North America for control of the continent. The War of the...

, Tuscarora War
Tuscarora War
The Tuscarora War was fought in North Carolina during the autumn of 1711 until 11 February 1715 between the British, Dutch, and German settlers and the Tuscarora Native Americans. A treaty was signed in 1715....

, Yamasee War
Yamasee War
The Yamasee War was a conflict between British settlers of colonial South Carolina and various Native American Indian tribes, including the Yamasee, Muscogee, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Catawba, Apalachee, Apalachicola, Yuchi, Savannah River Shawnee, Congaree, Waxhaw, Pee Dee, Cape Fear, Cheraw, and...

 and Dummer's War
Dummer's War
Dummer's War , also known as Lovewell's War, Father Rale's War, Greylock's War, the Three Years War, the 4th Indian War or the Wabanaki-New England War of 1722–1725, was a series of battles between British settlers of the three northernmost British colonies of North America of the time and the...

 at the opening of the 18th century) to the French and Indian War
French and Indian War
The French and Indian War is the common American name for the war between Great Britain and France in North America from 1754 to 1763. In 1756, the war erupted into the world-wide conflict known as the Seven Years' War and thus came to be regarded as the North American theater of that war...

, Pontiac's Rebellion
Pontiac's Rebellion
Pontiac's War, Pontiac's Conspiracy, or Pontiac's Rebellion was a war that was launched in 1763 by a loose confederation of elements of Native American tribes primarily from the Great Lakes region, the Illinois Country, and Ohio Country who were dissatisfied with British postwar policies in the...

 and Lord Dunmore's War after the middle of that century until the Wounded Knee massacre
Wounded Knee Massacre
The Wounded Knee Massacre happened on December 29, 1890, near Wounded Knee Creek on the Lakota Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, USA. On the day before, a detachment of the U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment commanded by Major Samuel M...

 and "closing" of the American frontier in 1890, generally resulted in the opening of Native American lands to further colonization, the conquest of Native Americans and their assimilation, or forced relocation
Indian Removal
Indian removal was a nineteenth century policy of the government of the United States to relocate Native American tribes living east of the Mississippi River to lands west of the river...

 to Indian reservation
Indian reservation
An American Indian reservation is an area of land managed by a Native American tribe under the United States Department of the Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs...

s.

East of the Mississippi (1775–1842)

These wars were fought primarily by the newly established United States against the Native Americans until shortly before the Mexican–American War
Mexican–American War
The Mexican–American War, also known as the First American Intervention, the Mexican War, or the U.S.–Mexican War, was an armed conflict between the United States and Mexico from 1846 to 1848 in the wake of the 1845 U.S...

 of 1848.
Indian Wars
East of the Mississippi
  • American Revolution (1775–1783)
  • Chickamauga Wars
    Chickamauga wars
    The Chickamauga Wars were a series of raids, campaigns, ambushes, minor skirmishes, and several full-scale frontier battles which were a continuation of the Cherokee struggle against encroachment by American frontiersmen from the former British colonies...

     (1776–1794)
  • Northwest Indian War
    Northwest Indian War
    The Northwest Indian War , also known as Little Turtle's War and by various other names, was a war fought between the United States and a confederation of numerous American Indian tribes for control of the Northwest Territory...

     (1785–1795)
  • Nickajack Expedition
    Nickajack Expedition
    Following a peace treaty between Cherokee and white settlers in 1777, during the midst of the American Revolutionary War, followers of the Native American chief Dragging Canoe, all of whom opposed the peace, separated from the tribe and relocated to East Tennessee. They were joined by groups of...

     (1794)
  • Sabine Expedition
    Sabine Expedition
    The Sabine Expedition was an expedition approved by the United States Congress and led by Major General Edmund Pendleton Gaines. It consisted of volunteers provided by Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee, including militia from Fayetteville in Lincoln County or Athens in McMinn County...

     (1806)
  • War of 1812
    War of 1812
    The War of 1812 was a military conflict fought between the forces of the United States of America and those of the British Empire. The Americans declared war in 1812 for several reasons, including trade restrictions because of Britain's ongoing war with France, impressment of American merchant...

     (1811–1815)
    • Tecumseh's War
      Tecumseh's War
      Tecumseh's War or Tecumseh's Rebellion are terms sometimes used to describe a conflict in the Old Northwest between the United States and an American Indian confederacy led by the Shawnee leader Tecumseh...

       (1811–1813)
    • Creek War
      Creek War
      The Creek War , also known as the Red Stick War and the Creek Civil War, began as a civil war within the Creek nation...

       (1813–1814)
    • Peoria War
      Peoria War
      During the War of 1812, the Illinois Territory was the scene of fighting between Native Americans and United States soldiers and settlers.Tensions in the Illinois Territory between U.S. settlers and Native Americans were on the rise in the years before the War of 1812...

       (1813)
  • First Seminole War (1817–1818)
  • Winnebago War
    Winnebago War
    The Winnebago War was a brief conflict that took place in 1827 in the Upper Mississippi River region of the United States, primarily in what is now the state of Wisconsin. Not quite a war, the hostilities were limited to a few attacks on American civilians by a portion of the Winnebago Native...

     (1827)
  • Black Hawk War
    Black Hawk War
    The Black Hawk War was a brief conflict fought in 1832 between the United States and Native Americans headed by Black Hawk, a Sauk leader. The war erupted soon after Black Hawk and a group of Sauks, Meskwakis, and Kickapoos known as the "British Band" crossed the Mississippi River into the U.S....

     (1832)
  • Creek Alabama Uprising (1835–1837)
  • Florida–Georgia Border War (1836)
  • Second Seminole War
    Second Seminole War
    The Second Seminole War, also known as the Florida War, was a conflict from 1835 to 1842 in Florida between various groups of Native Americans collectively known as Seminoles and the United States, part of a series of conflicts called the Seminole Wars...

     (1835–1842)
  • Missouri–Iowa Border War (1836)
  • Osage Indian War (1837)

American Revolutionary War 1775-1783

For the American rebels the American Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

 was essentially two parallel wars: while the war in the east was a struggle against British
Kingdom of Great Britain
The former Kingdom of Great Britain, sometimes described as the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain', That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall upon the 1st May next ensuing the date hereof, and forever after, be United into One Kingdom by the Name of GREAT BRITAIN. was a sovereign...

 rule, the war in the west was an "Indian War". The newly proclaimed United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 competed with the British for control of the territory of Native American nations east of the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

. The colonial interest in westward colonisation
Colonisation
Colonization occurs whenever any one or more species populate an area. The term, which is derived from the Latin colere, "to inhabit, cultivate, frequent, practice, tend, guard, respect", originally related to humans. However, 19th century biogeographers dominated the term to describe the...

, as opposed to the British policy of maintaining peace by designating areas reserved to Native Americans west of the Appalachians following the end of the Seven Years' War
Seven Years' War
The Seven Years' War was a global military war between 1756 and 1763, involving most of the great powers of the time and affecting Europe, North America, Central America, the West African coast, India, and the Philippines...

, was one cause of the revolution. Most Native Americans who joined the struggle sided with the British, hoping to use the war to reduce settlement and expansion onto their land. The Revolutionary War was "the most extensive and destructive" Indian war in United States history.

Some native communities were divided over which side to support in the war. For the Iroquois
Iroquois
The Iroquois , also known as the Haudenosaunee or the "People of the Longhouse", are an association of several tribes of indigenous people of North America...

 Confederacy, based in New York and Pennsylvania, the American Revolution resulted in civil war; the Six Nations
Iroquois
The Iroquois , also known as the Haudenosaunee or the "People of the Longhouse", are an association of several tribes of indigenous people of North America...

 split, with the Oneidas and Tuscaroras siding with the rebels, and Mohawks, Senecas, Cayugas, and Onondagas, fighting for the British. While the Iroquois tried to avoid fighting directly against one another, the Revolution eventually forced intra-Iroquois combat. Both sides lost territory under the new political dispensation. The Crown aided the landless Iroquois by rewarding them with a reservation at Grand River
Six Nations 40, Ontario
Six Nations is the largest First Nation in Canada with a total of 23,902 band members. 11,865 are reported living in the territory. It is the only territory in North America that has the six Iroquois nations living together. These nations are the Mohawk, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Seneca and...

 in Ontario
Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

. In the Southeast, the Cherokee
Cherokee
The Cherokee are a Native American people historically settled in the Southeastern United States . Linguistically, they are part of the Iroquoian language family...

 split into a neutral (or pro-rebel) faction and a pro-British faction, which the rebels referred to as the Chickamaugas, led by Dragging Canoe
Dragging Canoe
Tsiyu Gansini , "He is dragging his canoe", known to whites as Dragging Canoe, was a Cherokee war chief who led a band of Cherokee against colonists and United States settlers...

. Many other tribes were similarly divided.

Both immigrant and native noncombatants suffered greatly during the war, and villages and food supplies were frequently destroyed during military expeditions. The largest of these expeditions was the Sullivan Expedition
Sullivan Expedition
The Sullivan Expedition, also known as the Sullivan-Clinton Expedition, was an American campaign led by Major General John Sullivan and Brigadier General James Clinton against Loyalists and the four nations of the Iroquois who had sided with the British in the American Revolutionary War.The...

 of 1779, which razed more than 40 Iroquois villages.

When the British made peace with the Americans in the Treaty of Paris (1783)
Treaty of Paris (1783)
The Treaty of Paris, signed on September 3, 1783, ended the American Revolutionary War between Great Britain on the one hand and the United States of America and its allies on the other. The other combatant nations, France, Spain and the Dutch Republic had separate agreements; for details of...

, they ceded a vast amount of Native American territory (without the consent of the indigenous peoples) to the United States. The United States treated the Native Americans who had fought with the British as enemy allies, a conquered people who had lost their land. The federal government of the United States
Federal government of the United States
The federal government of the United States is the national government of the constitutional republic of fifty states that is the United States of America. The federal government comprises three distinct branches of government: a legislative, an executive and a judiciary. These branches and...

 was eager to expand, and the national government did so by purchasing Native American land in treaties and through warfare.

Chickamauga Wars

These frontier conflicts were almost non stop, beginning with Cherokee involvement in the American Revolutionary War and continuing through late 1794. The so-called "Chickamauga Cherokee", later called "Lower Cherokee," were those, at first from the Overhill Towns
Overhill Cherokee
The term Overhill Cherokee refers to the former Cherokee settlements located in what is now Tennessee in the southeastern United States. The name was given by 18th century European traders and explorers who had to cross the Appalachian Mountains to reach these settlements when traveling from...

 and later from the Lower Towns, Valley Towns, and Middle Towns, who followed the war leader Dragging Canoe southwest, first to the Chickamauga (Chattanooga, Tennessee
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Chattanooga is the fourth-largest city in the US state of Tennessee , with a population of 169,887. It is the seat of Hamilton County...

) area, then to the Five Lower Towns. There they were joined by groups of Muskogee
Creek people
The Muscogee , also known as the Creek or Creeks, are a Native American people traditionally from the southeastern United States. Mvskoke is their name in traditional spelling. The modern Muscogee live primarily in Oklahoma, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida...

, white Tories
Tory
Toryism is a traditionalist and conservative political philosophy which grew out of the Cavalier faction in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. It is a prominent ideology in the politics of the United Kingdom, but also features in parts of The Commonwealth, particularly in Canada...

, runaway slaves, and renegade Chickasaw
Chickasaw
The Chickasaw are Native American people originally from the region that would become the Southeastern United States...

, as well as by more than a hundred Shawnee
Shawnee
The Shawnee, Shaawanwaki, Shaawanooki and Shaawanowi lenaweeki, are an Algonquian-speaking people native to North America. Historically they inhabited the areas of Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, Western Maryland, Kentucky, Indiana, and Pennsylvania...

, in exchange for whom a hundred Chickamauga-Cherokee warriors migrated north, along with another seventy a few years later. The primary objects of attack were the colonies along the Watauga
Watauga River
The Watauga River is a large stream of western North Carolina and East Tennessee. It is 60 miles long with its headwaters on the slopes of Grandfather Mountain and Peak Mountain in Watauga County, North Carolina.-Hydrography:...

, Holston
Holston River
The Holston River is a major river system of southwestern Virginia and east Tennessee. The three major forks of the Holston rise in southwestern Virginia and have their confluence near Kingsport, Tennessee. The North Fork flows southwest from Sharon Springs in Bland County, Virginia...

, and Nolichucky
Nolichucky River
The Nolichucky River is a major stream draining the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina and east Tennessee. The river is long.-Hydrography:...

 rivers, and in Carter's Valley in upper East Tennessee
East Tennessee
East Tennessee is a name given to approximately the eastern third of the U.S. state of Tennessee, one of the three Grand Divisions of Tennessee defined in state law. East Tennessee consists of 33 counties, 30 located within the Eastern Time Zone and three counties in the Central Time Zone, namely...

, as well as the settlements along the Cumberland River
Cumberland River
The Cumberland River is a waterway in the Southern United States. It is long. It starts in Harlan County in far southeastern Kentucky between Pine and Cumberland mountains, flows through southern Kentucky, crosses into northern Tennessee, and then curves back up into western Kentucky before...

 beginning with Fort Nashborough
Fort Nashborough
Fort Nashborough was the stockade for the settlement that became the city of Nashville, Tennessee, USA. A reconstruction, maintained by Nashville Parks and Recreation today stands on the banks of the Cumberland River near the site of the original fort....

 in 1780, even into Kentucky
Kentucky
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...

, plus against the colonies, later states, of Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

, North Carolina
North Carolina
North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina contains 100 counties. Its capital is Raleigh, and its largest city is Charlotte...

, South Carolina
South Carolina
South Carolina is a state in the Deep South of the United States that borders Georgia to the south, North Carolina to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence...

, and Georgia
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

. The scope of attacks by the Chickamauga/Lower Cherokee and their allies ranged from quick raids by small war parties of a handful of warriors to large campaigns by four or five hundred, and once over a thousand, warriors. The Upper Muskogee under Dragging Canoe's close ally Alexander McGillivray
Alexander McGillivray
Alexander McGillivray, also known as Hoboi-Hili-Miko , was a principal chief of the Upper Creek towns from 1782. Before that he had created an alliance between the Creek and the British during the American Revolution...

 frequently joined their campaigns as well as operated separately, and the settlements on the Cumberland came under attack from the Chickasaw, Shawnee from the north, and Delaware. Campaigns by Dragging Canoe and his successor, John Watts
John Watts (Cherokee chief)
John Watts, or Kunokeski, also known as Young Tassel, was one of the leaders of the Chickamauga during the Chickamauga Wars, particularly after the murder of his uncle, Old Tassel, by marauding frontiersmen firing upon delegates at a peace conference in 1788...

, were frequently conducted in conjunction with campaigns in the Northwest
Northwest Territory
The Territory Northwest of the River Ohio, more commonly known as the Northwest Territory, was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from July 13, 1787, until March 1, 1803, when the southeastern portion of the territory was admitted to the Union as the state of Ohio...

. The response by the colonists were usually attacks in which Cherokee towns in peaceful areas were completely destroyed, though usually without great loss of life on either side. The wars continued until the Treaty of Tellico Blockhouse
Tellico Blockhouse
The Tellico Blockhouse was an early American outpost located along the Little Tennessee River in Vonore, Monroe County, Tennessee. Completed in 1794, the blockhouse operated until 1807 with the purpose of keeping the peace between nearby Overhill Cherokee towns and early Euro-American settlers in...

 in November 1794.

The Chickamauga Wars were in reality a continuation of what some historians call the Second Cherokee War, fought between the whole Cherokee nation and the colonies as allies of the British
Kingdom of Great Britain
The former Kingdom of Great Britain, sometimes described as the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain', That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall upon the 1st May next ensuing the date hereof, and forever after, be United into One Kingdom by the Name of GREAT BRITAIN. was a sovereign...

 in the years 1776 and 1777, waged by those who did not wish to stop resisting frontier encroachments.

Northwest Indian War

In 1787, the Northwest Ordinance
Northwest Ordinance
The Northwest Ordinance was an act of the Congress of the Confederation of the United States, passed July 13, 1787...

 officially organized the Northwest Territory
Northwest Territory
The Territory Northwest of the River Ohio, more commonly known as the Northwest Territory, was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from July 13, 1787, until March 1, 1803, when the southeastern portion of the territory was admitted to the Union as the state of Ohio...

 for white settlement. American settlers began pouring into the region. Violence erupted as indigenous tribes resisted this encroachment, and so the administration of President George Washington
George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...

 sent armed expeditions into the area to suppress native resistance. However, in the Northwest Indian War
Northwest Indian War
The Northwest Indian War , also known as Little Turtle's War and by various other names, was a war fought between the United States and a confederation of numerous American Indian tribes for control of the Northwest Territory...

, a pan-tribal confederacy led by Blue Jacket
Blue Jacket
Blue Jacket or Weyapiersenwah was a war chief of the Shawnee people, known for his militant defense of Shawnee lands in the Ohio Country...

 (Shawnee), Little Turtle (Miami), Buckongahelas
Buckongahelas
Buckongahelas was a regionally and nationally renowned Lenape chief, councilor and warrior. He was active from the days of the French and Indian War through the Northwest Indian Wars, after the United States achieved independence and settlers encroached on territory beyond the Appalachian...

 (Lenape), and Egushawa
Egushawa
Egushawa , also spelled Egouch-e-ouay, Agushaway, Agashawa, Negushwa, and many other variants, was a war chief and principal political chief of the Ottawa tribe of North American Indians. His name is loosely translated as "The Gatherer" or "Brings Together"...

 (Ottawa) crushed armies led by Generals Josiah Harmar
Josiah Harmar
Josiah Harmar was an officer in the United States Army during the American Revolution and the Northwest Indian War. He was the senior officer in the Army for seven years....

 and Arthur St. Clair
Arthur St. Clair
Arthur St. Clair was an American soldier and politician. Born in Scotland, he served in the British Army during the French and Indian War before settling in Pennsylvania, where he held local office...

. General St. Clair's defeat was the most severe loss ever inflicted upon an American army by Native Americans. The Americans attempted to negotiate a settlement, but Blue Jacket and the Shawnee-led confederacy insisted on a boundary line that the Americans found unacceptable, and so a new expedition led by General Anthony Wayne
Anthony Wayne
Anthony Wayne was a United States Army general and statesman. Wayne adopted a military career at the outset of the American Revolutionary War, where his military exploits and fiery personality quickly earned him a promotion to the rank of brigadier general and the sobriquet of Mad Anthony.-Early...

 was dispatched. Wayne's army defeated the Indian confederacy at the Battle of Fallen Timbers
Battle of Fallen Timbers
The Battle of Fallen Timbers was the final battle of the Northwest Indian War, a struggle between American Indian tribes affiliated with the Western Confederacy and the United States for control of the Northwest Territory...

 in 1794. The Indians had hoped for British assistance; when that was not forthcoming, the indigenous people were compelled to sign the Treaty of Greenville
Treaty of Greenville
The Treaty of Greenville was signed at Fort Greenville , on August 3, 1795, between a coalition of Native Americans & Frontiers men, known as the Western Confederacy, and the United States following the Native American loss at the Battle of Fallen Timbers. It put an end to the Northwest Indian War...

 in 1795, which ceded modern-day Ohio and part of Indiana to the United States.

Tecumseh, the Creek War, and the War of 1812

The United States continued to gain title to Native American land after the Treaty of Greenville, at a rate that created alarm in Indian communities. In 1800, William Henry Harrison
William Henry Harrison
William Henry Harrison was the ninth President of the United States , an American military officer and politician, and the first president to die in office. He was 68 years, 23 days old when elected, the oldest president elected until Ronald Reagan in 1980, and last President to be born before the...

 became governor of the Indiana Territory
Indiana Territory
The Territory of Indiana was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from July 4, 1800, until November 7, 1816, when the southern portion of the territory was admitted to the Union as the state of Indiana....

 and, under the direction of President Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

, pursued an aggressive policy of obtaining titles to Indian lands. Two Shawnee brothers, Tecumseh
Tecumseh
Tecumseh was a Native American leader of the Shawnee and a large tribal confederacy which opposed the United States during Tecumseh's War and the War of 1812...

 and Tenskwatawa
Tenskwatawa
Tenskwatawa, was a Native American religious and political leader of the Shawnee tribe, known as The Prophet or the Shawnee Prophet. He was the brother of Tecumseh, leader of the Shawnee...

, organized Tecumseh's War
Tecumseh's War
Tecumseh's War or Tecumseh's Rebellion are terms sometimes used to describe a conflict in the Old Northwest between the United States and an American Indian confederacy led by the Shawnee leader Tecumseh...

, another pan-tribal resistance to American expansion.

While Tecumseh was in the South attempting to recruit allies among the Creeks, Cherokee
Cherokee
The Cherokee are a Native American people historically settled in the Southeastern United States . Linguistically, they are part of the Iroquoian language family...

s, and Choctaw
Choctaw
The Choctaw are a Native American people originally from the Southeastern United States...

s, Harrison marched against the Indian confederacy, defeating Tenskwatawa and his followers at the Battle of Tippecanoe
Battle of Tippecanoe
The Battle of Tippecanoe was fought on November 7, 1811, between United States forces led by Governor William Henry Harrison of the Indiana Territory and Native American warriors associated with the Shawnee leader Tecumseh. Tecumseh and his brother Tenskwatawa were leaders of a confederacy of...

 in 1811. The Americans hoped that the victory would end the militant resistance, but Tecumseh instead chose to ally openly with the British, who were soon at war with the Americans in the War of 1812
War of 1812
The War of 1812 was a military conflict fought between the forces of the United States of America and those of the British Empire. The Americans declared war in 1812 for several reasons, including trade restrictions because of Britain's ongoing war with France, impressment of American merchant...

.

Like the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812 was also a massive war on the western front. Encouraged by Tecumseh, the Creek War
Creek War
The Creek War , also known as the Red Stick War and the Creek Civil War, began as a civil war within the Creek nation...

 (1813–1814), which began as a civil war
Civil war
A civil war is a war between organized groups within the same nation state or republic, or, less commonly, between two countries created from a formerly-united nation state....

 within the Creek (Muscogee) nation, became part of the larger struggle against American expansion. Although the war with the British was ultimately a stalemate, the United States was more successful on the western front. Tecumseh was killed by Harrison's army at the Battle of the Thames
Battle of the Thames
The Battle of the Thames, also known as the Battle of Moraviantown, was a decisive American victory in the War of 1812. It took place on October 5, 1813, near present-day Chatham, Ontario in Upper Canada...

, ending the resistance in the Old Northwest. The Creeks who fought against the United States were defeated. The First Seminole War in 1818 was in some ways a continuation of the Creek War and resulted in the transfer of Florida to the United States in 1819 from Spain.

As in the Revolution and the Northwest Indian War, the British abandoned their Indian allies to the Americans after the War of 1812. This proved to be a major turning point in the Indian Wars, marking the last time that Native Americans would turn to a foreign power for assistance against the United States.

Removal era wars

Numerous Indian removal treaties were signed. Most American Indians reluctantly but peacefully complied with the terms of the removal treaties, often with bitter resignation. Some groups, however, went to war to resist the implementation of these treaties, e.g., two short wars (the Black Hawk War
Black Hawk War
The Black Hawk War was a brief conflict fought in 1832 between the United States and Native Americans headed by Black Hawk, a Sauk leader. The war erupted soon after Black Hawk and a group of Sauks, Meskwakis, and Kickapoos known as the "British Band" crossed the Mississippi River into the U.S....

 of 1832 and the Creek War of 1836
Creek War of 1836
The Creek War of 1836 was a conflict fought between the Muscogee Creek people and non-Native land speculators and squatters in Alabama in 1836....

), as well as the long and costly Second Seminole War
Second Seminole War
The Second Seminole War, also known as the Florida War, was a conflict from 1835 to 1842 in Florida between various groups of Native Americans collectively known as Seminoles and the United States, part of a series of conflicts called the Seminole Wars...

 (1835–1842).

Second Seminole War

American settlers began to push into Florida, which was now an American territory and had some of the most fertile lands in the nation. Some scholars have noted that covetousness, racism, and claims of "self-defense" against Indian raids (real or imagined) became the order of the day in the 1820s, and played a major part in the settlers' determination to "rid Florida of Indians once and for all". To compound the tension, runaway black slaves sometimes found refuge in Seminole camps. The inevitable result was clashes between white settlers and the Native Americans already residing there. Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson was the seventh President of the United States . Based in frontier Tennessee, Jackson was a politician and army general who defeated the Creek Indians at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend , and the British at the Battle of New Orleans...

 sought to alleviate this problem by signing the Indian Removal Act
Indian Removal Act
The Indian Removal Act was signed into law by President Andrew Jackson on May 28, 1830.The Removal Act was strongly supported in the South, where states were eager to gain access to lands inhabited by the Five Civilized Tribes. In particular, Georgia, the largest state at that time, was involved in...

, which stipulated forced relocation of Native Americans (if necessary) out of Florida. The Seminoles, led by such powerful leaders as Aripeka (Sam Jones), Micanopy
Micanopy
Micanopy , also known as Micco-Nuppe, Michenopah, Miccanopa, Mico-an-opa and Sint-chakkee , was the leading chief of the Seminoles who led the tribe during the Second Seminole War...

, and Osceola
Osceola
Osceola, also known as Billy Powell , became an influential leader with the Seminole in Florida. He was of Creek, Scots-Irish and English parentage, and had migrated to Florida with his mother after the defeat of the Creek in 1814.Osceola led a small band of warriors in the Seminole resistance...

, had little or no intention of leaving their ancestral homelands and quickly retaliated against settler theft, encroachment and attacks on their camps. This led to what is known as the Second Seminole War
Second Seminole War
The Second Seminole War, also known as the Florida War, was a conflict from 1835 to 1842 in Florida between various groups of Native Americans collectively known as Seminoles and the United States, part of a series of conflicts called the Seminole Wars...

, the longest and most costly war ever waged against Indians.

The Seminoles' continued resistance to relocation led Florida to prepare for war. The St. Augustine Militia asked the U.S. War Department for the loan of 500 musket
Musket
A musket is a muzzle-loaded, smooth bore long gun, fired from the shoulder. Muskets were designed for use by infantry. A soldier armed with a musket had the designation musketman or musketeer....

s. Five hundred volunteers were mobilized under Brig. Gen. Richard K. Call
Richard K. Call
Richard Keith Call was the third and fifth territorial governor of Florida.Named after his uncle, a Revolutionary War hero, he was born in Pittsfield, Prince George County, Virginia. In 1813 he left school to take part in the Creek War. He came favorably to the attention of General Andrew Jackson,...

. Indian war parties raided farms and settlements, and families fled to forts, large towns, or out of the territory altogether. A war party led by Osceola captured a Florida militia supply train, killing eight of its guards and wounding six others. Most of the goods taken were recovered by the militia in another fight a few days later. Sugar plantations along the Atlantic coast south of St. Augustine
St. Augustine, Florida
St. Augustine is a city in the northeast section of Florida and the county seat of St. Johns County, Florida, United States. Founded in 1565 by Spanish explorer and admiral Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, it is the oldest continuously occupied European-established city and port in the continental United...

 were destroyed, with many of the slaves on the plantations joining the Seminoles.

The U.S. Army had 11 companies (about 550 soldiers) stationed in Florida. Fort King
Fort King
Fort King was a United States military fort in north central Florida. It was named after Colonel William King, commander of Florida's Fourth Infantry and the first governor of the provisional West Florida region. The fort was built in 1827, and became the genesis of the city of Ocala...

 (Ocala) had only one company of soldiers, and it was feared that they might be overrun by the Seminoles. Three companies were stationed at Fort Brooke
Fort Brooke
Fort Brooke was a historical military post situated on the east bank of the Hillsborough River in present-day Tampa, Florida. The Tampa Convention Center currently stands at the site.-Fort Brooke as a military outpost:...

 (Tampa), with another two expected momentarily, so the army decided to send two companies to Fort King. On December 23, 1835, the two companies, totaling 110 men, left Fort Brooke under the command of Major Francis L. Dade
Francis L. Dade
Francis Langhorne Dade was a Major in the U.S. 4th Infantry Regiment, United States Army, during the Second Seminole War. Dade was killed in a battle with Seminole Indians that came to be known as the "Dade Massacre"...

. Seminoles shadowed the marching soldiers for five days. On December 28, the Seminoles ambushed the soldiers, and wiped out the command. Only three men survived, and one, Edwin De Courcey, was hunted down and killed by a Seminole the next day. Two survivors, Ransome Clarke and Joseph Sprague, returned to Fort Brooke. Only Clarke, who died of his wounds later, left any account of the battle from the army's perspective. Joseph Sprague was unharmed and lived quite a while longer, but was not able to give an account of the battle because he had sought immediate refuge in a nearby pond. The Seminoles lost just three men, with five wounded. On the same day as the Dade Massacre
Dade Massacre
The "Dade Massacre" was an 1835 defeat for the United States Army that started the Second Seminole War, which lasted until 1842.On December 23, 1835, two U.S. companies of 110 troops under Major Francis L. Dade departed from Fort Brooke , heading up the King Highway on a resupply and reinforce...

, Osceola and his followers shot and killed from ambush Wiley Thompson and six others outside of Fort King.

Major Ethan Allen Hitchcock
Ethan A. Hitchcock (general)
Ethan Allen Hitchcock was a career United States Army officer and author who had War Department assignments in Washington, D.C., during the American Civil War, in which he served as a major general.-Early life:...

 was subsequently among those who found the remains of the Dade party in February. In his journal he accounted for the discovery, then vented his bitter discontent with the conflict: "The government is in the wrong, and this is the chief cause of the persevering opposition of the Indians, who have nobly defended their country against our attempt to enforce a fraudulent treaty. The natives used every means to avoid a war, but were forced into it by the tyranny of our government."

On December 29, General Clinch left Fort Drane (recently established on Clinch's plantation, about twenty miles (32 km) northwest of Fort King) with 750 soldiers, including 500 volunteers on an enlistment due to end January 1, 1836. The group was traveling to a Seminole stronghold called the Cove of the Withlacoochee, which is now known as Lake Tsala Apopka, an area of many lakes on the southwest side of the Withlacoochee River. When they reached the river, the soldiers could not find the ford, so Clinch ferried his regular troops across the river in a single canoe they had found. Once they were across and had relaxed, the Seminoles attacked. The troops only saved themselves by fixing bayonets and charging the Seminoles, at the cost of four dead and 59 wounded. The militia provided cover as the army troops then withdrew across the river.

In another key skirmish known as the Battle of Lake Okeechobee
Battle of Lake Okeechobee
The Battle of Lake Okeechobee was one of the major battles of the Second Seminole War. It was fought between 800 troops of the 1st, 4th, and 6th Infantry Regiments and 132 Missouri Volunteers and between 380 and 480 Seminoles led by Billy Bowlegs, Abiaca and Alligator on December 25, 1837...

, Colonel Zachary Taylor
Zachary Taylor
Zachary Taylor was the 12th President of the United States and an American military leader. Initially uninterested in politics, Taylor nonetheless ran as a Whig in the 1848 presidential election, defeating Lewis Cass...

 saw the first major action of the campaign. Leaving Fort Gardiner on the upper Kissimmee
Kissimmee River
The Kissimmee River is a river in south-central Florida, United States.-Course:The Kissimmee River arises in Osceola County as the outflow from East Lake Tohopekaliga, passing through Lake Tohopekaliga, Lake Cypress, Lake Hatchineha and Lake Kissimmee...

 with 1,000 men on December 19, Taylor headed towards Lake Okeechobee
Lake Okeechobee
Lake Okeechobee , locally referred to as The Lake or The Big O, is the largest freshwater lake in the state of Florida. It is the seventh largest freshwater lake in the United States and the second largest freshwater lake contained entirely within the lower 48 states...

. In the first two days ninety Seminoles surrendered. On the third day Taylor stopped to build Fort Basinger, where he left his sick and enough men to guard the Seminoles that had surrendered. Three days later, on Christmas Day, 1837, Taylor's column caught up with the main body of the Seminoles on the north shore of Lake Okeechobee.

The Seminoles, led by Alligator, Sam Jones, and the recently escaped Coacoochee
Wild Cat (Seminole)
Wild Cat, born Coacoochee or Cowacoochee , was a leading Seminole chieftain during the later stages of the Second Seminole War as well as the nephew of Micanopy....

, were well positioned in a hammock surrounded by sawgrass. The ground was thick mud, and sawgrass easily cuts and burns the skin. Taylor had about 800 men, while the Seminoles numbered fewer than 400. Taylor sent in the Missouri volunteers first, moving his troops squarely into the center of the swamp. His plan was to make a direct attack rather than encircle the Indians. All his men were on foot. Missouri volunteers formed the first line. As soon as they came within range, the Indians opened with heavy fire. The volunteers broke, and their commander, Colonel Gentry, fatally wounded, was unable to rally them. They fled back across the swamp. The fighting in the sawgrass was deadliest for five companies of the Sixth Infantry; every officer but one, and most of their non-commissioned officers, were either killed or wounded. When that part of the regiment retired a short distance to re-form, they found only four men of these companies unharmed. Only about a dozen Seminoles had been killed in the battle. Nevertheless, the Battle of Lake Okeechobee was hailed as a great victory for Taylor and the army. Twenty-six U.S. soldiers, including the majority of Taylor's officers and NCOs, were killed, with 112 wounded, compared to only 11 Seminoles killed and 14 wounded. No Seminoles were captured, although Taylor did capture 100 ponies and 600 head of cattle.

By 1842, the war was winding down, and most Seminoles, save a few hundred diehards, had left Florida for Oklahoma. Estimates of the true cost of the Seminole War range from $30,000,000 to $40,000,000. But no analysis of the actual cost has been made. Congress appropriated funds for the "suppression of Indian hostilities", but the costs of the Creek War of 1836
Creek War of 1836
The Creek War of 1836 was a conflict fought between the Muscogee Creek people and non-Native land speculators and squatters in Alabama in 1836....

 are included in that. An inquiry into extravagance in naval operations found that the navy had spent about $511,000 on the war. The investigation did find questionable expenditures. Among other things, while the army had bought dugout canoes for $10 to $15 apiece, the navy spent an average of $226 per canoe. The number of army, navy and marine regulars who served in Florida is given as 10,169. About 30,000 militiamen and volunteers also served in the war.

Sources agree that the U.S. Army officially recorded 1,466 deaths in the Second Seminole War, mostly from disease. The number killed in action is less clear. Mahon reports 328 regular army killed in action, while Missall reports that Seminoles killed 269 officers and men. Almost half of those deaths occurred in the Dade Massacre, Battle of Lake Okeechobee
Battle of Lake Okeechobee
The Battle of Lake Okeechobee was one of the major battles of the Second Seminole War. It was fought between 800 troops of the 1st, 4th, and 6th Infantry Regiments and 132 Missouri Volunteers and between 380 and 480 Seminoles led by Billy Bowlegs, Abiaca and Alligator on December 25, 1837...

 and Harney Massacre. Similarly, Mahon reports 69 deaths for the navy, while Missal reports 41 for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, but adds others may have died after being sent out of Florida as incurable. Mahon and the Florida Board of State Institutions agree that 55 volunteer officers and men were killed by the Seminoles, while Missall says the number is unknown. There is no figure for how many militiamen and volunteers died of disease or accident, however. The number of white civilians and Seminoles killed is also uncertain. A northern newspaper carried a report that more than eighty civilians were killed by Indians in Florida in 1839. Nobody kept a cumulative account of the number of Indians killed, or who died of starvation or other privations caused by the war. The Indians who were shipped west did not fare well either. By the end of 1843, 3,824 Indians had been shipped from Florida to what became the Indian Territory, but in 1844 only 3,136 remained. As of 1962 there were only 2,343 Seminoles in Oklahoma and perhaps some 1,500 in Florida.

West of the Mississippi (1811–1923)

Indian Wars
West of the Mississippi
  • Battle of Woody Point
    Battle of Woody Point
    The Battle of Woody Point was an incident involving the Tla-o-qui-aht Nootka natives of the Pacific Northwest and a United States registered merchant ship...

     (1811)
  • Arikara War
    Arikara War
    The Arikara War took place in August of 1823 between the United States and the Arikara native Americans near the Missouri River, in present-day South Dakota. Arikara warriors had previously attacked a trapping expedition traveling on the river. The United States responded with forces of 230...

     (1823)
  • Texas–Indian Wars (1836–1877)
    • Comanche Wars
      Comanche Wars
      The Comanche Wars were forays by bands of Comanche native Americans along the Mexican and Texan frontier. Some of their forays extended well down into Mexico. The Apache conducted similar forays in the vicinity of southern Arizona...

       (1836–1877)
    • Antelope Hills Expedition
      Antelope Hills Expedition
      The Antelope Hills Expedition was a campaign from January 1858 to May 1858 by the Texas Rangers and members of other allied native American tribes against Comanche and Kiowa villages in the Comancheria...

       (1858)
    • Comanche War
      Comanche Campaign
      The Comanche Campaign, or the Comanche War, from 1867 to 1875, was a series of conflicts that took place throughout the border regions of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, and Texas, between the Arapaho, Comanche, Kiowa, Sioux and Cheyenne tribes of native Americans against the United States Army...

       (1868–1874)
    • Red River War
      Red River War
      The Red River War was a military campaign launched by the United States Army in 1874, as part of the Comanche War, to remove the Comanche, Kiowa, Southern Cheyenne, and Arapaho Native American tribes from the Southern Plains and forcibly relocate them to reservations in Indian Territory...

       (1874–1875)
    • Buffalo Hunters' War
      Buffalo Hunters' War
      The Buffalo Hunters' War, or the Staked Plains War, occurred in 1877. Approximately 170 Comanche warriors and their families led by Black Horse left the Indian Territory in December, 1876, for the Llano Estacado of Texas...

       (1876–1877)
  • Cayuse War
    Cayuse War
    The Cayuse War was an armed conflict that took place in the Northwestern United States from 1847 to 1855 between the Cayuse people of the region and the United States Government and local Euro-American settlers...

     (1848–1855)
  • Apache Wars
    Apache Wars
    The Apache Wars were a series of armed conflicts between the United States and Apaches fought in the Southwest from 1849 to 1886, though other minor hostilities continued until as late as 1924. The Confederate Army participated in the wars during the early 1860s, for instance in Texas, before being...

     (1849–1924)
    • Jicarilla War
      Jicarilla War
      The Jicarilla War began in 1849 and was fought between the Jicarilla Apaches and the United States military in New Mexico. Ute warriors also played a significant role in the conflict as they were allied with the Jicarillas. The war started when the Apaches and Utes began raiding against settlers...

       (1849–1855)
    • Chiricahua Wars (1860–1886)
    • Tonto War
      Yavapai War
      The Yavapai War, also known as the Tonto War, or the Apache War, was an armed conflict in the United States from 1871 to 1875 against renegade Yavapai and Western Apache bands of Arizona. It began in the aftermath of the Camp Grant Massacre, on April 28, 1871, in which nearly 150 Pinal and Aravaipa...

       (1871–1875)
    • Renegade Period
      Renegade period of the Apache Wars
      The Renegade period of the Apache Wars refers to the conflicts between the United States and the Apache people who left the reservation system between 1879 and 1886, and renegade Apaches who lived in northern Mexico into the 1920s. Chief Victorio and the medicine man Geronimo were perhaps the best...

       (1879–1924)
    • Victorio's War
      Victorio's War
      Victorios War, or the Victorio Campaign, was an armed conflict between the Apache followers of Chief Victorio, the United States, and Mexico beginning in September 1879. Following his escape from the San Carlos Indian Reservation in southeastern Arizona, Victorio led a guerilla war across the...

       (1879–1880)
    • Geronimo's War (1881–1886)
  • Yuma War
    Yuma War
    The Yuma War was the name given to a series of United States military operations conducted in southern California and what is today southwestern Arizona from 1850 to 1853. The Yumans were the primary opponent of the United States Army, though engagements were fought between the Americans and other...

     (1850–1853)
  • Ute Wars (1850–1923)
    • Provo War
      Fort Utah
      Fort Utah was the original settlement at Provo, Utah, and was established March 12, 1849. The original settlers were President John S. Higbee, and about 30 families or 150 persons that were sent from Salt Lake City to Provo by President Brigham Young...

       (1850)
    • Walker War (1853–1854)
    • Tintic War
      Tintic War
      The Tintic War was a short series of skirmishes occurring in February 1856 in the Tintic and Cedar Valleys of Utah, occurring after the conclusion of the Walker War. It was named after a subchief of the Ute and involved several clashes between settlers and natives, mostly over the natives' theft of...

       (1856)
    • Black Hawk's War
      Black Hawk War (Utah)
      The Black Hawk War, or Black Hawk's War, from 1865 to 1872, is the name of the estimated 150 military engagement between Mormon settlers in the Four Corners region and members of the Ute, Paiute, Apache and Navajo tribes, led by a local Ute chief, Antonga Black Hawk...

       (1865–1872)
    • White River War
      White River War
      The White River War, also known as the Ute War, or the Ute Campaign, was fought between the White River Utes and the United States Army in 1879, resulting in the forced removal of the White River Utes and the Uncompahgre Utes from Colorado, and the reduction in the Southern Utes' land holdings...

       (1879)
    • Ute War (1887)
    • Bluff War
      Bluff War
      The Bluff War, also known as Posey War of 1915, or the Polk and Posse War, was one of the last armed conflicts between the United States and native Americans. It began in March of 1914 and was the result of an incident between a Utah shepherd and Tse-ne-gat, the son of the Paiute Chief Polk...

       (1914-1915)
    • Bluff Skirmish (1921)
    • Posey War
      Posey War
      The Posey War, also known as the Last Indian Uprising and several other names, occurred in March of 1923 and may be considered the final Indian War in American history. Though it was a minor conflict, it involved a mass exodus of Ute and Paiute native Americans from their land around Bluff, Utah to...

       (1923)
  • Sioux Wars
    Sioux Wars
    The Sioux Wars were a series of conflicts between the United States and various subgroups of the Sioux people that occurred in the latter half of the 19th century...

     (1854–1891)
    • First Sioux War
      Grattan massacre
      The Grattan Massacre was the opening conflict of the First Sioux War, fought between United States Army and Lakota Sioux warriors on August 19, 1854. It occurred east of Fort Laramie, Nebraska Territory, in present-day Goshen County, Wyoming...

       (1854)
    • Dakota War
      Dakota War of 1862
      The Dakota War of 1862, also known as the Sioux Uprising, was an armed conflict between the United States and several bands of the eastern Sioux. It began on August 17, 1862, along the Minnesota River in southwest Minnesota...

       (1862)
    • Colorado War
      Colorado War
      The Colorado War was fought from 1863 to 1865 and was an Indian War between the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes, against white settlers and militia in the Colorado Territory and adjacent regions...

       (1863–1865)
    • Powder River War (1865)
    • Red Cloud's War
      Red Cloud's War
      Red Cloud's War was an armed conflict between the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho and the United States in the Wyoming Territory and the Montana Territory from 1866 to 1868. The war was fought over control of the Powder River Country in north central present day Wyoming...

       (1866–1868)
    • Great Sioux War (1876–1877)
    • Ghost Dance War
      Ghost Dance War
      The Ghost Dance War was an armed conflict in the United States which occurred between Native Americans and the United States government from 1890 until 1891. It involved the Wounded Knee Massacre wherein the 7th U.S. Cavalry massacred 153 Lakota Sioux, including women, children, and other...

       (1890–1891)
  • Rogue River Wars
    Rogue River Wars
    The Rogue River Wars was an armed conflict between the US Army, local militias and volunteers, and the Native American tribes commonly grouped under the designation of Rogue River Indians, in the Rogue River Valley area of what today is southern Oregon in 1855–56...

     (1855–1856)
  • Yakima War
    Yakima War
    The Yakima War was a conflict between the United States and the Yakama, a Sahaptian-speaking people on the Northwest Plateau, then Washington Territory and now the southern interior of Eastern Washington, from 1855 to 1858.- Naming :...

     (1855–1858)
    • Puget Sound War
      Puget Sound War
      The Puget Sound War was an armed conflict that took place in the Puget Sound area of the state of Washington in 1855–56, between the United States Military, local militias and members of the Native American tribes of the Nisqually, Muckleshoot, Puyallup, and Klickitat...

       (1855–1856)
    • Coeur d'Alene War (1858)
  • Mohave War
    Mohave War
    The Mohave War was an armed conflict between the Mohave people against the United States from 1858 to 1859. With the California Gold Rush of 1849, thousands of American settlers headed west through Mohave country and into California. The influx of migrants passing through, combined with simple...

     (1858–1859)
  • Navajo Wars (1858–1864)
  • Paiute War
    Paiute War
    The Paiute War, also known as the Pyramid Lake War, Washoe Indian War and the Pah Ute War, was an armed conflict between Northern Paiutes allied with the Shoshone and the Bannock against the United States. It took place in 1860 in the vicinity of Pyramid Lake in the Utah Territory, now within...

     (1860)
  • Yavapai Wars
    Yavapai Wars
    The Yavapai Wars, or the Tonto Wars, were a series of armed conflicts between the Yavapai and Tonto tribes against the United States in Arizona. The period began, no later than 1861, with the arrival of American settlers on Yavapai and Tonto land...

     (1861–1875)
  • Snake War
    Snake War
    The Snake War was a war fought by the United States of America against the "Snake Indians", the settlers' term for Northern Paiute, Bannock and western Shoshone bands who lived along the Snake River. Fighting took place in the states of Oregon, Nevada, and California, and in Idaho Territory...

     (1864–1869)
  • Hualapai War
    Hualapai War (1865-1870)
    The Hualapai War, or Walapai War, was an armed conflict fought from 1865 to 1870 between the Hualapai native Americans and the United States in Arizona Territory. The Yavapai also participated on the side of the Hualapai and Mohave scouts were employed by the United States Army...

     (1865–1870)
  • Modoc War
    Modoc War
    The Modoc War, or Modoc Campaign , was an armed conflict between the Native American Modoc tribe and the United States Army in southern Oregon and northern California from 1872–1873. The Modoc War was the last of the Indian Wars to occur in California or Oregon...

     (1872–1873)
  • Nez Perce War
    Nez Perce War
    The Nez Perce War was an armed conflict between the Nez Perce and the United States government fought in 1877 as part of the American Indian Wars. After a series of battles in which both the U.S. Army and native people sustained significant casualties, the Nez Perce surrendered and were relocated...

     (1877)
  • Bannock War
    Bannock War
    The Bannock War was a series of conflicts in 1878 between various Bannock, Northern Shoshone and Paiute tribes against the United States.- Background :...

     (1878)
  • Crow War
    Crow War
    The Crow War, also known as the Crow Rebellion, or the Crow Uprising, was the only armed conflict between the United States and the Crow tribe of Montana, and the last Indian War fought in the state...

     (1887)
  • Bannock Uprising
    Bannock War of 1895
    The Bannock War of 1895, or the Bannock Uprising, refers to a minor conflict centered around Jackson's Hole, Wyoming, in the United States. During the early 1890s Wyoming passed a state law prohibiting the killing of elk for their teeth, which led to the arrests of several Bannock hunters in 1895...

     (1895)
  • Yaqui Uprising
    Yaqui Uprising
    The Yaqui Uprising, or the Nogales Uprising, was an armed conflict that took place in the Mexican state of Sonora and the American state of Arizona. In February of 1896 the Mexican revolutionary Lauro Aguirre drafted a plan to overthrow the government of President Porfirio Diaz...

     (1896)
  • Battle of Sugar Point
    Battle of Sugar Point
    The Battle of Sugar Point, or the Battle of Leech Lake, was fought on October 5, 1898 between the 3rd U.S. Infantry and members of the Pillager Band of Chippewa Indians in a failed attempt to apprehend Pillager Ojibwe Bugonaygeshig , as the result of a dispute with Indian Service officials on the...

     (1898)
  • Crazy Snake Rebellion
    Crazy Snake Rebellion
    The Crazy Snake Rebellion, also known as the Smoked Meat Rebellion or Crazy Snake's War, was an incident in 1909 that at times was viewed as a war between the Creek people and American settlers. It should not be confused with an earlier, bloodless, conflict in 1901 involving much of the same people...

     (1909)
  • Last Massacre (1911)
  • Battle of Kelley Creek
    Battle of Kelley Creek
    The Battle of Kelley Creek was one of the last armed conflicts between the United States and native Americans during the Indian wars era. In January 1911 a small group of Bannocks and Shoshones killed four men in an incident known as the Last Massacre...

     (1911)
  • Battle of Bear Valley
    Battle of Bear Valley
    The Battle of Bear Valley was a small engagement between the revolutionary Yaqui natives and the United States Army on January 9, 1918 in southern Arizona. This skirmish is widely recognized as the final battle of the American Indian Wars.-Background:...

     (1918)


The series of conflicts in the western United States between Native Americans
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

, American settlers, and the United States Army are generally known as the Indian Wars. Many of the most well-known of these conflicts occurred during and after the Civil War until the closing of the frontier in about 1890. However regions of the West that were settled before the Civil War, such as Texas, New Mexico, Utah, Oregon, California and Washington, saw significant conflicts prior to 1860.

Various statistics have been developed concerning the devastation of these wars on the peoples involved. One notable study by Gregory Michno used records dealing with figures "as a direct result of" engagements and concluded that "of the 21,586 total casualties tabulated in this survey, military personnel and civilians accounted for 6,596 (31%), while Indian casualties totaled about 14,990 (69%)." for the period of 1850–90. However, Michno says he "used the army's estimates in almost every case" & "the number of casualties in this study are inherently biased toward army estimations". His work includes almost nothing on "Indian war parties", and that "army records are often incomplete"; his work is a "workable" number, not a definitive account of events, since it excluded other figures.

According to Michno, more conflicts with native Americans occurred in the states bordering Mexico than in the interior states. Arizona ranked highest, with 310 known battles fought within the state's boundaries between Americans and the natives. Also, when determining how many deaths resulted from the wars, in each of the American states, Arizona again ranked highest. At least 4,340 people were killed, including both the settlers and the Indians, over twice as many as occurred in Texas, the second highest-ranking state. Most of the deaths in Arizona were caused by the Apache
Apache
Apache is the collective term for several culturally related groups of Native Americans in the United States originally from the Southwest United States. These indigenous peoples of North America speak a Southern Athabaskan language, which is related linguistically to the languages of Athabaskan...

. Michno also says that fifty-one percent of the Indian war battles between 1850 and 1890 took place in Arizona, Texas and New Mexico, as well as thirty-seven percent of the casualties in the county west of the Mississippi River.

Background

The western United States had been penetrated by United States forces and settlers before this period, notably by fur trappers
North American Fur Trade
The North American fur trade was the industry and activities related to the acquisition, exchange, and sale of animal furs in the North American continent. Indigenous peoples of different regions traded among themselves in the Pre-Columbian Era, but Europeans participated in the trade beginning...

, the Santa Fe Trail
Santa Fe Trail
The Santa Fe Trail was a 19th-century transportation route through central North America that connected Missouri with Santa Fe, New Mexico. Pioneered in 1822 by William Becknell, it served as a vital commercial and military highway until the introduction of the railroad to Santa Fe in 1880...

, the Oregon Trail
Oregon Trail
The Oregon Trail is a historic east-west wagon route that connected the Missouri River to valleys in Oregon and locations in between.After 1840 steam-powered riverboats and steamboats traversing up and down the Ohio, Mississippi and Missouri rivers sped settlement and development in the flat...

 and the Mormon emigration to Utah, as well as by settlement of California and Oregon. Relations between American Immigrants and Native Americans were generally peaceful. In the case of the Santa Fe Trail, this was due to the friendly relationship of the Bents of Bent's Fort with the Cheyenne and Arapaho, and in the case of the Oregon Trail
Oregon Trail
The Oregon Trail is a historic east-west wagon route that connected the Missouri River to valleys in Oregon and locations in between.After 1840 steam-powered riverboats and steamboats traversing up and down the Ohio, Mississippi and Missouri rivers sped settlement and development in the flat...

, to the peace established by the Treaty of Fort Laramie
Treaty of Fort Laramie (1851)
Although many European and European-American migrants to western North America had previously passed through the Great Plains on the Oregon and Santa Fe Trails, the California gold rush greatly increased traffic...

. Signed in 1851 between the United States and the plains Indians and the Indians of the northern Rocky Mountains, the treaty allowed passage by immigrants and the building of roads and the stationing of troops along the Oregon Trail.

The Pike's Peak Gold Rush of 1859 introduced a substantial white population into the Front Range of the Rockies supported by a trading lifeline that crossed the central Great Plains. Advancing settlement following the passage of the Homestead Act
Homestead Act
A homestead act is one of three United States federal laws that gave an applicant freehold title to an area called a "homestead" – typically 160 acres of undeveloped federal land west of the Mississippi River....

 and the building of the transcontinental railways
First Transcontinental Railroad
The First Transcontinental Railroad was a railroad line built in the United States of America between 1863 and 1869 by the Central Pacific Railroad of California and the Union Pacific Railroad that connected its statutory Eastern terminus at Council Bluffs, Iowa/Omaha, Nebraska The First...

 following the Civil War further destabilized the situation, placing white settlers into direct competition for the land and resources of the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountain West. Further factors included discovery of gold in the Black Hills
Black Hills
The Black Hills are a small, isolated mountain range rising from the Great Plains of North America in western South Dakota and extending into Wyoming, USA. Set off from the main body of the Rocky Mountains, the region is something of a geological anomaly—accurately described as an "island of...

, resulting in the gold rush
Gold rush
A gold rush is a period of feverish migration of workers to an area that has had a dramatic discovery of gold. Major gold rushes took place in the 19th century in Australia, Brazil, Canada, South Africa, and the United States, while smaller gold rushes took place elsewhere.In the 19th and early...

 of 1875–1878, and, earlier, in Montana during the Montana Gold Rush of 1862–1863 and the opening of the Bozeman Trail
Bozeman Trail
The Bozeman Trail was an overland route connecting the gold rush territory of Montana to the Oregon Trail. Its most important period was from 1863-1868. The flow of pioneers and settlers through territory of American Indians provoked their resentment and caused attacks. The U.S. Army undertook...

, which led to Red Cloud's War
Red Cloud's War
Red Cloud's War was an armed conflict between the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho and the United States in the Wyoming Territory and the Montana Territory from 1866 to 1868. The war was fought over control of the Powder River Country in north central present day Wyoming...

 and later the Great Sioux War of 1876–77
Great Sioux War of 1876–77
The Great Sioux War of 1876, also known as the Black Hills War, was a series of battles and negotiations which occurred between 1876 and 1877 involving the Lakota and Northern Cheyenne, against the United States...

.

As in the East
Eastern United States
The Eastern United States, the American East, or simply the East is traditionally defined as the states east of the Mississippi River. The first two tiers of states west of the Mississippi have traditionally been considered part of the West, but can be included in the East today; usually in...

, expansion into the plains and mountains by miners, ranchers and settlers led to increasing conflicts with the indigenous population of the West
Western United States
.The Western United States, commonly referred to as the American West or simply "the West," traditionally refers to the region comprising the westernmost states of the United States. Because the U.S. expanded westward after its founding, the meaning of the West has evolved over time...

. Many tribes-—from the Utes
Ute Tribe
The Ute are an American Indian people now living primarily in Utah and Colorado. There are three Ute tribal reservations: Uintah-Ouray in northeastern Utah ; Southern Ute in Colorado ; and Ute Mountain which primarily lies in Colorado, but extends to Utah and New Mexico . The name of the state of...

 of the Great Basin
Great Basin
The Great Basin is the largest area of contiguous endorheic watersheds in North America and is noted for its arid conditions and Basin and Range topography that varies from the North American low point at Badwater Basin to the highest point of the contiguous United States, less than away at the...

 to the Nez Perces of Idaho
Idaho
Idaho is a state in the Rocky Mountain area of the United States. The state's largest city and capital is Boise. Residents are called "Idahoans". Idaho was admitted to the Union on July 3, 1890, as the 43rd state....

-—fought Americans at one time or another. But the Sioux
Sioux
The Sioux are Native American and First Nations people in North America. The term can refer to any ethnic group within the Great Sioux Nation or any of the nation's many language dialects...

 of the Northern Plains
Great Plains
The Great Plains are a broad expanse of flat land, much of it covered in prairie, steppe and grassland, which lies west of the Mississippi River and east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States and Canada. This area covers parts of the U.S...

 and the Apache of the Southwest
Southwestern United States
The Southwestern United States is a region defined in different ways by different sources. Broad definitions include nearly a quarter of the United States, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah...

 provided the most celebrated opposition to encroachment on tribal lands. Led by resolute, militant leaders, such as Red Cloud
Red Cloud
Red Cloud , was a war leader and the head Chief of the Oglala Lakota . His reign was from 1868 to 1909...

 and Crazy Horse
Crazy Horse
Crazy Horse was a Native American war leader of the Oglala Lakota. He took up arms against the U.S...

, the Sioux were skilled at high-speed mounted warfare. The Sioux were relatively new arrivals on the Plains, as, previously, they had been sedentary farmers in the Great Lakes region
Great Lakes region (North America)
The Great Lakes region of North America, occasionally known as the Third Coast or the Fresh Coast , includes the eight U.S. states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin as well as the Canadian province of Ontario...

. Once they learned to capture and ride horses, they moved west, displacing other Indian tribes and became feared warriors. Historically the Apache bands supplemented their economy by raiding others and practiced warfare to avenge a death of a kinsman. The Apache bands were adept at fighting and highly elusive in the environments of desert and canyons.

During the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

 U.S. Army units were withdrawn to fight the war in the east. They were replaced by the volunteer infantry and cavalry raised by the states of California and Oregon
Oregon in the American Civil War
Oregon in the American Civil War refers to the military involvement of Oregon in the American Civil War.At the outbreak of the war, regular U.S. Army troops in the District of Oregon were withdrawn from posts in Oregon and Washington Territory and sent east...

, by the western territorial governments or the local militia
Militia
The term militia is commonly used today to refer to a military force composed of ordinary citizens to provide defense, emergency law enforcement, or paramilitary service, in times of emergency without being paid a regular salary or committed to a fixed term of service. It is a polyseme with...

s. These units fought the Indians besides keeping open communications with the east, holding the west for the Union and defeating the Confederate attempt to capture the New Mexico Territory.

Texas

In the 18th century, Spanish settlers in Texas
Spanish Texas
Spanish Texas was one of the interior provinces of New Spain from 1690 until 1821. Although Spain claimed ownership of the territory, which comprised part of modern-day Texas, including the land north of the Medina and Nueces Rivers, the Spanish did not attempt to colonize the area until after...

 came into conflict with the Apache, Commanche, and Karankawa, among other tribes. Large numbers of Anglo-American settlers reached Texas in the 1830s, and from that point until the 1870s, a series of armed confrontations broke out, mostly between Texans and Comanche
Comanche
The Comanche are a Native American ethnic group whose historic range consisted of present-day eastern New Mexico, southern Colorado, northeastern Arizona, southern Kansas, all of Oklahoma, and most of northwest Texas. Historically, the Comanches were hunter-gatherers, with a typical Plains Indian...

s.

The first notable battle was the Fort Parker massacre
Fort Parker massacre
The Fort Parker massacre was an event in May 1836 in which members of the pioneer Parker family were killed in a raid by Native Americans. In this raid, a 9-year old girl, Cynthia Ann Parker, was captured and spent most of the rest of her life with the Comanche, marrying a Chief, Peta Nocona, and...

 in 1836, in which a huge war party of Comanches, Kiowa, Witchitas, and Delaware attacked the settler outpost Fort Parker. Despite the small number of white settlers killed during the raid, the abduction of Cynthia Ann Parker
Cynthia Ann Parker
Cynthia Ann Parker, or Naduah , was an American woman of old colonial stock of Scots-Irish descent who was captured and kidnapped at the age of nine by a American Indian band which massacred her family and...

 caused widespread outrage among Texas' Anglo settlers.

Once the Republic of Texas
Republic of Texas
The Republic of Texas was an independent nation in North America, bordering the United States and Mexico, that existed from 1836 to 1846.Formed as a break-away republic from Mexico by the Texas Revolution, the state claimed borders that encompassed an area that included all of the present U.S...

 was declared and had secured some sovereignty in their war with Mexico, the Texas government under President Sam Houston
Sam Houston
Samuel Houston, known as Sam Houston , was a 19th-century American statesman, politician, and soldier. He was born in Timber Ridge in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, of Scots-Irish descent. Houston became a key figure in the history of Texas and was elected as the first and third President of...

 pursued a policy of engagement with the Comanches and Kiowa
Kiowa
The Kiowa are a nation of American Indians and indigenous people of the Great Plains. They migrated from the northern plains to the southern plains in the late 17th century. In 1867, the Kiowa moved to a reservation in southwestern Oklahoma...

. Ironically, since Houston had lived with the Cherokee
Cherokee
The Cherokee are a Native American people historically settled in the Southeastern United States . Linguistically, they are part of the Iroquoian language family...

, the republic faced a conflict called the Cordova Rebellion, in which Cherokees appear to have joined with Mexican forces to fight the fledgling country. Houston resolved the conflict without resorting to arms, refusing to believe that the Cherokee would take up arms against his government. The Lamar
Mirabeau B. Lamar
Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar was a Texas politician, diplomat and soldier who was a leading Texas political figure during the Texas Republic era. He was the second President of the Republic of Texas, after David G. Burnet and Sam Houston.-Early years:Lamar grew up at Fairfield, his father's...

 administration, which followed Houston, took a very different policy towards the Indians. Under Lamar Texas removed the Cherokee to the west. With that policy in place, the Texas government sought to deport the Comanches and Kiowa. This led to a series of battles, including the Council House Fight
Council House Fight
The Council House Fight was a conflict between Republic of Texas officials and a Comanche peace delegation which took place in San Antonio, Texas, on March 19, 1840. The meeting took place under a truce with the purpose of negotiating peace after two years of war. The Comanches sought to obtain...

, in which, at a peace parley, the Texas militia seized a number of Comanche chiefs and the resulting Great Raid of 1840
Great Raid of 1840
The Great Raid of 1840 was the largest raid ever mounted by Native Americans on white cities in what is now the United States. It followed the Council House Fight, in which Republic of Texas officials attempted to capture and take prisoner 33 Comanche chiefs who had come to negotiate a peace...

 and the Battle of Plum Creek
Battle of Plum Creek
The Battle of Plum Creek was a clash between militia and Rangers of the Republic of Texas and a huge Comanche war party under Chief Buffalo Hump, which took place near Lockhart, Texas, on August 12, 1840, following the Great Raid of 1840 as the Comanche war party returned to West...

.
The Lamar Administration was known for its failed and expensive Indian policy; the cost of the war with the Indians exceeded the annual revenue of the government throughout his four-year term. It was followed by a second Houston administration, which resumed the previous policy of diplomacy. Texas signed treaties with all of the tribes, including the Comanche.

After Texas joined the Union in 1846, the struggle between the Plains Indians and the settlers was taken up by the federal government and the state of Texas. The years 1856–1858 were particularly vicious and bloody on the Texas frontier, as settlers continued to expand their settlements into the Comanche homeland, the Comancheria
Comancheria
The Comancheria is the name commonly given to the region of New Mexico, west Texas and nearby areas occupied by the Comanche before the 1860s.-Geography:...

, and 1858 was marked by the first Texan incursion into the heart of the Comancheria, the so-called Antelope Hills Expedition
Antelope Hills Expedition
The Antelope Hills Expedition was a campaign from January 1858 to May 1858 by the Texas Rangers and members of other allied native American tribes against Comanche and Kiowa villages in the Comancheria...

, marked by the Battle of Little Robe Creek
Battle of Little Robe Creek
The Battle of Little Robe Creek, also called the Battle of Antelope Hills, took place on May 12, 1858. It actually was a series of three distinct encounters that took place on a single day, between the Comanches on the one side, and Texas Rangers, militia, and allied Tonkawas attacking them...

. This battle signaled the beginning of the end of the Comanche as a viable people, since, for the first time, they were attacked in the heart of their domain, in force.

The battles between settlers and Indians continued and in 1860, at the Battle of Pease River
Battle of Pease River
The Battle of Pease River occurred on December 18, 1860, near the town of Margaret, Texas in Foard County, Texas, United States. The town is located between Crowell and Vernon within sight of the Medicine Mounds just outside present-day Quanah, Texas...

, Texas militia destroyed an Indian camp. In the aftermath of the battle, the Texans learned that they had recaptured Cynthia Ann Parker, the little girl captured by the Comanche in 1836. She returned to live with the Parkers, but missed her children, including her son Quanah Parker
Quanah Parker
Quanah Parker was a Comanche chief, a leader in the Native American Church, and the last leader of the powerful Quahadi band before they surrendered their battle of the Great Plains and went to a reservation in Indian Territory...

. He was the son of Parker and Comanche Chief Peta Nocona
Peta Nocona
Peta Nocona was a chief of the Comanche band Noconi. He led his tribe during the extensive Indian Wars in Texas from the 1830s to 1860. He was the son of the Comanche chief Iron Jacket and father of chief Quanah Parker. His band Noconis, or Wanderers, or travellers were named after him...

 and would go on to be a Comanche war chief at the First Battle of Adobe Walls
First Battle of Adobe Walls
The First Battle of Adobe Walls, was a battle between the United States Army and native Americans. The Kiowa, Comanche and Plains Apache tribes drove from the battlefield a United States Expeditionary Force that was reacting to attacks on white settlers moving into the Southwest...

. As chief of the Quahadi Comanches, he finally surrendered to the overwhelming force of the federal government and in 1875 moved to a reservation in southwestern Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

.

Pacific Northwest

A number of wars occurred in the wake of the Oregon Treaty
Oregon Treaty
The Oregon Treaty is a treaty between the United Kingdom and the United States that was signed on June 15, 1846, in Washington, D.C. The treaty brought an end to the Oregon boundary dispute by settling competing American and British claims to the Oregon Country, which had been jointly occupied by...

 of 1846 and the creation of Oregon Territory
Oregon Territory
The Territory of Oregon was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from August 14, 1848, until February 14, 1859, when the southwestern portion of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Oregon. Originally claimed by several countries , the region was...

 and Washington Territory
Washington Territory
The Territory of Washington was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from February 8, 1853, until November 11, 1889, when the final extent of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Washington....

. Among the causes of conflict were a sudden immigration to the region and a series of gold rushes throughout the Pacific Northwest
Pacific Northwest
The Pacific Northwest is a region in northwestern North America, bounded by the Pacific Ocean to the west and, loosely, by the Rocky Mountains on the east. Definitions of the region vary and there is no commonly agreed upon boundary, even among Pacific Northwesterners. A common concept of the...

. The Whitman massacre
Whitman massacre
The Whitman massacre was the murder in the Oregon Country on November 29, 1847 of U.S. missionaries Dr. Marcus Whitman and his wife Narcissa Whitman, along with eleven others. They were killed by Cayuse and Umatilla Indians. The incident began the Cayuse War...

 of 1847 triggered the Cayuse War
Cayuse War
The Cayuse War was an armed conflict that took place in the Northwestern United States from 1847 to 1855 between the Cayuse people of the region and the United States Government and local Euro-American settlers...

, which saw fighting from the Cascade Range
Cascade Range
The Cascade Range is a major mountain range of western North America, extending from southern British Columbia through Washington and Oregon to Northern California. It includes both non-volcanic mountains, such as the North Cascades, and the notable volcanoes known as the High Cascades...

 to the Rocky Mountains. The Cayuse were defeated in 1855, but by then the conflict had expanded and continued in what became known as the Yakima War
Yakima War
The Yakima War was a conflict between the United States and the Yakama, a Sahaptian-speaking people on the Northwest Plateau, then Washington Territory and now the southern interior of Eastern Washington, from 1855 to 1858.- Naming :...

, 1855–1858. One of the triggers of the Yakima War was the creation of Washington Territory and the effort of its first governor, Isaac Stevens
Isaac Stevens
Isaac Ingalls Stevens was the first governor of Washington Territory, a United States Congressman, and a brigadier general in the Union Army during the American Civil War until his death at the Battle of Chantilly...

, to compel tribes to sign treaties ceding land and establishing reservations. The Yakama signed one of the treaties negotiated during the Walla Walla Council
Walla Walla Council (1855)
The Walla Walla Council was a meeting in the Pacific Northwest between the United States and sovereign tribal bodies of the Cayuse, Nez Perce, Umatilla, Walla Walla, and Yakama. The treaties signed at this council were ratified by the U.S. Senate in 1859...

 of 1855, and the Yakama Indian Reservation
Yakama Indian Reservation
The Yakama Indian Reservation is a United States Indian reservation located on the east side of the Cascade Mountains in southern Washington. It is the homeland of the Yakama tribe of Native Americans....

 was established. The treaties were poorly received by the native peoples and served mainly to intensify hostilities. Gold discoveries near Fort Colville
Fort Colville
The trade center Fort Colville was built by the Hudson's Bay Company at Kettle Falls on the Columbia River, a few miles west of the present site of Colville, Washington in 1825, to replace Spokane House as a regional trading center, as the latter was deemed to be too far from the Columbia River...

 resulted in many miners crossing Yakama lands via Naches Pass
Naches Pass
Naches Pass is a mountain pass of the Cascade Range in the U.S. state of Washington. It is located about east of Tacoma and about northwest of Yakima, near the headwaters of tributary streams of the Naches River on the east and the Greenwater River on the west. The boundaries of Pierce, King,...

, and conflicts rapidly escalated into violence. It took several years for the US Army to defeat the Yakama, during which time war spread to the Puget Sound region
Puget Sound region
The Puget Sound region is an inland area of the Pacific Northwest in Washington , including Puget Sound, the Puget Sound lowlands, and the surrounding region roughly west of the Cascade Range and east of the Olympic Mountains.- History :...

 west of the Cascades. The Puget Sound War
Puget Sound War
The Puget Sound War was an armed conflict that took place in the Puget Sound area of the state of Washington in 1855–56, between the United States Military, local militias and members of the Native American tribes of the Nisqually, Muckleshoot, Puyallup, and Klickitat...

 of 1855–1856 was triggered in part by the Yakima War and in part by the use of intimidation to compel tribes to sign land cession treaties. The Treaty of Medicine Creek
Treaty of Medicine Creek
The Treaty of Medicine Creek was an 1854 treaty between the United States, and the Nisqually, Puyallup and Squaxin Island tribes, along with six other smaller Native American tribes.-Site:...

, signed in 1855, established an unrealistically small reservation on poor land for the Nisqually and Puyallup people. Violence broke out in the White River
White River (Washington)
The White River is a white, glacial river in the U.S. state of Washington. It flows about 75 miles from its source, the Emmons Glacier on Mount Rainier, to join the Puyallup River at Sumner...

 valley, along the route to Naches Pass, which connected Nisqually and Yakama lands. Although limited in its magnitude, territorial impact and losses in terms of lives, the Puget Sound War is often remembered in connection with the 1856 Battle of Seattle
Battle of Seattle (1856)
The Battle of Seattle was a January 26, 1856 attack by native Americans upon Seattle, Washington. At the time, Seattle was a settlement in the Washington Territory that had recently named itself after Chief Seattle , a leader of the Suquamish and Duwamish peoples of central Puget Sound.Backed by...

 and the execution of a central figure of the war, Nisqually Chief Leschi
Chief Leschi
Chief Leschi was chief of the Nisqually Native American tribe. He was hanged for murder in 1858, but exonerated in 2004.-Life:...

.

In 1858, the fighting on the east side of the Cascades spread. This second phase of the Yakima War is known as the Coeur d'Alene War. The Yakama, Palouse, Spokane, and Coeur d'Alene tribes were defeated at the Battle of Four Lakes
Battle of Four Lakes
The Battle of Four Lakes was a battle during a US Army expedition against a confederation of Indian tribes in Washington and Idaho. Indian resistance to U.S. troops in the area had continued as part of the Yakima War. Commander of the Department of the Pacific, General Newman S. Clarke sent a...

 in late 1858.

In southwest Oregon tensions and skirmishes between American settlers and the Rogue River peoples
Rogue River (tribe)
Rogue River is the name of a Native American group originally located in southern Oregon in the United States. Rogue River was not a single tribe, but a conglomeration of many affiliated and related tribal groups. The total estimated population of these tribes in 1850 was about 9,500...

, starting about 1850, escalated into the Rogue River Wars
Rogue River Wars
The Rogue River Wars was an armed conflict between the US Army, local militias and volunteers, and the Native American tribes commonly grouped under the designation of Rogue River Indians, in the Rogue River Valley area of what today is southern Oregon in 1855–56...

 of 1855–1856. The California Gold Rush
California Gold Rush
The California Gold Rush began on January 24, 1848, when gold was found by James W. Marshall at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California. The first to hear confirmed information of the gold rush were the people in Oregon, the Sandwich Islands , and Latin America, who were the first to start flocking to...

 helped fuel a large increase in the number of people traveling south through the Rogue River Valley
Rogue Valley
The Rogue Valley is a farming and timber-producing region in southwestern Oregon in the United States. Located along the middle Rogue River and its tributaries in Josephine and Jackson counties, the valley forms the cultural and economic heart of Southern Oregon near the California border. The...

.

Gold discoveries continued to trigger violent conflict between prospectores and indigenous peoples. Beginning in 1858, the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush
Fraser Canyon Gold Rush
The Fraser Canyon Gold Rush, began in 1858 after gold was discovered on the Thompson River in British Columbia at its confluence with the Nicoamen River. This was a few miles upstream from the Thompson's confluence with the Fraser River at present-day Lytton...

 in British Columbia drew large numbers of miners, many from Washington, Oregon, and California, culminating in the Fraser Canyon War
Fraser Canyon War
The Fraser Canyon War, also known as the Canyon War or the Fraser River War, was an incident between the Nlaka'pamux people and white miners in the newly declared Colony of British Columbia, which later became part of Canada, in 1858. It occurred during the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush, which brought a...

. Although this conflict occurred in what is now Canada, the militias involved were formed mostly of Americans. Due to the discovery of gold in Idaho and Oregon in the 1860s, similar conflicts arose that culminated in the Bear River Massacre
Bear River Massacre
The Bear River Massacre, or the Battle of Bear River and the Massacre at Boa Ogoi, took place in present-day Idaho on January 29, 1863. The United States Army attacked Shoshone gathered at the confluence of the Bear River and Beaver Creek in what was then southeastern Washington Territory. The...

 in 1863 and Snake War
Snake War
The Snake War was a war fought by the United States of America against the "Snake Indians", the settlers' term for Northern Paiute, Bannock and western Shoshone bands who lived along the Snake River. Fighting took place in the states of Oregon, Nevada, and California, and in Idaho Territory...

 from 1864 to 1868.

In the late 1870s another series of armed conflicts occurred in Oregon and Idaho, spreading east into Wyoming and Montana. The Nez Perce War
Nez Perce War
The Nez Perce War was an armed conflict between the Nez Perce and the United States government fought in 1877 as part of the American Indian Wars. After a series of battles in which both the U.S. Army and native people sustained significant casualties, the Nez Perce surrendered and were relocated...

 of 1877 is known particularly for Chief Joseph
Chief Joseph
Hin-mah-too-yah-lat-kekt, popularly known as Chief Joseph, or Young Joseph was the leader of the Wal-lam-wat-kain band of Nez Perce during General Oliver O. Howard's attempt to forcibly remove his band and the other "non-treaty" Nez Perce to a reservation in Idaho...

 and the three-month fighting retreat of a band of about 800 Nez Perce. As with the other wars in the Pacific Northwest, the Nez Perce War was caused by a large influx of settlers, the appropriation of Indian lands, and a gold rush-—this time in Idaho. The Nez Perce were pressured into a new treaty in 1863, establishing a new, smaller reservation in Idaho, which did not include the tribe's traditional lands in the Wallowa Valley
Wallowa River
The Wallowa River is a tributary of the Grande Ronde River, approximately long, in northeastern Oregon in the United States. It drains a valley on the Columbia Plateau in the northeast corner of the state north of Wallowa Mountains. It rises in southern Wallowa County, in the Wallowa Mountains in...

. The Bannock War
Bannock War
The Bannock War was a series of conflicts in 1878 between various Bannock, Northern Shoshone and Paiute tribes against the United States.- Background :...

 broke out the following year for similar reasons. The Sheepeater Indian War
Sheepeater Indian War
The Sheepeater Indian War of 1879 was the last Indian war fought in the Pacific Northwest portion of the United States. A band of approximately 300 Western Shoshone, , were known as the Sheepeaters because of their proficiency in hunting Rocky Mountain sheep...

 in 1879 was the last conflict in the area.

Southwest

The acquisition of Alta California
Alta California
Alta California was a province and territory in the Viceroyalty of New Spain and later a territory and department in independent Mexico. The territory was created in 1769 out of the northern part of the former province of Las Californias, and consisted of the modern American states of California,...

 and Santa Fe de Nuevo México
Santa Fe de Nuevo México
Santa Fe de Nuevo México was a province of New Spain and later Mexico that existed from the late 16th century up through the mid-19th century. It was centered on the upper valley of the Rio Grande , in an area that included most of the present-day U.S. state of New Mexico...

 from Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 at the end of the Mexican American War in 1848, and the Gadsden Purchase
Gadsden Purchase
The Gadsden Purchase is a region of present-day southern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico that was purchased by the United States in a treaty signed by James Gadsden, the American ambassador to Mexico at the time, on December 30, 1853. It was then ratified, with changes, by the U.S...

 in 1853, brought about conflicts with native peoples that spanned from 1846 to 1895 in this large geographical area. The first conflicts were in New Mexico Territory
New Mexico Territory
thumb|right|240px|Proposed boundaries for State of New Mexico, 1850The Territory of New Mexico was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from September 9, 1850, until January 6, 1912, when the final extent of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of...

 and in California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

 and Utah Territory
Utah Territory
The Territory of Utah was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from September 9, 1850, until January 4, 1896, when the final extent of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Utah....

 during and after the California Gold Rush
California Gold Rush
The California Gold Rush began on January 24, 1848, when gold was found by James W. Marshall at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California. The first to hear confirmed information of the gold rush were the people in Oregon, the Sandwich Islands , and Latin America, who were the first to start flocking to...

.

The tribes or bands in the southwest had been engaged in cycles of trading and fighting each other and foreign settlers for centuries prior to the United States' purchasing their region from Mexico in 1848 and 1853. These conflicts with the United States involved every non-pueblo tribe in this region and often were a continuation of Mexican–Spanish conflicts. The Navajo
Navajo Wars
The Navajo Wars were a series of battles and other conflicts, often separated with treaties that involved raids by different Navajo bands on the rancheras along the Rio Grande and the counter campaigns by the Spanish, Mexican, and United States governments, and sometimes their civilian elements....

 and Apache conflicts
Apache Wars
The Apache Wars were a series of armed conflicts between the United States and Apaches fought in the Southwest from 1849 to 1886, though other minor hostilities continued until as late as 1924. The Confederate Army participated in the wars during the early 1860s, for instance in Texas, before being...

 are perhaps the best known. The last major campaign of the U.S. military against native Americans in the Southwest involved 5,000 troops in the field, which caused the Apache Geronimo
Geronimo
Geronimo was a prominent Native American leader of the Chiricahua Apache who fought against Mexico and the United States for their expansion into Apache tribal lands for several decades during the Apache Wars. Allegedly, "Geronimo" was the name given to him during a Mexican incident...

 and his band of 24 warriors, women and children to surrender in 1886.

California

Because of the small U.S. garrison west of the Rockies, and the economic and political effects of the gold rush, California militias engaged in most of the early conflicts with the Indians. Later, during the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, California and Oregon State volunteers replaced Federal troops west of the Rocky Mountains
Rocky Mountains
The Rocky Mountains are a major mountain range in western North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch more than from the northernmost part of British Columbia, in western Canada, to New Mexico, in the southwestern United States...

 and engaged in many conflicts with the Indians including California, Nevada
Nevada
Nevada is a state in the western, mountain west, and southwestern regions of the United States. With an area of and a population of about 2.7 million, it is the 7th-largest and 35th-most populous state. Over two-thirds of Nevada's people live in the Las Vegas metropolitan area, which contains its...

, Utah, New Mexico and the Arizona
Arizona Territory
The Territory of Arizona was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from February 24, 1863 until February 14, 1912, when it was admitted to the Union as the 48th state....

 Territories. Following the Civil War, California was mostly pacified, but Federal troops replaced the volunteers and again took up the struggle against Native Americans in the remote regions of the Mojave Desert
Mojave Desert
The Mojave Desert occupies a significant portion of southeastern California and smaller parts of central California, southern Nevada, southwestern Utah and northwestern Arizona, in the United States...

, and in the northeast of the state against the Snakes
Snake War
The Snake War was a war fought by the United States of America against the "Snake Indians", the settlers' term for Northern Paiute, Bannock and western Shoshone bands who lived along the Snake River. Fighting took place in the states of Oregon, Nevada, and California, and in Idaho Territory...

 and Modoc
Modoc War
The Modoc War, or Modoc Campaign , was an armed conflict between the Native American Modoc tribe and the United States Army in southern Oregon and northern California from 1872–1873. The Modoc War was the last of the Indian Wars to occur in California or Oregon...

 for the next three decades.

Great Basin

The tribes of the Great Basin
Great Basin
The Great Basin is the largest area of contiguous endorheic watersheds in North America and is noted for its arid conditions and Basin and Range topography that varies from the North American low point at Badwater Basin to the highest point of the contiguous United States, less than away at the...

, for the most part Shoshone
Shoshone
The Shoshone or Shoshoni are a Native American tribe in the United States with three large divisions: the Northern, the Western and the Eastern....

, were severely impacted by the Oregon
Oregon Trail
The Oregon Trail is a historic east-west wagon route that connected the Missouri River to valleys in Oregon and locations in between.After 1840 steam-powered riverboats and steamboats traversing up and down the Ohio, Mississippi and Missouri rivers sped settlement and development in the flat...

 and California Trail
California Trail
The California Trail was an emigrant trail of about across the western half of the North American continent from Missouri River towns to what is now the state of California...

s and by Mormon emigration to Utah. Beginning with their encounter with Lewis and Clark the Shoshone had generally had friendly relations with American and British fur traders and trappers. At first, relationships were friendly with travelers on the trails, but, with time, the volume of emigrants severely impacted natural resources in the areas traversed by the trails. Often travelers treated the Indians they encountered badly and the Indians on their part continued to engage in their traditional avocation of stealing horses and other stock.

In Utah, expanding Mormon settlement pushed natives from the fertile and well-watered valleys where they had lived and the cattle of the Mormons consumed the grasses and other plants which made up the traditional Shoshone diet. While unwilling to compensate the Shoshone, or the Ute, for their lands the Mormons did offer food to the Indians. However relations were not smooth, with the Indians being aggressive and demanding while the Mormons found the burden imposed by the Church leadership onerous. The federal government had little presence in the Great Basin and made little effort to ameliorate the situation.

The Indians, their traditional way of life disrupted and in retaliation for outrages suffered at the hands of emigrants, engaged in raiding of travelers along the trails and engaged in aggressive behavior toward Mormon settlers. The efforts of the undisciplined California militia who were stationed in Utah during the Civil War to respond to complaints resulted in the Bear River Massacre
Bear River Massacre
The Bear River Massacre, or the Battle of Bear River and the Massacre at Boa Ogoi, took place in present-day Idaho on January 29, 1863. The United States Army attacked Shoshone gathered at the confluence of the Bear River and Beaver Creek in what was then southeastern Washington Territory. The...

. Following the massacre a series of treaties were agreed to with the various Shoshone tribes exchanging promises of peace for small annuities and reservations. For the most part Indian title was not addressed in those treaties.

Great Plains

Initially relations between participants in the Pike's Peak gold rush and the Native American tribes of the Front Range and the Platte valley were friendly. An attempt was made to resolve conflicts by negotiation of the Treaty of Fort Wise
Treaty of Fort Wise
The Treaty of Fort Wise of 1861 was a treaty entered into between the United States and six chiefs of the Southern Cheyenne and four of the Southern Arapaho Indian tribes. A significant proportion of Cheyennes opposed this treaty on the grounds that only a minority of Cheyenne chiefs had signed,...

 which established a reservation in southeastern Colorado, but the settlement was not agreed to by all of the roving warriors, particularly the Dog Soldiers
Dog Soldiers
Dog Soldiers is a 2002 British horror film written and directed by Neil Marshall, and starring Kevin McKidd, Sean Pertwee and Liam Cunningham. It was a British production, set in the highlands of Scotland, and filmed almost entirely in Luxembourg....

. During the early 1860s tensions increased and culminated in the Colorado War
Colorado War
The Colorado War was fought from 1863 to 1865 and was an Indian War between the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes, against white settlers and militia in the Colorado Territory and adjacent regions...

 and the Sand Creek Massacre
Sand Creek Massacre
As conflict between Indians and white settlers and soldiers in Colorado continued, many of the Cheyenne and Arapaho, including bands under Cheyenne chiefs Black Kettle and White Antelope, were resigned to negotiate peace. The chiefs had sought to maintain peace in spite of pressures from whites...

 where Colorado volunteers fell on a peaceful Cheyenne village killing women and children which set the stage for further conflict.

The peaceful relationship between settlers and the Indians of the Colorado and Kansas plains was maintained faithfully by the tribes, but sentiment grew among the Colorado settlers for Indian removal. The savagery of the attacks on civilians during the Dakota War of 1862
Dakota War of 1862
The Dakota War of 1862, also known as the Sioux Uprising, was an armed conflict between the United States and several bands of the eastern Sioux. It began on August 17, 1862, along the Minnesota River in southwest Minnesota...

 contributed to these sentiments as did the few minor incidents which occurred in the Platte Valley and in areas east of Denver. Regular army troops had been withdrawn for service in the Civil War and were replaced with the Colorado Volunteers, rough men who often favored extermination of the Indians. They were commanded by John Chivington
John Chivington
John Milton Chivington was a colonel in the United States Army who served in the American Indian Wars during the Colorado War and the New Mexico Campaigns of the American Civil War...

 and George L. Shoup who followed the lead of John Evans
John Evans (governor)
John Evans was a U.S. politician, physician, railroad promoter, Governor of the Territory of Colorado, and namesake of Evanston, Illinois; Evans, Colorado; and Mount Evans, Colorado...

, territorial governor of Colorado. They adopted a policy of shooting all Indians encountered on sight, a policy which in short time ignited a general war on the Colorado and Kansas plains, the Colorado War
Colorado War
The Colorado War was fought from 1863 to 1865 and was an Indian War between the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes, against white settlers and militia in the Colorado Territory and adjacent regions...

.

Raids by bands of plains Indians on isolated homesteads to the east of Denver, on the advancing settlements in Kansas, and on stage line stations along the South Platte, such as at Julesburg, and along the Smoky Hill Trail, resulted in settlers in both Colorado and Kansas adopting a murderous attitude towards Native Americans, with calls for extermination. Likewise, the savagery shown by the Colorado Volunteers during the Sand Creek massacre resulted in Native Americans, particularly the Dog Soldiers, a band of the Cheyenne, engaging in savage retribution.

Dakota War

The Dakota War of 1862 (more commonly called the Sioux Uprising of 1862 in older authorities and popular texts) was the first major armed engagement between the U.S. and the Sioux
Sioux
The Sioux are Native American and First Nations people in North America. The term can refer to any ethnic group within the Great Sioux Nation or any of the nation's many language dialects...

. After six weeks of fighting in Minnesota, lead mostly by Chief Taoyateduta
Taoyateduta
Little Crow was a chief of the Mdewakanton Dakota Sioux. His given name translates as "His Red Nation," but he was known as Little Crow because of his father's name, Čhetáŋ Wakhúwa Máni, which was mistranslated.Little Crow is notable in for his role in the...

 (aka, Little Crow), records conclusively show that more than 500 U.S. soldiers and settlers died in the conflict, though many more may have died in small raids or after being captured. The number of Sioux dead in the uprising is mostly undocumented, but after the war, 303 Sioux were convicted of murder and rape by U.S. military tribunals and sentenced to death. Most of the death sentences were commuted by President Lincoln, but on December 26, 1862, in Mankato, Minnesota
Mankato, Minnesota
Mankato is a city in Blue Earth, Nicollet, and Le Sueur counties in the U.S. state of Minnesota. The population was 39,309 at the 2010 census, making it the fourth largest city in Minnesota outside of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. The county seat of Blue Earth County, it is located...

, 38 Dakota Sioux men were hanged
Hanging
Hanging is the lethal suspension of a person by a ligature. The Oxford English Dictionary states that hanging in this sense is "specifically to put to death by suspension by the neck", though it formerly also referred to crucifixion and death by impalement in which the body would remain...

 in what is still today the largest mass execution
Capital punishment
Capital punishment, the death penalty, or execution is the sentence of death upon a person by the state as a punishment for an offence. Crimes that can result in a death penalty are known as capital crimes or capital offences. The term capital originates from the Latin capitalis, literally...

 in U.S. history.

After the expulsion of the Dakota, some refugees and warriors made their way to Lakota lands in what is now North Dakota
North Dakota
North Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States of America, along the Canadian border. The state is bordered by Canada to the north, Minnesota to the east, South Dakota to the south and Montana to the west. North Dakota is the 19th-largest state by area in the U.S....

. Battles continued between Minnesota regiments and combined Lakota and Dakota forces through 1864, as Colonel Henry Sibley pursued the Sioux into Dakota Territory. Sibley's army defeated the Lakota and Dakota in three major battles in 1863: the Battle of Dead Buffalo Lake
Battle of Dead Buffalo Lake
The battle of Dead Buffalo Lake was fought between United States forces and Sioux Indians of the Dakota Territory.A combined force of Santee and Teton Sioux forces had been defeated at the battle of Big Mound. They fled that battlefield and were chased endlessly by U.S. cavalry...

 on July 26, 1863, the Battle of Stony Lake
Battle of Stony Lake
The Battle of Stony Lake was the last engagement during Henry Hastings Sibley's campaign against the Santee and Teton Sioux in the Dakota Territory....

 on July 28, 1863, and the Battle of Whitestone Hill
Battle of Whitestone Hill
The Battle of White Stone Hill was a part of the operations against the Sioux in North Dakota in 1863. It took place between the dates of September 3–5, 1863. The principal United States commander was Brig. Gen. Alfred Sully, who faced Chief Inkpaduta of the Sioux. There was 822 total casualties;...

 on September 3, 1863. The Sioux retreated further, but again faced an American army in 1864; this time, Gen. Alfred Sully
Alfred Sully
Alfred Sully , was a military officer during the American Civil War and during the Indian Wars on the frontier. He was also a noted painter.-Biography:...

 led a force from near Fort Pierre, South Dakota
Fort Pierre, South Dakota
Fort Pierre is a city in Stanley County, South Dakota, United States. It is part of the Pierre, South Dakota Micropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 2,078 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Stanley County. Lily Park, in Fort Pierre, is situated at the mouth of the Bad River. The...

, and decisively defeated the Sioux at the Battle of Killdeer Mountain on July 28, 1864.

The Sand Creek massacre and the Sioux War of 1865

On November 29, 1864, Colorado volunteers attacked a peaceful Cheyenne and Arapaho village camped on Sand Creek in southeastern Colorado. Under orders to take no prisoners, the militia killed and mutilated about 200 of the Indians, two-thirds of whom were women and children, taking scalps
Scalping
Scalping is the act of removing another person's scalp or a portion of their scalp, either from a dead body or from a living person. The initial purpose of scalping was to provide a trophy of battle or portable proof of a combatant's prowess in war...

 and other grisly trophies of battle. The Indians at Sand Creek had been assured by the U.S. Government that they would be safe in the territory they were occupying, but anti-Indian sentiments by white settlers were running high. Later congressional investigations resulted in a short-lived public outcry against the slaughter of the Native Americans.

Following the massacre, the survivors joined the camps of the Cheyenne on the Smokey Hill and Republican Rivers. There, the war pipe was smoked and passed from camp to camp among the Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho camped in the area and an attack on the stage station and fort at Julesburg
Julesburg, Colorado
The historic town of Julesburg is a statutory town that is the county seat of Sedgwick County, Colorado, United States. The town is located on the north side of the South Platte River. The population was 1,467 at the U.S. Census 2000...

 was planned and carried out in January 1865. This successful attack was followed up by numerous raids along the South Platte both east and west of Julesburg and a second raid on Julesburg in early February. A great deal of loot was captured and many whites killed. The bulk of the Indians then moved north into Nebraska on their way to the Black Hills and the Powder River

In the spring of 1865 raids continued along the Oregon trail in Nebraska and the Sioux, the Northern Cheyenne, the Northern Arapaho together with the warriors who had come north after the Sand Creek massacre raided the Oregon Trail along the North Platte River, and in July 1865 attacked the troops stationed at the bridge across the North Platte at the present site of Casper, Wyoming
Casper, Wyoming
Casper is the county seat of Natrona County, Wyoming, United States.. Casper is the second-largest city in Wyoming , according to the 2010 census, with a population of 55,316...

, the Battle of the Platte Bridge Station.

Black Hills War

In 1875, the Great Sioux War of 1876–77
Great Sioux War of 1876–77
The Great Sioux War of 1876, also known as the Black Hills War, was a series of battles and negotiations which occurred between 1876 and 1877 involving the Lakota and Northern Cheyenne, against the United States...

, the last serious Sioux war
Sioux Wars
The Sioux Wars were a series of conflicts between the United States and various subgroups of the Sioux people that occurred in the latter half of the 19th century...

 erupted, when the Dakota gold rush penetrated the Black Hills
Black Hills
The Black Hills are a small, isolated mountain range rising from the Great Plains of North America in western South Dakota and extending into Wyoming, USA. Set off from the main body of the Rocky Mountains, the region is something of a geological anomaly—accurately described as an "island of...

. The U.S. Army did not keep miners off Sioux (Lakota) hunting grounds; yet, when ordered to take action against bands of Sioux hunting on the range, according to their treaty rights, the Army moved vigorously. In 1876, after several indecisive encounters, General George Custer found the main encampment of the Lakota and their allies at the Battle of the Little Bighorn
Battle of the Little Bighorn
The Battle of the Little Bighorn, also known as Custer's Last Stand and, by the Indians involved, as the Battle of the Greasy Grass, was an armed engagement between combined forces of Lakota, Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho people against the 7th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army...

. Custer and his men—who were separated from their main body of troops—were all killed by the far more numerous Indians who had the tactical advantage. They were led in the field by Crazy Horse
Crazy Horse
Crazy Horse was a Native American war leader of the Oglala Lakota. He took up arms against the U.S...

 and inspired by Sitting Bull's
Sitting Bull
Sitting Bull Sitting Bull Sitting Bull (Lakota: Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake (in Standard Lakota Orthography), also nicknamed Slon-he or "Slow"; (c. 1831 – December 15, 1890) was a Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux holy man who led his people as a tribal chief during years of resistance to United States government policies...

 earlier vision of victory. The massacre of Custer and his troopers as a popularized episode in the history of western Indian warfare was fostered by an advertising
Advertising
Advertising is a form of communication used to persuade an audience to take some action with respect to products, ideas, or services. Most commonly, the desired result is to drive consumer behavior with respect to a commercial offering, although political and ideological advertising is also common...

 campaign by the brewery
Brewery
A brewery is a dedicated building for the making of beer, though beer can be made at home, and has been for much of beer's history. A company which makes beer is called either a brewery or a brewing company....

, Anheuser-Busch
Anheuser-Busch
Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc. , is an American brewing company. The company operates 12 breweries in the United States and 18 in other countries. It was, until December 2009, also one of America's largest theme park operators; operating ten theme parks across the United States through the...

. The enterprising company ordered reprints of a dramatic painting that depicted "Custer's Last Fight" and had them framed and hung in many American saloons, helping to create lasting impressions of the battle and the brewery's products in the minds of bar patrons.

Later, in 1890, a Ghost Dance
Ghost Dance
The Ghost Dance was a new religious movement which was incorporated into numerous Native American belief systems. The traditional ritual used in the Ghost Dance, the circle dance, has been used by many Native Americans since prehistoric times...

 ritual on the Northern Lakota reservation at Wounded Knee, South Dakota
South Dakota
South Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States. It is named after the Lakota and Dakota Sioux American Indian tribes. Once a part of Dakota Territory, South Dakota became a state on November 2, 1889. The state has an area of and an estimated population of just over...

, led to the Army's attempt to subdue the Lakota. On December 29 during this attempt, gunfire erupted, and soldiers killed up to 300 Indians, mostly old men, women and children in the Wounded Knee Massacre
Wounded Knee Massacre
The Wounded Knee Massacre happened on December 29, 1890, near Wounded Knee Creek on the Lakota Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, USA. On the day before, a detachment of the U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment commanded by Major Samuel M...

. The approximately 25 soldiers who died may have been killed by friendly fire during the battle. Long before this, the means of subsistence and the societies of the indigenous population of the Great Plains had been destroyed by the slaughter of the buffalo
American Bison
The American bison , also commonly known as the American buffalo, is a North American species of bison that once roamed the grasslands of North America in massive herds...

, driven almost to extinction in the 1880s by indiscriminate hunting.

Last conflicts

  • October 5, 1898, Leech Lake
    Leech Lake
    Leech Lake is a lake located in north central Minnesota, United States. It is southeast of Bemidji, located mainly within the Leech Lake Indian Reservation, and completely within the Chippewa National Forest. It is used as a reservoir...

    , Minnesota
    Minnesota
    Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...

    : Battle of Sugar Point
    Battle of Sugar Point
    The Battle of Sugar Point, or the Battle of Leech Lake, was fought on October 5, 1898 between the 3rd U.S. Infantry and members of the Pillager Band of Chippewa Indians in a failed attempt to apprehend Pillager Ojibwe Bugonaygeshig , as the result of a dispute with Indian Service officials on the...

    . Last Medal of Honor
    Medal of Honor
    The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is bestowed by the President, in the name of Congress, upon members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her...

     given for Indian Wars campaigns was awarded to Private Oscar Burkard
    Oscar Burkard
    Oscar R. Burkard was a German-American soldier who served in the U.S. Army during the Indian Wars and World War I. In 1898, he received the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Battle of Sugar Point...

     of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment.
  • 1907, Four Corners, Arizona
    Arizona
    Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

    : Two troops of the 5th Cavalry from Fort Wingate
    Fort Wingate
    Fort Wingate is near Gallup, New Mexico. There were two locations in New Mexico that had this name. The first one was located near San Rafael. The current fort was established on the southern edge of the Navajo territory in 1862. The initial purpose of the fort was to control the large Navajo...

     skirmish with armed Navajo men. One Navajo was killed and the rest escaped.
  • March 1909, Crazy Snake Rebellion
    Crazy Snake Rebellion
    The Crazy Snake Rebellion, also known as the Smoked Meat Rebellion or Crazy Snake's War, was an incident in 1909 that at times was viewed as a war between the Creek people and American settlers. It should not be confused with an earlier, bloodless, conflict in 1901 involving much of the same people...

    , Oklahoma
    Oklahoma
    Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

    : Federal officials attack the Muscogee Creeks and allied Freedmen who had violently resisted the government since 1901, headquartered at Hickory ceremonial grounds in Oklahoma. A two-day gun battle seriously wounded leader Chitto Harjo
    Chitto Harjo
    Chitto Harjo was a leader and orator among the traditionalists in the Muscogee Creek Nation in Indian Territory at the turn of the 20th century. He resisted changes which the US government and local leaders wanted to impose to achieve statehood for what became Oklahoma...

     and quelled this rebellion.
  • 1911, Chaco Canyon, New Mexico
    New Mexico
    New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

    : A company of cavalry went from Fort Wingate to quell a possible uprising by Navajo.
  • January 19, 1911, Washoe County
    Washoe County, Nevada
    Washoe County is a county located in the U.S. state of Nevada. The population was 421,407 at the 2010 census. Its county seat is Reno. Washoe County includes the Reno-Sparks metropolitan area.-History:...

    , Nevada
    Nevada
    Nevada is a state in the western, mountain west, and southwestern regions of the United States. With an area of and a population of about 2.7 million, it is the 7th-largest and 35th-most populous state. Over two-thirds of Nevada's people live in the Las Vegas metropolitan area, which contains its...

    : The Last Massacre occurred. A group of Shoshone
    Shoshone
    The Shoshone or Shoshoni are a Native American tribe in the United States with three large divisions: the Northern, the Western and the Eastern....

    s and Bannocks killed four ranchers. On February 26, 1911 eight of the natives involved in the Last Massacre were killed by a posse in the Battle of Kelley Creek
    Battle of Kelley Creek
    The Battle of Kelley Creek was one of the last armed conflicts between the United States and native Americans during the Indian wars era. In January 1911 a small group of Bannocks and Shoshones killed four men in an incident known as the Last Massacre...

    ; the remaining four were captured.
  • March 1914-March 15, 1915, Bluff War
    Bluff War
    The Bluff War, also known as Posey War of 1915, or the Polk and Posse War, was one of the last armed conflicts between the United States and native Americans. It began in March of 1914 and was the result of an incident between a Utah shepherd and Tse-ne-gat, the son of the Paiute Chief Polk...

     in Utah between Ute natives and Mormon settlers.
  • January 9, 1918, Bear Valley
    Bear Valley
    Bear Valley may refer to:United States* Bear Valley, San Bernardino County, California, USA* Bear Valley, Arizona a valley in Santa Cruz County, Arizona* Bear Valley, Alpine County, California, USA...

    , Arizona
    Arizona
    Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

    : The Battle of Bear Valley
    Battle of Bear Valley
    The Battle of Bear Valley was a small engagement between the revolutionary Yaqui natives and the United States Army on January 9, 1918 in southern Arizona. This skirmish is widely recognized as the final battle of the American Indian Wars.-Background:...

     was fought in Southern Arizona
    Arizona
    Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

    . United States Army forces of the 10th Cavalry engaged and captured a band of Yaquis, after a brief firefight.
  • March 20–23, 1923, Posey War
    Posey War
    The Posey War, also known as the Last Indian Uprising and several other names, occurred in March of 1923 and may be considered the final Indian War in American history. Though it was a minor conflict, it involved a mass exodus of Ute and Paiute native Americans from their land around Bluff, Utah to...

     in Utah between Ute and Paiute natives against Mormon settlers.

Historiography

In American history books, the Indian Wars have often been treated as a relatively minor part of the military history of the United States and were long treated from the point of view of European Americans. Only in the last few decades of the 20th century did a significant number of historians begin to include the American Indian point of view in their writings about the wars, dealing more objectively with the US government's failures and emphasizing the impact of the wars on native peoples and their cultures.

A well-known and influential book in popular history was Dee Brown
Dee Brown (novelist)
Dorris Alexander "Dee" Brown was an American novelist and historian.His most famous work, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee details some of the violence and oppression suffered by Native Americans at the hands of American expansionism.-Life:Born in Alberta, Louisiana, a sawmill town, Brown grew up in...

's Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by American writer Dee Brown is a history of Native Americans in the American West in the late nineteenth century. He describes the people's displacement through forced relocations and years of warfare waged by the United States federal government...

(1970). In academic history
Academic history
An academic history can mean a large, multivolume work such as the Cambridge Modern History, written collaboratively under some central editorial control....

, Francis Jennings
Francis Jennings
Francis Jennings was an American historian, best known for his works on the colonial history of the United States.Jennings taught at Cedar Crest College....

's The Invasion of America: Indians, Colonialism, and the Cant of Conquest (New York: Norton, 1975) was notable for challenging traditional portrayal of the wars between the indigenous peoples and colonists, and the later American pioneers in the West. Many more histories have been written since then that reflect new thinking about the conflicts.

See also

  • Mexican Indian Wars
    Mexican Indian Wars
    The Mexican Indian Wars refer to the conflicts fought between Spanish, or Mexican, forces and Mexican Indians. The period began in 1519 during Hernán Cortés' conquest of the Aztec Empire and continued to 1933 during the Caste War in Yucatan against the Maya....

  • Australian frontier wars
    Australian frontier wars
    The Australian frontier wars were a series of conflicts fought between Indigenous Australians and European settlers. The first fighting took place in May 1788 and the last clashes occurred in the early 1930s. Indigenous fatalities from the fighting have been estimated as at least 20,000 and...

    , comparable events in Australian history
    History of Australia
    The History of Australia refers to the history of the area and people of Commonwealth of Australia and its preceding Indigenous and colonial societies. Aboriginal Australians are believed to have first arrived on the Australian mainland by boat from the Indonesian archipelago between 40,000 to...

  • Captives in American Indian Wars
    Captives in American Indian Wars
    Treatment applied to captives in the American Indian Wars was specific to the local culture of each tribe. Captive adults might be killed, while children were, most of time, kept alive and adopted...

  • Indian Campaign Medal
    Indian Campaign Medal
    The Indian Campaign Medal is a decoration established by War Department General Orders 12, 1907. The medal was retroactively awarded to any soldier of the U.S...

  • Manifest destiny
    Manifest Destiny
    Manifest Destiny was the 19th century American belief that the United States was destined to expand across the continent. It was used by Democrat-Republicans in the 1840s to justify the war with Mexico; the concept was denounced by Whigs, and fell into disuse after the mid-19th century.Advocates of...

  • Native American conflicts, wars, battles, expeditions and campaigns.
  • New Zealand land wars
    New Zealand land wars
    The New Zealand Wars, sometimes called the Land Wars and also once called the Māori Wars, were a series of armed conflicts that took place in New Zealand between 1845 and 1872...

  • Red River Rebellions
  • North-West Rebellion
    North-West Rebellion
    The North-West Rebellion of 1885 was a brief and unsuccessful uprising by the Métis people of the District of Saskatchewan under Louis Riel against the Dominion of Canada...

  • Zulu War

Further reading

  • Barnes, Jeff. Forts of the Northern Plains: Guide to Historic Military Posts of the Plains Indian Wars. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2008. ISBN 0-8117-3496-X.
  • Ray Hoard Glassley: Indian Wars of the Pacific Northwest, Binfords & Mort, Portland, Oregon 1972 ISBN 0-8323-0014-4
  • Greene, Jerome A. Indian War Veterans: Memories of Army Life and Campaigns in the West, 1864–1898. New York: Savas Beatie, 2007. ISBN 1-932714-26-X. Available online through the Washington State Library's Classics in Washington History collection.
  • McDermott, John D. A Guide to the Indian Wars of the West. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1998. ISBN 0-8032-8246-X.
  • Michno, Gregory F. "Deadliest Indian War in the West: The Snake Conflict, 1864–1868", 360 pages, Caxton Press, 2007, ISBN 0-87004-460-5.
  • Stannard, David. American Holocaust: Columbus and the Conquest of the New World. Oxford, 1992

External links

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