European Contact

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In the early 1600s, a man named Samuel de Champlain was the first French explorer to reach Abenaki soil.  The lake now known as Lake Champlain forms the western border of the Abenaki territory. The statue to the left was erected in honor of Champlain. 

The British settlement of Fort Drummer, established in 1724 in southern Vermont, was the first European settlement in the state. By 1763, large numbers of Europeans began moving into Vermont and settling farther and farther north. 

Photo courtesy of The Abenaki; Calloway


The Abenaki were immediately affected by the invasion of the Europeans. They traded fur for manufactured iron tools such as axes, hatchets, knives, and fish hooks. Brass was also used to make arrow points. Many other European influences were also integrated into their culture. Large numbers of Abenaki were killed by diseases, such as smallpox, contracted from the Europeans.  wpe1.jpg (67872 bytes)
Photo courtesy of The Original Vermonters;   Haviland and Power
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When the French moved into the area, they successfully converted many of the Abenaki into Catholicism by curing some of the tribes members of European diseases.  The Europeans drove out most of the Abenaki who didn't convert to Catholicism. 

The Catholic church pictured to the left was built in 1900 by Abenaki whose ancestors were converted to Christianity.  The church is located in Odanak, Quebec.


Photo courtesy of The Abenaki; Calloway