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Tuscarora War (1711-1715)

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, a local Native American tribe. A treaty was signed in 1715.

The first successful and permanent settlement of North Carolina by Europeans began in earnest in 1653. The Tuscarora lived in peace with the European settlers who arrived in North Carolina for over 50 years at a time when nearly every other colony in America was actively involved in some form of conflict with the Native Americans. However, the arrival of the settlers was ultimately disastrous for the original inhabitants of North Carolina.

There were two primary contingents of Tuscarora at this point, a Northern group led by Chief Tom Blunt and a Southern group led by Chief Hancock. Chief Blunt occupied the area around what is present-day Bertie County on the Roanoke River; Chief Hancock was closer to New Bern, occupying the area south of the Pamplico River (now the Pamlico River). While Chief Blunt became close friends with the Blount family of the Bertie region, Chief Hancock found his villages raided and his people frequently kidnapped and sold into slavery. Both groups were heavily impacted by the introduction of European diseases, and both were rapidly having their lands stolen by the encroaching settlers. Ultimately, Chief Hancock felt there was no alternative but to attack the settlers. Tom Blunt did not become involved in the war at this point.

The Southern Tuscarora, led by Chief Hancock, worked in conjunction with the Pamplico Indians, the Cothechneys, the Cores, the Mattamuskeets and the Matchepungoes to attack the settlers in a wide range of locations in a short time period. Principle targets were the planters on the Roanoke River, the planters on the Neuse and Trent Rivers and the city of Bath. The first attacks began on September 22nd, 1711, and hundreds of settlers were ultimately killed. Several key political figures were either killed or driven off in the subsequent months.

Governor Edward Hyde called out the militia of North Carolina, and secured the assistance of the Legislature of South Carolina, who provided “six hundred militia and three hundred and sixty Indians under Col. Barnwell”. This force attacked the Southern Tuscarora and other tribes in Craven County at Fort Narhantes on the banks of the Neuse River in 1712. The Tuscarora were “defeated with great slaughter; more than three hundred savages were killed, and one hundred made prisoners.” These prisoners were largely women and children, who were ultimately sold into slavery.

Chief Blunt was then offered the chance to control the entire Tuscarora tribe if he assisted the settlers in putting down Chief Hancock. Chief Blunt was able to capture Chief Hancock, and the settlers executed him in 1712. In 1713 the Southern Tuscaroras lost Fort Neoheroka, with 900 killed or captured.

It was at this point that the majority of the Southern Tuscarora began migrating to New York to escape the settlers in North Carolina.

The remaining Tuscarora signed a treaty with the settlers in June 1718 granting them a tract of land on the Roanoke River in what is now Bertie County. This was the area already occupied by Tom Blunt, and was specified as 56,000 acres (227 km²); Tom Blunt, who had taken on the name Blount, was now recognized by the Legislature of North Carolina as King Tom Blount. The remaining Southern Tuscarora were removed from their homes on the Pamlico River and made to move to Bertie. In 1722 Bertie County was chartered, and over the next several decades the remaining Tuscorara lands were continually diminished as they were sold off in deals that were frequently designed 

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