By Eric E. Bowne
The Westo Indians, who lived within the Savannah River quarter throughout the moment half the seventeenth century, are pointed out in few basic records and basically on occasion in secondary literature. There aren't any recognized Westo archaeological websites; no artifacts will be associated with the gang; and less than a unmarried be aware in their language is understood to us this present day. but, from the extant proof, it truly is believed that the Westos, who migrated from round Lake Erie via 1656, had a profound impact at the improvement of the colonial South.
This quantity reproduces excerpts from all 19 records that undoubtedly reference the Westos, even supposing the Europeans noted them by way of a number of names. many of the info used to be written through Lords vendors who by no means met the Westos, or by means of a handful of Carolinians who did. however the writer is ready to chart a hugely believable background of this local staff who, for a interval, thrived at the Southern frontier.
The narrative strains their northeastern origins and the way the Erie conflicts with the 5 international locations Iroquois within the Beaver Wars compelled them southward, the place they discovered new financial possibilities within the profitable slave exchange. on the peak in their impact, among 1659 and 1680, it truly is believed the Westos captured and offered a number of thousand Indians from Spanish Florida, usually buying and selling them for weapons. ultimately, their army virtue over the Indians of the reduce South used to be compromised through the increase of strong confederacies of local peoples, who might collect an identical firearms from the Europeans. even supposing the competitive Westos declined, they'd prompted profound switch within the Southeast. They furthered the death of mainly association, helped to shift the emphasis from agricultural to looking economies, and stimulated the dramatic reduce within the quantity and variety of local polities.
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The Westo Indians: Slave Traders of the Early Colonial South by Eric E. Bowne