The Iroquois Confederacy: How The Revolutionary War Broke A Centuries-Old Alliance

By | November 29, 2019

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Council meeting of the Iroquois Confederacy. (Photo by H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock/Getty Images)

The original Iroquois Confederacy, called the Five Nations, was an arrangement between the Seneca, Mohawk, Oneida, Cayuga, and Onondaga tribes. By all accounts, it was an ideal organization. The individual tribes retained their own traditions and cultures but could count on the other tribes in times of war, dispute, hunting, and celebration. However, the Revolutionary War broke apart this centuries-old alliance, effectively ending the Iroquois's dominance in the New World. Let's look at how that happened. 

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The Iroquois Confederacy was a strong alliance. (

Iroquois Strong

The Iroquois Confederacy was based in what is now New York. It's not clear when it was formed, but by the time European settlers showed up, it was already a well-established institution. It was no accident that it lasted so long: The alliance allowed the different tribes to maintain control over their territories and hunting grounds without worrying about disputes with the other tribes.