The Great Trading Path

  Indian History

Overview of VA Siouan History

Original Source documents online:

 Bacon's Rebellion

 17th c. Colonial Records

Tuscarora Path Valley

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Virginia Indian History

North Carolina Indian History

~ Bacon's Rebellion ~

~ Executive Journal of Colonial Council ~

~Tuscarora Path Valley ~

Although there were many 'Great Trading Paths" in the country, the one we are honoring stretched from present-day Petersburg to Cheraw, SC. It was part of the larger Great Trading Path, that stretched from Maine all the way to Florida.  Likely Gabriel Arthur used it during his captivity by the Cherokee.  His accounts illustrate how very mobile and well-travelled these Woodland Indians were.

Highway 1 and I95 now follow much of its path.  It is fascinating to know that one of the more fixed physical features in history are roads.  Rarely do they change much at all  Many occupy the same, exact spot they did hundreds of years ago.  In the Piedmont of North Carolina and Virginia Highway One sits on the same dirt the Great Trading Path sat on.  It's simply a re-naming.  

Please peruse our articles on Indian history and heritage, We have input a number of original source historical documents on Native American history, focusing on the Siouan tribes of the Piedmont.

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Bacon's Rebellion -- We have digitized the original source documents concerning this event.  Currently, there is a revival of interest. It is being referred to as the beginning of the racial polarization of American racism, as the British people who had been heavily exploited in the early history of the colony were 'promoted' to the 'slave-driver' class and those from Africa relegated to the bottom caste.  A 'divide and conquer' balkanization was set out behind this rebellion.  Our focus, however, was on the genocide that was committed against the Natives, particularly the Siouan people of the Piedmont.  The land promised the British indentured servants was actually Indian land, and the way was cleared to deliver it by eliminating those tribes.  

The Story of the Great Trading Path — The Siouan people of the Virginia/North Carolina Piedmont are largely ignored by history. They had a political importance in the last half of the 17th century. No British trade goods could pass into the interior of the continent without first passing through the merchant middlemen of the Yesah people (Occoneechi, Saponi, Tutelo, Monacan, Stuckenock). They were soon to be casualties of the great Beaver Wars, which were in fact an arms race. Tribes faced an inexorable reality. Those were possessed the most and best guns were likely to survive. In a desparate bid for survival, the Virginia Siouan attempted to hold their own in this struggle, but were soon to be assaulted on all sides by the British, the Seneca, and the Susquehanna. We try to piece together this story, here.

Executive Journals of the Virginia Colonial Council Project  — One of the best original sources revealing the marginalization of the Indian tribes in Virginia. Volume One is published here, with all entries that were present in the index pertaining to Indians. It covers the period from 1680 to 1699.

Tuscarora Path Valley in Colonial PA — Originally a North Carolina confederation of tribes, which began migrating north to become the Sixth nation of the League of the Iroquois with the climax of the Tuscarora War in 1713. This rare article indicates a previously overlooked location in PA where a sizeable Tuscarora population lived for a generation or more. Their presence there was significant enough that the colonial government expelled white squatters rather than alienate the League prior to the French and Indian war.

Useful Links

Listing of tribes, including some southeastern, with informative links

Excavating Occoneechee Town — Archeology of an 18th Century Indian Village


Website by Linda Keres Carter