Quiripi Wars

From Roses, Tulips, & Liberty

The Quiripi Wars were a series of raids, campaigns, ambushes, and minor skirmishes that occurred from 1659 to 1667 between the Iroquois natives and the English-allied Quripi tribe near the English settlements on the frontier. The Dutch from New Netherland and Tussenland had supported the Iroquois in hopes of weakening English presence in the area. While the fighting stretched across the entire period, there were extended periods with of little or no action. The later stage of these wars overlapped with the Second Anglo-Dutch War and was crucial to Dutch victory against the English.


By the time Europeans had begun to settle North America, the five Iroquoian tribes that made up the Iroquois League had become the dominant power in between the St Lawrence and Zuydt Rivers. While small in number, their imperialistic tendencies allowed them to grow and exert tremendous influence amongst their surrounding tribes. Once Europeans arrived, the Iroquois used their power to dominate the fur trade with the Dutch, French, and English. While relations with the three European powers were both cordial and financially empowering at first, competition between the powers and the rapid decline of the beaver population in the region led to the Iroqouis having to take sides and fend for themselves.

Tensions with French hunters and traders along the St Lawrence led to a series of bloody skirmishes beginning in 1609 known as the Beaver Wars. By 1628, after annihilating the Mahicans, the Iroqouis had established a fur trade monopoly with the Dutch at Fort Orange. Both trading partners benefited with this trade, and while the Dutch grew rich, the Iroqouis now had a sufficient supply of arms to combat the French and other Native American tribes. With this combat edge, the Iroquois effectively kept the French out of the Great Lakes region.

Under the leadership of Director-General Peter Stuyvesant, the New Netherlands colony fostered this economic alliance with the Iroqouis to the North. However, following the municipal charter granted to Adriaen van der Donck, the relationship between the two powers began to expand towards armed cooperation. Van der Donck’s government financed Iroqouian expeditions to attack English allied tribes to the east in New England and to the south in Maryland. These raids bolstered the Iroquoian slave population while deterring English colonial settlement in the areas.

The War

In 1659, these raids came to a head during the Quiripi Wars. A small contingent of Iroquois raiders traveled down the Hausetonic and were met by the Quiripi tribe, an ally to English settlers in the region. The Quiripi were quickly overwhelmed, ending in catastrophe. In response, English colonists attacked the Dutch trading fort at the mouth of the Hausetonic and were quickly either repelled or captured by Nicolaes Manusz, the leader of the patroonship where this attack had happened. Manusz then took the prisoners he had captured and brought them to their settlements where he allowed them to watch as his men burned their homes and churches down. After a few weeks of infrequent fighting, the colonists of both New Netherland, and New England signed a truce in the town of Milford. Under this truce, the Dutch would no longer trade with the Iroquois east of Greenwich, and the English would no longer settle new land and make new settlements east of the Fresh River.

In 1661, the Iroquois again ventured into English territory to attack tribes allied to the colonists, but this time in Maryland. Their attacks pushed the Conestoga tribe south to the Zuyd River where they caused chaos amongst newly settled lands. Simultaneously, the Dutch used the opportunity to relocate the Lenape south and westwards towards the Chesapeake Bay. Afterwards, the Dutch agreed to pressure the Iroquois to end their raids.

In 1664, after the start of the Second Anglo-Dutch War, the Iroquois were again used by their Dutch allies to attack English lands in both Maryland and New England, proving to be a pivotal role in causing the Dutch colonies of New Netherland to end up as the victors. In the resulting Treaty of Breda in 1667, New Netherland expanded south to the Zuyd River and East to the Fresh River. Following the war, with the Dutch no longer financing raids into the neighboring English colonies, the Iroquois began to cause chaos in French settlements across the St Lawrence, igniting a new wave of the Beaver Wars, culminating in 1669 when the Iroquois captured Montreal and slaughtered its remaining inhabitants. Their advance thereafter was halted at Trois Rivieres where the advancing army was ambushed and annihilated. The French would soon retake Montreal, but after a devastating defeat, and unable to advance any further into the expansive American interior.