The first Europeans to enter the Indiana country were from France. René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, is the first European known to have crossed the region. La Salle passed through northern Indiana on his way from Canada to the Mississippi River in 1679. By 1710 the French had won the friendship of the local peoples and were carrying on an active fur trade with them. Shortly after 1715, the French built a fortified trading post, Fort des Miamis (Fort Miami), at a principal Miami village, Kekionga, near present-day Fort Wayne. A few years later they built a second post, Fort des Ouyatanons (Fort Ouiatenon), near present-day Lafayette. These two forts and, later, Vincennes became links in a chain of French military posts built to prevent British fur traders from extending their trade into territory claimed by the French.
Vincennes was the first permanent settlement by the French. Its founding date is uncertain, but settlers were there before 1727. A fort was erected at Vincennes about 1732, and in the following years the settlement developed as the major trading post in Indiana. Vincennes also became the most important center of French life in the region.
Rivalry between Great Britain and France in North America led to a series of wars between them in the 18th century, climaxing with the French and Indian War (1754-1763). The Miami were allied with the French in that war. Other native peoples sided with the French or remained neutral. Great Britain won, and in the peace treaty the British gained all of the former French land claims east of the Mississippi River, including Indiana. Within months, British rule was challenged.
A number of Native American groups north of the Ohio River, who resented the arrogance of British traders and feared encroachment by British settlers, formed an alliance to drive them out. They began a large-scale armed conflict, which is called Pontiac’s War (1763-1764) after one of its leaders, a chief of the Ottawa people. In May and June 1763 the alliance captured seven British posts, including both Fort Ouiatenon and Fort Miami, which they destroyed. However, the war failed in its purpose because Pontiac was unable to capture a key post, Fort Detroit. After Pontiac lifted his siege of Fort Detroit in October 1763, some fighting with soldiers and settlers continued into the next year, but the alliance did not organize another campaign. A peace treaty was made in 1765. "Indiana" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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