A fellow blogger asked me recently about “Indian wars” in Canada. And so the next few posts are my replies. Not a complete listing of wars and skirmishes, and definitely over simplified, but enough to get a decent picture, I hope.
Before the 17th century, there were two main conflicts. The first was around the year 1006, between the Norsemen and the Skraeling, at L’Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland. We know this because Helge Marcus Ingstad and his wife, Anne Stine, uncovered the remnants of a Viking settlement in 1960; and from the sagas of Erik the Red; and from indigenous accounts from the Inuit Peoples which tell of the Norse interactions and travels to their land. It proves that the Norsemen were here roughly 500 years before Christopher Columbus and John Cabot.
The second was in the late 1570s, There were skirmishes between English sailors under Martin Frobisher and the Inuit on Baffin Island. Frobisher arranged to have one the Inuit as a guide. Then he sent five men in a boat, telling them to stay a distance away from the Inuit. The crew disobeyed, and were taken captive. Frobisher searched for them, but failed to find them. So he took the guide as a hostage, hoping to make a trade. The men were never seen again, so Frobisher returned home. Inuit legend tells that the men lived among them for a few years until they died attempting to leave Baffin Island in a self-made boat.
My next post will cover skirmishes in the 17th century.