The Adirondack region was a key geographic landmark in the early patterns of warfare that were held in the Americas. Warfare was the ultimate conflict resolution thoroughly engrained in the cultures of both Europeans and American Indians. The conflict came quickly with the intersection of the distinct cultures. It pinned tribes against one another, tribes against European nations and Europeans against Europeans. As time went on, the nature of the warfare changed drastically. What started as small conflicts over trade grew to involve national political endeavors as the Europeans took control of the American land. Then, again the motive of warfare shifted to eliminating the strong European influence and forming a united nation of colonists wanting freedom. By the end of the 18th century, these wars had decided the ownership of the park and dictated the governance for years to come.
The attraction to this region had much to with the fertile lands that the Champlain Valley provided (“History of Lake Champlain”). In the midst of a European agricultural revolution, the lands surrounding the Adirondacks were valued by settlers looking to start a successful agriculturally based society. Because this land was so valuable, it was what caused much early conflict that was primarily based on natural resources. These lands were also important because they served as a crossroads between settlers coming west to meet American Indian tribes and the British and French conflicts on the north/south axis (Bellico, 16-17). Because the Adirondack terrain was so difficult to cross, this ultimately brought the battles to the borders of where the park is today, primarily on the water. Moreover, this shaped the necessary strategy of the war, favoring the side with the stronger navy (Jenkins, 69). These wars are significant for the progress of the Adirondack region because of their political decisiveness and historical narrative.
The conflict in the region originated in the beaver trade. Europeans developed trading patterns with local tribes for beaver pelts (Schneider, 32). Competition spread between the tribes, especially for the Iroquois nation who fought to obtain and sustain a monopoly over the trading. On the other side of things, European nations fought to decide who would acquire the furs from the Native American tribes.
The result of this building conflict: over 150 years of war that didn’t get resolved until the 19th century. As the Europeans transitioned into their superior role in America over the Indians, they couldn’t find a balance within the clashing cultures (Jenkins, 69). Conflict turned largely political since the tribes didn’t have as much of a say in the happenings around them. Lake Champlain and Lake George were large landmarks in the battles since control over these waterways meant control over trade and usually the upper hand in war (“History of Lake Champlain”). These naval battles required complex strategy. Success came to those with quick and powerful ships and those who targeted major forts along the water-pass. Ultimately, war ceased with the growth of the American Nation’s prosperity. The United States has housed the Adirondack park until present day. This political stability provided the solution to the first of many problems to grace themselves upon the Adirondack scope.
Bellico, Russell P. Chronicles of Lake Champlain: Journeys in War and Peace. Fleischmanns (N.Y.): Purple Mountain, 1999. Print.
“History of Lake Champlain.” Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. Web.
Jenkins, Jerry, and Andy Keal. The Adirondack Atlas: A Geographic Portrait of the Adirondack Park. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse UP, 2004. Print.
Schneider, Paul. The Adirondacks: A History of America’s First Wilderness. New York: H. Holt, 1997. Print.