Walking Purchase (American Indians Ready Reference)
Article abstract: Pennsylvania's acquisition of Native American land enhances Iroquois dominance over eastern Pennsylvania tribes.
The first half of the eighteenth century was a time of profound population growth in Pennsylvania. Europeans, especially Scotch-Irish and German settlers, came into the colony in unprecedented numbers. The steadily expanding population put considerable pressure on the provincial government to make additional acreage available for settlement. The demand for land also created potentially lucrative opportunities for aggressive speculators, particularly speculators who also served as provincial officials. Such was the case with those who initiated the 1737 Walking Purchase.
The Lenni Lenape, or Delaware as they were also known, were among the first Native American tribes to negotiate with William Penn. At the time that Pennsylvania was founded, the Lenni Lenape occupied much of the land between the Delaware and Susquehanna Rivers. Penn's policies toward the Lenni Lenape were more benevolent than were the tribal policies of most colonial administrators. Penn generally recognized native land rights and usually was tolerant of the native lifestyle.
By the 1730's, Pennsylvania settlers along the Delaware River had moved well north of Philadelphia. This was Lenni Lenape territory, and the natives refused to share possession. Some provincial officials, including William Penn's son Thomas,...
(The entire section is 1363 words.)
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