Languages: Munsee, Unami, Unilatchtigo
Family: Eastern Algonquian
Stock: Algonquian
Phylum: Algic
Macro-Culture: Eastern Woodlands
Speakers None
       The Delaware were a sedentary hunter/ farmer language family. They occupied all of New Jersey, the western end of Long Island, all of Manhattan and Staten Islands, southeastern New York west of the Hudson, and parts of eastern Pennsylvania and northern Delaware. The Unami lived in the northwestern portion of their territory and the Unlatchtigo, the southern. The Munsee occupied the intermediate territory. Conflicts with Whites and neighbor nations forced several relocations and resulted in large reductions in population. They ultimately settled in several locations.
Aboriginal Locations: Subdivisions (Subtribes)
DE    Unilatchtigo (11)
NJ     Munsee, Unilatchtigo, Unami (10)
NY   Munsee, Unami (11)
PA    Unilatchtigo (5)
Present Locations
OK    Delaware Indian Tribe of Western Oklahoma, Anadarko
          Delaware (Lenape) Indian Tribe of Oklahoma, Bartlesville
ON    Delaware of Grand River
          Muncee Delaware Nation, Muncey
          Munsee Delaware Nation 1
WI     Stockbridge-Munsee Reservation, Bowler
Year History
1524 Giovanni da Verrazano entered New York harbor through the strait which bears his name
1609 Henry Hudson explored Delaware Bay
1613 Dutch opened their first trading post (Fort Nassau) on Castle Island just south of Albany
1617 Dutch abandoned Fort Nassau due to war with Mahican and Mohawk
1624 Dutch brought 30 families to the area and built a new post (Fort Orange) at Albany
1625 Pieter Minuit, governor of New Netherlands, purchased Manhattan from the Metoac tribe [?] and built Fort Amsterdam
1626 Unami and Unalactigo attacked by the smaller Susquehannock driving them into New Jersey and Delaware
1628 Several of the northern Munsee groups were conquered by the Mohawk and forced to pay tribute
1629 Dutch purchased land on Delaware Bay from the Unalactigo
1631 Dutch purchased a second parcel at Cape May (southeast New Jersey) and started a small settlement (Swanendael); a Dutch colonist killed a Lenape sachem, and the Sickoneysinck retaliated by killing all of the 32 Dutch colonists
1635 Smallpox epidemics (1635-1638)
1638 Swedes arrived on lower Delaware River; the fighting had ended
1639 Dutch governor Kieft demanded and received a tribute of corn from a Unami village
1640 Kieft attacked Raritan Unami on Staten Island with 100 men in retaliation for stolen pigs (likely actually stolen by other Dutch) killing severral Raritan and taking a sachem hostage; "Pig War" Raritan retaliated by burning a plantation and killing four field hands
1643 Wappinger War (Governor Kieft's War, 1643-45).a number of Delaware tribes while the English aided the Dutch
1645 Peace signed at Fort Orange
1651 Dutch purchased Lenape land from the Susquehannock; Susquehannock war with the Mohawk dragged the Delaware into the conflict
1654 Smallpox epidemics (1654-1657)
1655 Dutch captured New Sweden; peace ensued
1659 First Esopus War (1659-60), Esopus attacked the Dutch settlements in the Esopus Valley, prisoners were burned alive, and the colonists besieged for three weeks; tribe retreated to the mountains after the arrival of 200 men
1660 Dutch destroyed the Esopus fort near Wiltmeet; captured men sold a slaves in Carribean
1663 Esopus attacked Dutch settlements (Second Esopus War 1663-64) killing 24 and taking 45 captives at Wiltwyck
1664 Combined Seneca and Mohawk attack destroyed several Munsee villages killing hundreds until the Esopus made peace with the Dutch; English fleet captured New Amsterdam
1666 Connecticut Puritans founded Newark and began expanding into New Jersey; Unilatchtigo had been absorbed by the Unami
1673 Lenape sold some of their northern New Jersey lands to the English
1675 Iroquois defeated the Susquehannock resulting in the Delaware becoming part of the "Covenant Chain"
1677 Iroquois allowed the Munsee to sell large tracts of land to French Huguenots
1682 Charles II granted Pennsylvania to a religious dissenter, William Penn
1732 All that remained of the Lenape homeland was a small part of New Jersey and the Lehigh Valley (Allentown) in northeast Pennsylvania
1737 Pennsylvania authorities "found" the infamous Walking Purchase agreement, a treaty supposedly signed in 1686 in which the Lenape ceded the land between the junction of Delaware and Lehigh Rivers as far west as a man could walk in a day and a half (about 40 miles
1740 Most of the Munsee moved west to Pennsylvania's Wyoming Valley where Moravian missionaries began work among them
1742 Iroquois evicted the Unami from their lands and forced them to move west; angered by the Walking Purchase and Iroquois insults, small groups of Delaware also left the Susquehanna, without Iroquois permission
1751 Delaware had split into two groups: those in the west along the upper Ohio River; and the Munsee and about one-third of the Unami who had remained on the upper Susquehanna or the Wyoming Valley in the east.
1754 Pennsylvania seized and hanged a Delaware-Shawnee delegation sent to protest the Iroquois sale of Ohio; Delaware and Shawnee attacks on the Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia frontiers followed
1755 Munsee attacked the Moravian mission at Gnadenhuetten (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) massacring 11 missionaries; the Delaware and their allies began attacking the frontiers of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York; colonial militia under Colonel John Armstrong attacked and burned the principal Delaware village of Kittaning on the Allegheny River, most escaped
1757 Munsee raided Orange and Duchess Counties in New York and the frontier in northern New Jersey
1758 Munsee attacked Walpack, New Jersey; Second Treaty of Easton provided for payments for the Munsee and Pompton lands taken by New Jersey without compensation; a 3,000 acre reservation at Brotherton
1759 Fort Pitt Treaty, the Delaware were holding more than 600 white prisoners at a Caughnawaga (Christian Iroquois) village on the Ohio River, almost half of the white captives refused repatriation and stayed with the Delaware and Shawnee
1761 Delaware Prophet, Neolin (The Enlightened) from a village near the Ohio River, rged the rejection of the white man's trade goods (especially rum) and a return to traditional native culture and values; his teachings gained a large following among the Delaware and Pontiac of the Ottawa
1763 Ottawa were French allies, Pontiac's acceptance of Neolin's new religion provided a basis for the Delaware, Shawnee and Mingo to unite with the tribes of the French alliance against the British in what has been called the Pontiac Conspiracy; the rebellion captured nine of the twelve British forts west of the Appalachians; Delaware, Shawnee, and Mingo surrounded Fort Pitt cutting if off from the outside world and then attacked the Pennsylvania frontier killing 600 colonists; tribes at Fort Pitt given smallpox laden blankets [?] starting epidemic; a bloody two-day battle at Bushy Run just east of Pittsburgh, Colonel Henry Bouquet defeated a Delaware, Shawnee, and Mingo ambush and reached Fort Pitt; settlers burned a Delaware village in Wyoming Valley; a Delaware party then killed 26 colonists near Allentown; 140 Christian Delaware were confine to a warehouse for more than a year with 56 dying of smallpox
1764 Preliminary peace treaty at Presque Isle (Erie, PA); the British rejected the treaty until Delaware and Shawnee signed a peace with the British at Coshocton and released the 200 white prisoners they were holding; the last of the Pennsylvania Delaware left for Ohio
1771 Delaware obtained permission from the Miami to settle in Indiana
1772 Moravian missionaries  followed 400 of their Delaware converts to Ohio and built three missions along the Tuscarawas and Muskingum Rivers
1774 Delaware chief Bald Eagle was ambushed by vigilantes, scalped, and his body placed upright in a sitting position in his canoe to float down the river to his tribesmen
1775 Traditional Delaware had accepted the Moravian villages as equal members
1777 Treaty at Fort Pitt between Delaware and United States
1779 General John Sullivan's campaign against the Iroquois in which Munsee villages were also destroyed, and they retreated to southern Ontario; when the war ended, most stayed in Canada and did not return to the United States
1780 Most of the Delaware had joined British Captain Pipe at Pluggys Town; the only neutral Delaware were the Moravians; Pennsylvania volunteers from Washington County, Pennsylvania commanded by Colonel David Williamson decided to execute the Moravian Delaware in two slaughter houses where  90 Christian Delaware - 29 men, 27 women, and 34 children - were taken inside in small groups and beaten to death with wooden mallets; Colonel William Crawford was burned at the stake to atone for the Gnadenhuetten Massacre
1783 Delaware moved most of their villages in east-central Ohio to northwestern Ohio and southern Indiana; the British formed an alliance to keep the Americans out of Ohio including Delaware,  Miami, Wyandot, Iroquois, Kickapoo, Fox, Sauk, Shawnee, Ottawa, Ojibwe, Chickamauga (Cherokee), and Potawatomi
1784 Some of the Delaware and Shawnee peace factions separated from the militants and moved to Ste. Genevieve, Missouri in Spanish Louisiana
1785 Delaware, Ojibwe, Ottawa and Wyandot signed the Treaty of Fort McIntosh acknowledging American sovereignty in Ohio; Fort McIntosh Treaty did not receive the approval of the majority of the Delaware, and as a result, Captain Pipe was replaced by Big Cat; fighting resumed
1790 Moravian Delaware left Ohio for southern Ontario
1792 Established Moravians of the Thames
1793 Baron de Carondelet, the Spanish governor of Louisiana, made a formal land grant (25 miles square) at Cape Girardeau to the Missouri Shawnee and Delaware
1795 Fort Greenville Treaty ceded all of Ohio except the northwest corner and left the Delaware without land, with the exception of Captain Pipe's small band on the upper Sandusky; others relocated to present Muncie on Miami land
1803 Delaware ceded part of their land in southern Indiana
1806 Tenskwatawa, the Shawnee prophet, denounced all who disagreed with him as witches and began having them killed including a large number of Delaware, particularly Christian converts
1808 William Anderson (Kecklawhenund) became Delaware chief and was opposed to Tecumseh and the Prophet
1813 Moravians of the Thames village burned down by the American Army; Harrison moved the Delaware from Indiana to Piqua, Ohio
1814 Delaware returned to Indiana from Piqua where they were joined by a group of Stockbridge from New York
1815 Most of the Cape Girardeau Delaware and Shawnee (Absentee Delaware and Shawnee) had left for Texas where they were welcomed by Spanish government as a defense against Comanche raiders
1818 St. Marys Treaty ceded their Indiana lands and they agreed to move west of the Mississippi
1822 The Brothertons sold their remaining lands in New York and moved to a reservation established for the Oneida near Green Bay
1824 Delaware hunting party was attacked by Osage in Missouri
1826 Delaware and Kickapoo united against the Osage after a raid
1829 Ohio Delaware ceded their reserve and agreed to join the Delaware west of the Mississippi; Delaware on the James Fork agree to exchange their Missouri lands for a new reserve in northeast Kansas just north of the Shawnee to find that much of the land belonged to the Pawnee
1831 Delaware hunting party on the plains was attacked by Pawnee warriors
1832 Pawnee attacked another Delaware hunting party killing a chief; the Delaware burned the main Pawnee village on the Republican River; Ohio Delaware joined the other Delaware in Kansas
1835 Delaware hunting party killed 12 Pawnee they caught trying to steal their horses
1837 Two groups of Moravian Munsee also left their reserve in southern Ontario and emigrated to Kansas; eighty-seven Delaware enlisted in the American army and served in the Seminole War
1841 Delaware hunting party attacked: by Santee Sioux near Des Moines, Iowa
1843 Sold some Kansas land to the Wyandot; Absentee Delaware (Red River Delaware) were moved to a reservation with the Caddo and Tonkawa on the upper Brazos River, Texas
1845 Delaware hunting party attacked by Sioux and Cheyenne on the Smokey Hill River in Kansas
1850 Delaware, Shawnee and Kickapoo oined the Potawatomi during a brief war between the emigrant tribes
1852 Delaware hunting party attacked by Sioux on the upper Platte
1854 Munsee chose to join the Swan Creek and Black River bands of the Ojibwe near Ottawa, Kansas
1856 A separate reserve was created for the Stockbridge, Brotherton, and Munsee on land purchased from the Menominee in Wisconsin
1859 Much of Ottawa, Kansas lands lost to allotment; many Muncee returned to Canada
1860 Delaware signed the Treaty of Sarcoxieville agreeing to allot their remaining lands
1861 170 of the 200 able-bodied Delaware men of military ages served in the Union Army, mainly in the 6th and 15th Kansas Volunteer Cavalry
1862 Kansas Delaware and Shawnee attacked the Wichita Agency in southern Oklahoma which had been seized by the Confederates forcing the Tonkawa who lived there to return to Texas
1863 Kansas legislature called for the removal of all Indians from Kansas
1866 Delaware ceded their remaining lands and most removed to Oklahoma;
1867 Cherokee sold Delaware Oklahoma land for $280,000 and Delaware would become part of the Cherokee Nation
1868 Difficult move to Oklahoma, settled near old enemies the Osage and the Cherokee who fought on the side of the south in the Civil War
1895 Curtis Act dissolved tribal governments
1907 Delaware lands were allotted
1979 BIA terminated the separate tribal status of the Delaware and Shawnee living among Cherokee in eastern Oklahoma in favor of the Cherokee Nation
2005 Termination ruling reversed
Year Total Pop. DE IN NJ NY OH OK ON PA WI Source
1600 8,000                   Mooney estimate
1700 5,000 1,500   1,300 1,500       700   NAHDB calculation
1800 2,400   1,900     500         NAHDB calculation
1900 1,600           300 600   700 NAHDB calculation 
1910 1,600                   Census
2000 13,500           10,000 2,000   1,500 NAHDB calculation 
2005 13,500           10,000 2,000   1,500 Reservation rolls
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Delaware History
Delaware Indians A Brief History
Delaware Indian Road
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Delaware Language Plaque
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Delaware Treaty History
Delaware Tribe of Indians
Delaware Tribe Pursues Bonner Springs Casino
Delaware Tribe seeks land in Kansas for gaming
Delaware (Unami/Lenape)
Eastern Algonquin Language Family Tree
Gathering of the Delaware Nation
Lenape (Delaware) Nation
Lenape Indians
Lenape Language
Lenape  Delaware Indians
Lenape Indians
Lenape Lore
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Lenape Village at Waterloo Village
Lenni Lenape Native Americans
Mirsawokett Indian Community of Delaware
Munsee-Delaware Nation 1, Ontario
Musee Indiian Fact Sheet
Munsee Indian Language ...
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Munsee Indian Tribe History
Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Indian Tribe
Native People of New Jersey
Silent Night in Delaware
Southwestern Wyandotte County History
Stockbridge-Munsee Authors
Stockbridge-Munsee Community
Stockbridge-Munsee History
Treaty with the Delawares - 1778
Unami Indian Tribal History

Last updated 11/07/07  Copyright 2007 by Four Directions Press