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Delaware Indians

The name Delaware was given to the Native Americans who lived along the Delaware River, and the river in turn was named after Lord de la Warr, the governor of the Jamestown colony. The name Delaware later came to be applied to almost all the Lenape people. The rought translation of Lenape is "The People." They spoke a form of the Algonquian language and are thus related to the Miami Indians, Ottawa Indians, and Shawnee Indians.

The true name of this once powerful tribe is Wa-be-nugh-ka, that is, "the people from the east." or "the sun rising."

The Delawares are called "Grandfathers" by the other Algonquian tribes because of their belief that the Delawares were among the oldest groups in the Algonquian nation. They were greatly respected by other tribes as peacemakers since they often served to settle disputes among rival tribes

The Delaware were the first Native Americans to meet the Europeans landing on the shores. As more and more colonists moved in to North America, the Delawares drifted westward in search of new land they could call home. As the Delawares moved west, away from the east coast, they encountered the Iroquois Indians, who struggled with the Delawares and drove them even further west. Some Delaware Indians came to live in eastern Ohio along the Muskingum River, while others resided in northwestern Ohio along the Auglaize River.

Once in Ohio, the Delawares grew into a powerful tribe that often resisted the further advances of the Iroquois. Upon arriving in the Ohio Country, the Delawares formed alliances with Frenchmen engaged in the fur trade. The French provided them with European cookware and guns, as well as alcohol, in return for furs.

This alliance was temporary at best, as French and English colonists struggled for control of the Ohio Country beginning in the 1740s. As one European power gained control of the area, the Delawares chose to ally themselves with the stronger party. This was the case until the Treaty of Paris (1763) which ended the French and Indian War. As a result of this war, the French abandoned all of their North American colonies to England. The Delawares thereafter remained loyal to the British and the American colonists until the American Revolution.

Following the American victory in the Revolution, the Delawares struggled against whites as they moved onto the natives' territory. In 1794, General Anthony Wayne defeated the Delawares and other Ohio Indians at the Battle of Fallen Timbers. The natives surrendered most of their Ohio lands with the signing of the Treaty of Greene Ville in 1795. In 1829, the United States forced the Delawares to relinquish their remaining land in Ohio and move west of the Mississippi River.