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North America discovered by the Europeans in the seventeenth century, when they had 1,500 warriors. They occupied the region between the Yadkin and Catawba rivers, on each side of the boundary-line between North and South Carolina. They were southward of the Tuscaroras, and were generally on good terms with them. They were brave, but not warlike, and generally acted on the defensive. In 1672 they expelled the fugitive Shawnees; but their country was desolated by bands of the Five Nations in 1701. They assisted the Carolinians against the Tuscaroras and their confederates in 1711; but four years afterwards they joined the powerful league of the Southern Indians in endeavors to extirpate the white people. A long and virulent war was carried on between them and the Iroquois. The English endeavored to bring peace between them, and succeeded. When, in 1751, William Bull, commissioner for South Carolina, attended a convention at Albany, he was attended by the chief sachem of the Catawbas and several chiefs. The hatred between the two nations was so bitter that the English commissioners deemed it prudent to keep the Catawbas alone in a chamber until the opening of the convention, to prevent violence. In the convention, after a speech by Mr. Bull, attended by the usual presents of wampum, the Catawba “king” and his chiefs approached the grand council, singing a song of peace, and bearing their ensigns—colored feathers carried horizontally. A seat was prepared for them at the right hand of the English company. The singers continued their song, half fronting the old sachems to whom their words were addressed, pointing their feathers, and shaking their musical calabashes, while their “king” was preparing and lighting the calumet, or pipe of peace. The king first smoked, and then presented the pipe to King Hendrick, of the Mohawks, who gracefully accepted and smoked it. Then each sachem smoked it in turn, when the Catawba monarch addressed the Six Nations—the singers having fastened their feathers, calabashes, and pipes to their tent-pole. The Catawbas were again the active allies of the Carolinians in 1760, when the Cherokees made war upon them, and were friends of the “pale faces” ever afterwards. In the Revolution they joined the Americans, though few in numbers. They have occupied a reservation only a few miles square upon the Catawba River, near the mouth of Fishing Creek, and are now nearly extinct.
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