By José António Brandão
Why were the Iroquois unrelentingly hostile toward the French colonists and their Native allies? The longstanding "Beaver War" interpretation of seventeenth-century Iroquois-French hostilities holds that the Iroquois' motives were primarily economic, aimed at controlling the profitable fur trade. José António Brandão argues persuasively against this view. Drawing from the original French and English sources, Brandão has compiled a vast array of quantitative data about Iroquois raids and mortality rates. He offers a penetrating examination of seventeenth-century Iroquoian attitudes toward foreign policy and warfare, contending that the Iroquois fought New France not primarily to secure their position in a new market economy but for reasons that traditionally fueled Native warfare: to replenish their populations, safeguard hunting territories, protect their homes, gain honor, and seek revenge.