During the 17th and 18th centuries, the Ohio River Valley proved to be a rich agrarian region. Many different Native American peoples prospered from its land both in terms of the the land’s ability to produce a wide variety of crops and its support of a wide variety of small fur-bearing animals for the fur trade.
Susan Sleeper-Smith, a Professor of History at Michigan State University and author of Indigenous Prosperity and American Conquest: Indian Women and the Ohio River Valley, 1690-1792, helps us explore this unique region and the important roles it played in the early American past.
About the Show
Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.
It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.
Each episode features a conversation with a historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.
Ben Franklin’s World is a production of the Omohundro Institute.
Susan Sleeper-Smith, a Professor of History at Michigan State University and author of Indigenous Prosperity and American Conquest: Indian Women and the Ohio River Valley, 1690-1792, helps us explore the Ohio River Valley and Great Lakes region and the important roles they played in the early American past.
During our foray into the 17th- and 18th-century Ohio River Valley and Great Lakes region, Susan reveals why the Ohio River Valley proved to be such a unique, lush, and fertile area for agriculture; The role of the fur trades in connecting the Ohio River Valley with the Great Lakes region; And, how American conquest of the Ohio River Valley altered the region’s prosperity after the American Revolution.
What You’ll Discover
- The Ohio River Valley between the late 17th and early 18th centuries
- Native American peoples who lived in the Ohio River Valley
- The fertility of the Ohio River Valley landscape
- How historians can learn about landscapes from earlier eras
- European arrival in the Ohio River Valley
- The role of Native American women in maintaining agriculture and culture
- Native American life and the early fur trade at Green Bay
- The early American fur trade
- Why French King Louis XIV closed the French fur trade in 1697
- The fur trade as a trade in commercial cloth
- The cloth Native American women traded for
- What happened when the French reopened their fur trade
- The Ohio River Valley and Great Lakes fur trade after 1763
- American conquest of the region
- George Washington’s order to kidnap Ohio River Valley women and children
- Indigenous prosperity after the American conquest of the Ohio River Valley
Links to People, Places, and Publications
- Susan Sleeper-Smith
- D’Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies
- Newberry Library
- Jane Mt. Pleasant
- Michael McDonnell, Masters of Empire: Great Lakes Indians and the Making of America
- Indian Women and French Men: Rethinking Cultural Encounter in the Western Great Lakes
- Indigenous Prosperity and American Conquest: Indian Women of the Ohio River Valley, 1690-1792
- Omohundro Institute
- Institute for Thomas Paine Studies
- Follow the Institute for Thomas Paine Studies on Twitter (@TheITPS)
- Episode 029: Colin Calloway, The Victory With No Name: The Native American Defeat of the First American Army
- Episode 051: Catherine Cangany, Frontier Seaport: A History of Early Detroit
- Episode 064: Brett Rushforth, Native American Slavery in New France
- Episode 088: Michael McDonnell, The History of History Writing
- Episode 102: William Nester, George Rogers Clark & the Fight for the Illinois Country
- Episode 162: Dunmore’s New World: The British Empire and the American Revolution
- Episode 184: David Silverman, Thundersticks: Firearms and the Violent Transformation of Native America
In your opinion, what might have happened if the French had not banned the fur trade in 1697 and had instead remained active in the fur trade, how would the history of the Ohio River Valley and the Great Lakes region be different?
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