Meskwaki History Timeline
First Contact to Present (Use scroll bar at right to view timeline and click on an image to learn more about an era.)
1524 French begin seeking Northwest Passage.
1530 Portuguese colonize Brazil.
1539-1542 Spanish adventurers explore Florida, Grand Canyon, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, eastern Kansas, and up the Mississippi River
1605 Santa Fe, New Mexico, founded.
1626 The Dutch buy the entire island of Manhattan for a reported $24.
1642 New Zealand "discovered"
1665 First documented meeting between French and Meskwaki.
Meskwaki move their main village to Wolf River in Wisconsin during winter of 1665-1666.
Caleb Cheeshat eaumuck, first North American Indian to get an A.B. degree at Harvard.
1666 Band of Meskwakis make trip to Montreal and are mistreated by French Soldiers.
1669-1670 Iroquois-Meskwaki war.
1671 The Chippewa destroy the last Meskwaki villages on the St. Croix and Chippewa Rivers.
1671-1677 War breaks out between Meskwaki and Sioux with raids between both tribes.
1673 Louis Joliet and Father Jacque Marquette are the first white men to set foot on Iowa soil.
Meskwaki meet with Seneca and make peace with Iroquois.
1675-1676 Illinois begins raiding Meskwaki villages.
1682 Meskwaki-Chippewa war breaks out.
1684 French arrest and execute an Ottawa and Menominee for killing some Frenchmen.
1689 Imperial Wars begin.
1692 Salem, Massachusetts witch trials
1697 British and French sign peace treaty to end King William's War.
1701 End of Iroquois war.
1713 Queen Anne’s war ends.
1717 Pemmousa dies.
1718 Illinois territory is annexed to Louisiana.
1727 Quakers demand abolition of slavery.
1728 King Louis XV orders the complete destruction of the Meskwaki.
1733-1734 Rock River village is formed.
1735 French soldiers under Des Noyelles fight battle with Sac and Fox Indians near present Des Moines.
Paul Revere is born.
1737 French grant a general pardon to the Meskwaki thus ending the "Fox Wars."
1741 Russian navigators arrive in California, via Alaska and Aleutian Islands.
1742 All of the Meskwaki prisoners finally released by the French.
1743 French explorers reach Rocky Mountains.
1744 King George’s war begins in North America.
1754 French Indian war begins.
1757 The Battles of Fort William Henry take place (Meskwaki participate).
1759 French are defeated at the Battle of Quebec and the attack on Wolf at Montmorency falls.
1762 By a secret treaty, France cedes to Spain part of Louisiana west of the Mississippi; it is later known as the Louisiana Purchase.
1763 Imperial wars end after 74 years.
1764 Jesuits suppressed in France.
1766 Meskwaki and Sauk begin going to Santa Fe to trade or raid for Spanish horses.
1769 Pontiac is killed by an Illinois.
1773 Boston Tea Party.
1775 American Revolutionary war begins.
1778 James Cook "discovers" Hawaii, and is murdered the following year.
1779 Spain declares war on England.
1780 Meskwaki and Sauk join attack on St. Louis.
1785 Joseph Brant, a Mohawk, began forming a Confederacy of Great Northwest Tribes.
1788 Julien Dubuque, fur trader, obtains sanction from Indians to work lead mines; he settles near site of city now bearing his name.
1789 First U.S. Congress meets in New York; George Washington inaugurated as first President of the United States; New York first federal capital, followed by Philadelphia in 1790, and finally Washington, D.C. in 1800.
1789-1792 French Revolution.
1793 Sir Alexander MacKenzie, Scotsman, the first to cross Canada from coast to coast.
1793-1815 Rise and fall of Napoleon.
1800 The Osage make peace with the Spanish.
1803 United States purchases Louisiana, including present Iowa, from France for $15,000,000 with cancellation of certain debts.
France renews war with Britian.
Ohio becomes a state.
United States makes treaty at St. Louis with five representatives of Sac and Fox tribes for the cession of lands in Illinois.
1805 An estimated 8,000 Indians are living in Iowa; they include Sauk, Fox, Winnebago, Iowa, Sioux, Omaha, Oto, and Missouri.
1809 Annual fur trade in the Iowa country is valued at $60,000.
1812 The Americans declare war on Great Britain.
1813 Fort Madison is abandoned and burned in the War of 1812, after several Indian attacks led by Sauk and Fox leader Black Hawk.
Mexico declares itself independent.
1816 A Treaty is signed by Indians, including Black Hawk, ratifying Treaty of 1804.
1817 A Sioux and Meskwaki war breaks out in the disputed lands of northern Iowa.
U.S. begins construction of Erie Canal between Buffalo and Albany (completed in 1825).
1818 Border between Canada and U.S. agreed upon (49th Parallel).
Illinois becomes a state.
1820 The Sauk, Iowa, and Meskwaki begin a war against the Osage, Kansas, Omaha, Oto, and Missouri living along the Missouri River.
Maine becomes a state.
Missouri becomes a state (Missouri Compromise).
1823 Monroe Doctrine closes American continent to colonial settlements by European powers.
1824 Bureau of Indian Affairs established in the U.S. War Dept.
1825 Neutral line is established between Sioux, Sac, and Fox Indians.
Erie Canal is completed, opening up the interior of the U.S. to export of natural resources through the Great Lakes and the Port of New York.
1828 A Treaty of Peace and Friendship is made between the Oto, Omaha, Kansas, Pawnee, Iowa, Sauk, Shawnee and Meskwaki.
1830s Neutral Ground is established between Sioux, Sac, and Fox Indians.
Sac and Fox complain settlers are plowing up gravesites.
1832 Black Hawk War
1833 Indian title to Black Hawk Purchase is transferred to United States Government; settlers are permitted to remain.
Ottawa, Pottawattamie, and Chippewa Indians are given lands in what is now southwestern Iowa.
1834 Congress reorganizes Indian department as part of the Dept. of Interior.
1836 Territory of Wisconsin is established, including Iowa country.
Sac and Fox Indians cede Keokuk’s Reserve to the United States.
The Alamo, Texas wins independence from Mexico and becomes a Republic.
1837 Michigan becomes a state.
Financial and economic panic in America (inflated land values, wildcat banking, paper speculation).
1838 Transatlantic steamer ships cross from London to New York in 15 days.
1840 Black Hawks remains stolen from his grave.
1842 Sac and Fox Indians cede all remaining lands in Iowa, and agree to evacuate the State within three years.
Wapello dies near the forks of the Skunk River.
1843 Sac and Fox Indians vacate lands east of line passing north and south through the Red Rocks in Marion County as of May 1st.
During 1843 to 1844 winter the Meskwaki, under Poweshiek, return to the Iowa River valley.
1844 Morse's telegraph used for first time between Baltimore and Washington, D.C.
1846 Pottawattamie Indians relinquish lands in western Iowa.
Iowa becomes a state.
In Iowa, Indian remains routinely unearthed and placed in museums.
Famine in Ireland caused by failure of potato crop.
1847 A war party of Iowa, Sac, and Meskwaki attacked a Pawnee hunting party, taking 17 scalps.
U.S. forces capture Mexico City; treaty ends Mexican-U.S. war; U.S. gets large sections of land including California.
California Gold Rush.
1852 Moses Keokuk leads a delegation to Washington D.C.
1853 A battle is fought between the Pawnee and Plains Indians and a Number of Cheyenne.
1854 Poweshiek, the principal chief of the Meskwaki, died from a broken neck caused from a fall from his pony’s back.
1856 Massacre of Potawatomi Creek, Kansas; slaveholders murdered by free-staters, located near the Sac & Fox Reservation in Kansas.
Iowa passes law allowing Meskwaki to return or remain in Iowa.
1857 Spirit Lake Massacre; Sioux Indians kill 30 settlers.
Small band of Sac and Fox Indians return; they are permitted to buy 80 acres of land in Tama County, Iowa but are not paid annuities.
1861 American Civil War begins. Union Army gets 100% of its lead from the 5 counties around Dubuque.
Kansas becomes a state.
1862 Blockhouses are erected in northwestern Iowa for protection against the Sioux.
1864 Massacre of the Cheyenne and Arapahoe Indians at Sand Creek, Colorado
1867 Annuities finally paid to those Meskwaki living in Tama County, Iowa.
U.S. Government prohibits any further Sac & Fox refugees from trying to return to Iowa.
Nebraska becomes a state.
1873 Meskwaki Black Wolf kills visiting Pawnee at the village. Case dropped.
1879 Standing Bear, a Ponca Indian, found by a U.S. court to be "Human" not "Animal."
1881 Sioux Crow Dog shot Spotted Tail a Sioux chief.
1882 U.S. court held that American Indian tribes retained an inherent attribute of tribal sovereignty.
1889 North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Washington become states.
1896 Iowa legislature voted to turn trusteeship and responsibility for the tribe over to the U.S. Department of Interior.
Klondike Gold Rush.
1900 Y-Ta-Tah-Way (a Meskwaki Indian) v. Rebok, a landmark legal case establishing tribal autonomy and citizenship.
All large game extinct in Iowa (buffalo, deer, and elk).
1901 Small pox epidemic breaks out and the federal government quarantines the Meskwaki Settlement for six months, burning all of the dwellings, clothes, and possessions of the tribe. Meskwaki turn to cloth as primary source of clothing due to absence of game skins.
State Historical Society of Iowa sponsors Duren H. Ward's expedition to the Settlement to study and document tribal history and culture.
1908 U.S. Secretary of the Interior assumes the role of trustee for tribal lands, the position orignally held by the governor of the state.
1913 First year of Pow wow.
1917 4th annual Pow wow makes $2,000.
1918 Lincoln Highway paved near Settlement.
Worldwide influenza epidemic strikes; by 1920 nearly 22 million are dead.
1920 19th Amendment grants American women the right to vote.
1921 Attendance at 8th annual Pow wow drops but gate receipts are about $6,000.
1924 Indians are made citizens of the U.S. and are given the right to vote.
The Meskwaki Pow Wow Association is formed and a Constitution is adopted.
1929 U.S. Stock Exchange collapses; world economic crisis begins.
1930s During the Great Depression, Works Projects Administration (W. P. A.) and other government programs paid Meskwaki workers fifty cents a day to plant three stands of pine trees and other hardwoods as a conservation measure.
1933 Starvation in U.S.S.R. reaches disastrous proportions.
Adolph Hitler appointed German Chancellor; the first concentration camps erected by Nazi Germany.
1935 Over 35,000 people come to the 22nd annual Pow wow.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs U.S. Social Security Act.
1937 Constitution and By-laws of the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa approved and newly elected Tribal Council governs.
Canning factory established to preserve and share food.
1938 A Meskwaki skull, dug up in the 1860s, was sold as a “souvenir” to the Peabody Museum at Harvard University.
1941-1945 Forty-six Meskwaki warriors serve in the military during World War II.
1943-1944 No Pow wow held because of World War II.
1948-1962 Sol Tax of the University of Chicago and his graduate students practice "action anthropology," working with and studying the tribe for his Fox Project and book, The Mesquakies of Iowa, 1953.
1960s Tribal members are involved in reburials.
1965 50th annual Pow wow is held.
1973 Sac and Fox Tribal Council make policy statement that Indian remains should be reburied immediately and without ceremony or fanfare.
1978 Indian Child Welfare Act passed.
1979 Meskwaki Tribal Center built; serves as center for most governmental and social activities.
1983 Sac and Fox Settlement School renamed (formerly Sac & Fox Day School) and opened under the administration of the tribe.
1987 Tribe began small bingo enterprise.
1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) is enacted into law.
1992 Bingo expanded and tribal-operated casino and hotel complex built and opened.
1993 Tribal Council discusses NAGPRA and tribal role. Pass motion to appoint NAGPRA Coordinator.
1996 Tribal Council establishes the Historical Preservation Project.
2000 The Meskwaki own 7,054 acres of land in central Iowa, and tribal enrollment is at 1,163.
2001 New Meskwaki Settlement School opens for pre-kindergarten through eighth grade; offers training in language and culture and other programs geared to adults, talented and gifted students, and students with special needs.
2004 Major expansion of casino complex begins.