Fox Wars 1712

What were the Fox Wars?

Fox Wars were two wars and other small conflicts that took place between the French colonists and the Fox Indians. These wars were fought in the early 18th century over the control of the territories and river systems in the Great Lakes region.

When and where were the Fox Wars fought?

The Fox Wars were fought in the present-day states of Wisconsin and Michigan. They took place from 1712 to 1733. The First Fox War started in 1712 and ended in 1716. The Second Fox War started in 1728 and ended in 1733.

Background of the Fox Wars

Fur trade was a lucrative economic activity for French colonists in North America. The colonists relied on their Native American allies to provide them animal furs. For this reason, they had military and economic ties with some of the tribes. These tribes were supported and protected by the French. In early 18th century, French sought to extend their fur trade network in the Great Lakes region. However, a major hurdle to this was the Fox people. The Fox people controlled the Fox River system which was very important for fur trade in the region. They weren’t allied with the French, so they sought to oppose the French use of the river system. This led to the First Fox War.

The First Fox War

In early 18th century, French colonists established a fort near the Fox River system. In response, the Fox people established their villages close to the fort. They initially outnumbered the colonists but soon the Indian allies of French colonists began to arrive. This changed the situation as the Fox were now outnumbered. Fighting continued between both sides for many days.

The Fox then stopped fighting and asked for peace negotiations but the French refused. The Fox escaped their villages under the cover of the dark one night but were pursued by the Indian tribes allied with the French. They were finally cornered, captured and many of them enslaved. By the end of the war, the Fox had been defeated with heavy casualties numbered at around 1000 men, women and children.

The Second Fox War

By the end of the First Fox War, hundreds of Fox men, women and children had been enslaved. The Fox slaves were owned by French or their Indian allies. For the Fox tribe, this was a vital issue. They wanted the French to negotiate with them and arrange the return of their enslaved tribe members. However, the French couldn’t force it allies to return the slaves.

This led to the outbreak of the Second Fox War which began in 1728. During this war, the Fox allied with the Sauk and were able to push back the French attacks after sustaining many losses. The result was a stalemate which forced the French to declare peace.

Result and Aftermath

The Fox Wars resulted in devastation and destruction for the Fox tribe. It led to the deaths of a large number of Fox people and enslavement of many hundreds more. It also created a long-lasting enmity between the Fox and the French – later in the War of 1812, Fox people fought on the side of the British forces.

Learn More about the Fox Wars in Native American History

The Fox Wars: The Mesquakie Challenge to New France (The Civilization of the American Indian Series) Paperback – April 26, 2014