Portsmouth Commemorates the 300th Anniversary of 1713 Treaty of Portsmouth between Native Americans and Colonial English


Portsmouth, New Hampshire (March 19, 2013) -- This summer, Portsmouth will commemorate the 300th anniversary of the 1713 Treaty of Portsmouth between the English and the Native Americans of the Maine and New Hampshire coast. Two special exhibits, "First Nations Diplomacy Opens the Portsmouth Door," open on May 1 at the Portsmouth Historical Society's John Paul Jones House Museum and at Strawbery Banke Museum.


The exhibits feature historical artifacts from the era and replicas of the original Treaty from the Library of Congress and the British Archives, signed by New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Native American dignitaries. A series of talks and other programs are scheduled at the two museums and at Portsmouth Historic Houses Association properties (including Warner House and Historic New England who own  houses dating to the period), the Portsmouth Public Library and the Piscataqua Pioneers. 


To launch the 300th anniversary, Tri-Centennial Committee chair Charles B. Doleac will present an illustrated talk at the Portsmouth Public Library on Sunday, April 14 at 2 pm. The talk outlines the history that led up to the Treaty conference in Portsmouth on July 11-14, 1713, and introduces new insights on First Nations diplomacy and its relevance to current Rights of Indigenous Peoples concerns.  The talk is free and open to the public.


"The Treaty is important for the First Nations diplomacy employed, for the first steps toward recognition of a New Hampshire governing Council separate from Massachusetts and for the impact it had on opening the Portsmouth door to development as the commercial and military hub on the frontier," said Charles B. Doleac, chairman of the 1713 Treaty of Portsmouth Tricentennial Committee. "The issues discussed in Portsmouth in 1713 have a direct connection with ideas concerning the Rights of Indigenous People that are in the headlines today."


On July 14, 2013, the 300th anniversary of the Treaty signing, Strawbery Banke Museum will host Colin Calloway, chair of the Native American Studies Program at Dartmouth College. Additional programs are being scheduled with John Bear Mitchell, U of ME Orono Native American Studies Program and Penobscot storyteller; Lisa Brooks, Native American Studies at Amherst College; Emerson "Tad" Baker, Salem State College; Jere Daniell, author of Colonial New Hampshire and Dartmouth College professor of history emeritus; Neill DePaoli, resident archaeologist at the Colonial Pemaquid State Historic Site in Maine and David Stewart-Smith, NH Intertribal Council historian and archaeologist. The Strawbery Banke lecture series is presented thanks to a grant from theRoger R. and Theresa A. Thompson endowment Fund.


From the time that the French established a fort at Port Royal in what is now Nova Scotia, Canada in 1607, and the English settled Plimouth in what is now Massachusetts in 1620 and Portsmouth (New Castle) in 1623, their national rivalries and imperial intentions played out against the "First Nations" people who had inhabited the northeast North American coast for 10,000 years. After the decimating epidemic of 1616-19 and war with the Iroquois, the First Nations of the four Maine coastal alliances and families had formed a confederacy of the Wabanaki, the "people of the dawnland."


When the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht ended Queen Anne's War in Europe between France and England and attempted to set the French and English boundaries in the New World, it put the English in charge of the coastal of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine and France in control of the St. Lawrence River valley and areas surrounding Quebec. The land in between was Wabanaki territory and both England and France agreed to respect the other's Native American allies. The Wabanaki questioned how France and England could be talking about control of what they considered to be their ancestral land. Raids had terrorized both the English and the Wabanaki villages, pushing the English away from their Maine forts and settlements, back towards Portsmouth and disrupting the First Nations' livelihood. For there to be peace on the frontier, a treaty between the English and the First Nations was needed. The conference took place in Portsmouth at the fort that is now Fort Constitution (New Castle) on  July 11-14, 1713.


The 300th Anniversary commemorations, produced through a special fund created by the Japan-America Society of NH (501c3), build on the research developed for the official website of the Treaty of Portsmouth Tri-Centennial Committee (www.1713Treaty of Portsmouth.org) to present the interpretations of scholars of the First Period in New Hampshire and Maine including Tom Hardiman at the Portsmouth Athenaeum, Richard Candee at the Historical Society, David Watters at UNH, Tad Baker at Salem State and First Nations historians including Lisa Brooks at Amherst, and Micah Pawling and Robert Bear Mitchell at the University of Maine at Orono. The committee is partnering with exhibit sites (the John Paul Jones House Museum/Portsmouth Historical Society), Strawbery Banke Museum and other historic houses (Jackson House and Gilman Garrison/Historic New England, Warner House), historical commemorations such as the 300th anniversary of Old Berwick and various collections of c. 1713 artifacts.


For more information, visit www.1713TreatyofPortsmouth.org