Historical Characters of Early America

    European Exploration     Early Colonies     Revolutionary Period     Early Republic     Civil War Period     Progressive Era     Westward Expansion     American Indian



European Exploration—1000 to 1682

Voyage of Leif Ericson to La Salle explores Mississippi


Character/Date Short Biography

Viking Explorers

Erik the Red
950–1003
Raised in Iceland, Eric discovered Greenland. His Son Leif Erikson discovered Newfoundland.
Leif Ericsson
980–1020
Discovered Newfoundland and explored the seacoast of North America. Son of Erik the Red.

Spanish Explorers

Christopher Columbus
1451–1506
Genoan sailor, sponsored by Isabela of Spain, who crossed the Atlantic Ocean and discovered the Americas.
Vasco Nunez Balboa
1475–1519
Helped establish a Spanish colony in Panama and discovered the Pacific Ocean.
Ponce de Leon
1460–1521
First Spanish governor of Puerto Rico. Explored inland regions of Florida while searching for the fountain of youth.
Hernando De Soto
1496–1542
Adventurer who aided in conquest of Peru, then explored Southwestern United States. Discovered Mississippi river.
Francisco de Coronado
1510–1554
Spanish explorer who was a governor in Mexico, and explored regions of the Southwest United States.

French Explorers

Jacques Cartier
1491–1557
Discovered the St. Lawrence Seaway and great lakes, while searching for Northwest Passage.
Samuel de Champlain
1580–1635
Founded French colonies in the St. Lawrence seaway and great lake region. Father of 'New France.'
Pere Marquette
1637–1675
French Missionary who explored the Mississippi River from the Great Lakes.
Rene La Salle
1643–1687
Dauntless adventurer who followed the Mississippi to its mouth, and claimed all for France.
Saint Isaac Jogues
1607–1646
Heroic Jesuit missionary to Indians. Tortured by the Indians, but returned to preach the gospel.

English Explorers

John Cabot
1450–1499
First discoverer of North American Mainland. Sailed for England rather than Italy.
Humphrey Gilbert
1537–1583
Sea-faring adventurer. Founded the first English colony in Canada.
Francis Drake
1540–1596
Greatest sea adventurer. Sailed around the world, harassed Spanish ships. Fought in Armada.
Richard Grenville
1542–1591
One of Elizabeth's famous sailors. Involved in War with Spain and settlement of colonies. Died defending the Revenge.
Martin Frobisher
1535–1594
Explored much of Canada in seach of the Northwest Passage. Fought in the Armada.
Thomas Cavendish
1560–1592
Second Englishman to circumnavigate the globe, and first to intentionally do so.
John Davis
1550–1605
British explorer who sought the Northwest Passage through Canada.
Henry Hudson
1575–1611
Explorer who discovered Hudson Bay and other parts of North America.
William Baffin
1585–1622
Discovered Baffin Bay while on a quest to find the Northwest Passage.
Walter Raleigh
1552–1618
Courtier of Queen Elizabeth. Explorer, mastermind of the Jamestown colony in Virginia.



Early Colonies—1585 to 1750

Lost Colony of Roanoke to Colony of Georgia


Character/Date Short Biography

Mid Atlantic colonies

John Smith
1580–1631
Adventurer, leader and early settler at Jamestown. Befriended Pocahontas.
Pocahontas
1595–1617
Daughter of an Indian Chieftain who helped the early settlers in the Jamestown Colony in Virginia.
Powhatan
d. 1618
Chief of the Powhatan confederacy and father of Pocahontas. Kept an uneasy peace with Jamestown settlers.
Nathaniel Bacon
1647–1676
Colonial farmer who opposed Governor Berkeley's Indian policies and led a major rebellion in Virginia.
William Berkeley
1605–1677
Royalist governor of Virginia who served many years both before and after the English Civil War.
Alexander Spotswood
1676–1740
Governor of Virginia famous for leading an expedition to open settlement of the Blue Ridge mountains.
George Calvert Baltimore
1699–1751
Founded Maryland, with the goal of providing a haven of religous tolerance in the new world.
William Penn
1660–1718
Quaker, and founder of the colony of Pennsylvania.
James Edward Oglethorpe
1696–1785
Founder of Georgia as buffer state between English and Spanish Colonies . Opposed Slavery.

New England Colonies

William Brewster
1560–1644
One of the Pilgrim Fathers who sailed on the Mayflower. Elder in Congressional Church.
Miles Standish
1584–1656
Military advisor to the Plymouth colony. Arrived on the Mayflower.
John Winthrop
1588–1649
Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
William Bradford
1589–1657
Governor of the Plymouth Colony of Pilgrims. Wrote the Mayflower Compact.
Benjamin Church
1639–1718
Leader of Plymouth colony forces during King Philip's War. Adopted Indian tactics and recruited Indians for his raids.
Anne Hutchinson
1591–1643
Female preacher who was exiled from the Plymouth colony, and later with Roger Williams, founded Rhode Island.
Roger Williams
1603–1684
Religious dissident. Founded Rhode Island and asserted freedom of religion.
John Eliot
1604–1690
Missionary who worked with the American Indians, and translated the bible into native Indian languages.
John Harvard
1607–1638
Founder of Harvard University, the first institution of higher education in the colonies.
Mary Dyer
1611–1660
Quaker woman who publicly preached in Puritan New England and was hanged after repeated warnings to stop.
Harry Vane
1613–1662
Early governor of the Plymouth colony in Massachusetts. Later was beheaded during the English Civil Wars.
William Phips
1651–1695
Colonial governor of Massachusetts during the Salem which trials, who served in several naval expeditions against the French of Canada.
Hannah Dustin
1657–1736
Pioneer woman who was captured by Indians, but made a dramatic escape, killing several of her captors.
Cotton Mather
1663–1728
Puritan minister in colonial New England who was a prolific writer and pamphleteer.
Squanto
1580–1622
New England Indian who helped the pilgrims their first year in Plymouth Colony.
Massasoit
1581–1661
Indian chief who befriended the pilgrims and lived in peace with them for forty years in Massachusetts.
Samoset
1590–1653
First American Indian encountered by the Pilgrims at the Plymouth colony.
King Philip
1639–1676
Leader of the Wampanoags who led the first serious uprising against the white settlers in New England.

French/Dutch colonies

Count Frontenac
1622–1698
Governor of New France from 1672 to 1698. Expanded fur trade, and fought with British.
General Montcalm
1712–1759
Military leader of New France during the Seven Year War; died at Battle of Quebec.
Madeline de Vercheres
1678–1747
Fended off a tribe of Indians attacking her for when she was only fourteen.
Daulac
1635–1660
Led a group of volunteers form Montreal to ambush a force of Iroquois. The entire force was killed to a man.
Peter Stuyvesant
1612–1672
Last Dutch governor of New Amsterdam. Responsible for many improvements during his administration.

Pirates

Captain Kidd
1645–1701
Experience sailor who eventually became involved in piracy, and is said to have hid his treasure on Long Island.
Blackbeard
1680–1718
Notorious pirate of the Spanish Main who haunted the Coast of North Carolina and the West Indies.
Stede Bonnet
1688–1718
Respectable colonial merchant who decided to become a pirate.



Revolutionary Period—1750 to 1788

French-Indian War to Constitutional Congress


Character/Date Short Biography

Statesmen and Patriots

Benjamin Franklin
1706–1790
Statesman, publisher, inventor, and non-conformist. Founding father, and benefactor of Philadelphia.
Samuel Adams
1722–1803
Founding Father and Governor of Massachusetts. Colonial political philosopher who built support for the revolution.
George Washington
1732–1799
Leader of the Continental Army of the U.S. during the Revolutionary War, and first President.
Robert Morris
1734–1806
American Patriot who helped financed the Revolutionary war. Served as superindendent of finance and controller of the Navy.
Thomas Jefferson
1743–1826
Third President. Author of the Declaration of Independence. Founder of Democrat-Republican Party.
Paul Revere
1735–1818
Paul Revere is famous for his ride from through Lexington-Concord, warning of the British attack.
John Adams
1735–1826
Second President of the United States. Worked tirelessly to help establish the republic on steady footing.
Patrick Henry
1736–1799
American Patriot, active in inciting the rebellion against Britain. First Governor of Virginia.
James Madison
1751–1836
One of the chief authors of the Constitution and writer of the Federalist papers. Fourth President of the U.S.
Alexander Hamilton
1757–1804
Founding Father, principal author of Federalist Papers. Secretary of Treasury.
Nathan Hale
1755–1776
American patriot caught by the British and hung for treason.

War Heroes

Israel Putnam
1718–1790
Outspoken and adventure-loving soldier. Participated in both French-Indian and Revolutionary Wars.
Horatio Gates
1727–1806
Leading Patriot General during the Revolutionary war. Credited with winning the Battle of Saratoga.
Lydia Darrah
1728–1789
When her house was taken over by British officers, she overheard their plans and warned Washington.
John Stark
1728–1822
'Hero of Bennington' during the American Revolution. Fought with Rogers' Rangers during French Indian War.
Robert Rogers
1731–1795
Leader of a band of mountain men who did great service for Britain during the French and Indian War.
Francis Marion
1732–1795
Revolutionary War leader whose used guerilla tactics against the Tories in the Southeast marshes.
Philip Schuyler
1733–1804
Military leader during the American Revolutionary period. Later a statesman from New York.
Ethan Allen
1738–1789
Mountain man who became famous leader of Vermont's "Green Mountain Boys" during Revolution Era.
Benedict Arnold
1741–1801
Hero of the Revolutionary War, but tragically turned traitor. He escaped to the British before discovery.
Anthony Wayne
1745–1796
Bold and popular Revolutionary War Hero. Well known for victory at Stony Point.
John Paul Jones
1747–1792
American Revolution Naval Hero. Famous for the sea fight Bon Homme Richard vs. Serapis.
Molly Pitcher
1753–1832
When her husband was killed, she took over his position and helped man a cannon at the Battle of Monmouth.
Nancy Hart
1735–1830
Pioneer woman who captured a group of Tory soldiers in her home, and later hung them.

Frontiersmen

Simon Girty
1741–1818
Controversial frontiersman who allied himself with the British and Indians against the American colonists. Accused of torture of white captives while living with Indians.
Elizabeth Zane
1759–1823
As Fort Henry was besieged by Indians, Elizabeth risked her life to leave the barricade and carry back gunpowder from her father cabin.
Simon Kenton
1755–1836
Leading settler of the Ohio and Kentucky valleys. Fought on various Indian wars and the Revolutionary war.
George Rogers Clark
1752–1818
Revolutionary war hero who fought both British and Indians in the Ohio Valley.
Daniel Boone
1734–1820
Explored the Kentucky and Tennessee Valley. Opened a road for settlers through Cumberland Gap.

British

General Braddock
1695–1755
Led a disastrous campaign to Fort Duquesne (Ohio) during the French and Indian Wars.
General Howe
1729–1814
Commander-and-Chief of British forces during Revolutionary War. Took New York and Philadelphia.
General Burgoyne
1723–1792
British leader who surrendered with 6000 men to American forces at Saratoga.
General Cornwallis
1738–1805
British leader defeated at Yorktown in Revolutionary War. Later served as governor in India.

Indians

Pontiac
1720–1769
Leader of a Great Lakes tribe who planned a rebellion. His attempt to take fort Detroit was thwarted by an Indian who warned the garrison.
Chief Logan
1725–1780
Indian chief who was friendly to white settlers until his family was killed. He then warred against the U.S.
Cornstalk
1720–1777
Indian leader who tried to be neutral during the Revolutionary War, but was murdered.

Art and Literature

Benjamin West
1738–1820
Eminant American painter who specialized in historical paintings.



Early Republic—1789 to 1850

Constitution ratified to Mexican-American War


Character/Date Short Biography

Presidents

George Washington
1732–1799
Leader of the Continental Army of the U.S. during the Revolutionary War, and first President.
John Adams
1735–1826
Second President of the United States. Worked tirelessly to help establish the republic on steady footing.
Thomas Jefferson
1743–1826
Third President. Author of the Declaration of Independence. Founder of Democrat-Republican Party.
James Madison
1751–1836
One of the chief authors of the Constitution and writer of the Federalist papers. Fourth President of the U.S.
James Monroe
1758–1831
Fifth president of the United States, and ally of Thomas Jefferson. Acquired Florida and promulgated the 'Monroe Doctrine.'
John Quincy Adams
1767–1848
Diplomat who spent much time in Europe before becoming the sixth U.S. President.
Andrew Jackson
1767–1845
Hero of the Battle of New Orleans, President of U.S., and founder of Democratic Party.
William Henry Harrison
1773–1841
War hero of Tippecanoe and the War of 1812, and briefly, President of the United States.
Zachary Taylor
1784–1850
Military leader who served in various Indian Wars and the Mexican-American War. Twelfth U.S. President.
James K. Polk
1795–1849
U.S. President who followed the policies of Andrew Jackson. President during the Mexican-American War.

Statesmen

Aaron Burr
1756–1836
Controversial American statesman. VP under Jefferson. Killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel. Accused of Treason.
John Marshall
1755–1835
Very Influential Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Founder of principle of Judicial Review.
DeWitt Clinton
1769–1828
Governor of New York best known as the master-mind behind the Erie Canal.
Henry Clay
1777–1852
Congressman and Speaker of the house of the mid-nineteenth century, associated with Webster and Calhoun.
John C. Calhoun
1782–1850
Important Southern Statesman of the mid nineteenth century. Supported slavery and states rights.
Daniel Webster
1782–1852
Influential Senator from New England. Promoted protective tariffs. Favored compromise on slavery.
Stephan Van Rensselaer III
1764–1839
Heir to one of the largest fortunes in the United States, governor of New York, and military Hero.

Soldiers and Sailors

Commodore Preble
1761–1807
Founding member of the U.S. Navy. Led the American Naval blockade of Tripoli in 1803.
William Bainbridge
1774–1833
American naval hero who fought against the Barbary pirates, and piloted the U.S.S. Constitution during the war of 1812.
Stephen Decatur
1779–1820
Naval Hero noted for his exploits during the war Barbary War, and also the War of 1812.
Isaac Hull
1773–1843
American naval hero best known for commanding the U.S.S. Constitution when in took on the HMS Guerrierre during the war of 1812.
Oliver Hazard Perry
1785–1819
Naval Hero, commander of American forces at the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812.
General Winfield Scott
1786–1866
Longest serving officer in American history. Served in all major wars between 1812 and the Civil War.

Indian Leaders

Osceola
1804–1838
Half-breed Seminole Warrior who resisted the settlement of Florida.
Billy Bowlegs
1810–1864
AmerIndian chief who frustrated warred against the United States in the Seminole Wars.
Tecumseh
1768–1813
Shawnee Hero. Tried to unify tribes against the colonists. Fought for Britain during War of 1812.
Sacajewea
1787–1812
Indian woman who accompanied Lewis and Clark during their explorations of the Louisiana Purchase.
John Ross
1790–1866
Frontiersman who tried (but failed) to help the Cherokees form a nation and protect their rights in U.S. Courts.
Black Kettle
1801–1868
Cheyenne chief who tried to make peace, but was sabotaged by aggressive acts of his own Indians as well as the white settlers.
Washakie
1804–1900
Shoshone Indian War Chief

Inventions and Industry

John Jacob Astor
1763–1848
First multi-millionaire in the United States. Made his fortune in the fur trade and New York real estate.
Robert Fulton
1765–1815
Inventor of Steamboats. Operated the steamboat Clermont on the Hudson River.
Eli Whitney
1765–1825
Inventor of the Cotton Gin, and also interchangeable parts for rifles.
Samuel Morse
1791–1872
Inventor of Morse code, a system telegraph transmission widely used before the telephone.
Charles Goodyear
1800–1860
Discovered the process for 'vulcanizing' rubber, and making it far more usable.
Cyrus McCormick
1809–1884
Invented the mechanical reaper, which revolutionized agriculture, especially in midwest.

Explorers/Regional Heroes

Nolichucky Jack
1745–1815
Frontiersman and Indian fighter who became the first governor of the state of Tennessee.
Jean Lafitte
1780–1826
Pirate and American patriot who fought for the Americans during the war of 1812.
Stephen F. Austin
1793–1835
Helped found the state of Texas by leading 300 families to settle in the region.
Sam Houston
1793–1863
Founder of the state of Texas, and first governor.
Daniel Boone
1734–1820
Explored the Kentucky and Tennessee Valley. Opened a road for settlers through Cumberland Gap.
Davy Crockett
1786–1836
Tennessee Frontiersman and congressman. Involved with Texas independence. Died at the Alamo.
Alexander Henry the Younger
1775–1814
Canadian Fur Trader, nephew of Alexander Henry the Elder, who kept extensive journasl of his travels in the northwest.

Arts and Literature

Francis Scott Key
1779–1843
Watched the bombardment of Baltimore during the War of 1812, and penned the National Anthem.
Washington Irving
1783–1859
Popular writer of humor and short stories in the early 19th century.
John James Audubon
1785–1851
World renowned painter and collector of birds.
Horace Mann
1796–1859
Advocate of Public education. Induced Massachusetts to adopt the Prussian model of state sponsored education.
Mary Lyon
1797–1849
Established schools and seminaries for women which became Wheaton College and Mount Holyoke College.



Civil War Period—1850 to 1877

Compromise of 1850 to End of Reconstruction


Character/Date Short Biography

Statesmen

William Lloyd Garrison
1805–1879
Prominent abolitionist, well-known as the publisher of the Liberator, an abolitionist newspaper.
Jefferson Davis
1808–1889
President of the Confederacy during the Civil War.
Abraham Lincoln
1809–1865
President of the United States during the American Civil War.
Charles Sumner
1811–1874
Anti-slavery Senator from Massachusetts who was an imortant ally of Lincoln, and influential during the Reconstruction era.

Military Heroes

Robert E. Lee
1807–1870
General of the Confederate Army during the American Civil War.
Admiral Farragut
1801–1870
American Naval hero of the Civil War. At the Battle of Mobile Bay, he famously said 'Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!"
P.G.T. Beauregard
1818–1893
Confederate general who was influential in the early years of the civil war.
Ulysses Grant
1822–1885
Commander and Chief of the Union forces in the Civil War, and President of the United States.
William Sherman
1822–1885
American Civil War General. Marched "From Atlanta to the Sea."
Stonewall Jackson
1824–1863
Leading Confederate General of the American Civil War, especially notable at Bull Run. Died at Chancellorsville.
Commodore Perry
1794–1858
Force Japan to open its ports to the west through very skillful and forceful diplomacy.

Abolitionists and Advocates

John Brown
1800–1859
Radical abolitionist who condoned violence in order to abolish slavery. Led a raid on the armory in Harper's Ferry.
Frederick Douglas
1817–1895
American Negro orator who spoke elequently against slavery.
Harriet Beecher Stowe
1811–1896
Influential author of the book Uncle Tom's Cabin. Abolitionist in the pre-war era.
Dorothea Dix
1802–1887
Reformer who sought to better the conditions of the mentally ill.
Horace Greeley
1811–1872
Publisher of the New York Tribune, one of the most influential newspapers of his era.
Clara Barton
1821–1912
Civil War Nurse and Humanitarian. Founder of the American Red Cross.
Oliver Otis Howard
1830–1909
Civil war General who later oversaw the Freedman's bureau, founded Howard University, and was involved in the Indian Wars.

Industry and Invention

John Ericsson
1803–1889
Swedish-American engineer who designed the Moniter, the first iron-clad in the United States Navy.
Elias Howe
1819–1867
American inventor of the sewing machine. His great innovation was the "lock stitch".
Cyrus Field
1819–1892
Led the effort by the Atlantic Telegraph Company to lay the first transatlantic Cable.

Art and Literature

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
1807–1882
American Poet whose works were very popular. Wrote Paul Revere's Ride and other works.



Progressive Era—1869 to 1918

Transcontinental Railroad to The Great War


Character/Date Short Biography

Invention and Industry

Alexander Graham Bell
1847–1922
Inventor of the telephone, and also a founder of a school for the deaf.
Thomas Edison
1847–1931
Prolific inventor, responsible for improvements in the light bulb, movies, phonograph, and many others.
Wilber and Orville
1871–1948
Inventors of the first practical airplane. The Wright brothers were self-educated bicycle shop owners.
Andrew Carnegie
1835–1919
American Industrialist who gained his wealth in steel. He gave away most of his riches to libraries and schools.
Jay Gould
1836–1892
American Financier involved with gold speculation, railroad speculation, and Boss Tweed in New York
John Philip Holland
1841–1914
Born in Ireland, Holland designed the first submarine used by the U.S. Navy.
Robert Peary
1856–1920
Artic explorer who claimed to have reached the North Pole.

Political and Military

James Garfield
1831–1881
Elected President of the United states in 1880, but was assassinated only a few month after taking office.
Grover Cleveland
1837–1908
President of the United States, elected twice. He was a reformer, noted for his honesty.
William McKinley
1843–1901
President of the United States during the Spanish American War. He was assassinated in office.
Theodore Roosevelt
1858–1919
Progressive Republican who served as the 26th President of the United States.
Woodrow Wilson
1856–1924
United States President during the First World War. Founder of the League of Nations.
General Pershing
1860–1948
Leader of the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I.
Admiral Hobson
1870–1937
Naval leader in the Spanish American war, who heroically attempted to sink a collier in Santiago harbor.
George Dewey
1837–1917
Highest ranking Naval Officer in U.S. Hero of Battle of Manila Bay in Spanish American War.
Sergeant York
1887–1964
Great War veteran famous for his heroic exploits during the Battle of Argonne.

Social Reform

Lucretia Mott
1793–1880
Influential Quaker leader who advocated the rights of women. Held relatively conservative views among early feminists.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton
1815–1902
Early leader in the female suffrage, and temperance movement.
Susan B. Anthony
1820–1906
Leader of the female suffrage and temperence movements who traveled widely and became a full time advocate.
Booker T. Washington
1856–1915
Former slave who became an Important leader of newly freed negroes. Emphasised education, job training, clean-living, and self-help.
Joseph Smith
1805–1844
Founder of the Church of Latter Day Saints. Killed before the Mormans moved to Utah.



Westward Expansion—1770 to 1900

California Missions to Hawaii Becomes a Territory


Character/Date Short Biography

American Explorers and Missionaries

William Clark
1770–1838
Led an expedition up the Missouri River, map-making, gathering information, and looking for a passage to the Pacific Ocean.
Merriwether Lewis
1774–1809
With William Clark, followed the Missouri river to its source, crossed the Rockies and followed the Columbia to the Pacific Ocean.
Zebulon Pike
1779–1813
Led and expedition to explore the source of the Arkansas river. Followed the river to Colorado.
Kit Carson
1809–1868
Famed Frontiersman who guided Fremont on his expedition to Colorado, and served during the Mexican-American war.
John C. Fremont
1813–1890
American explorer who, along with Kit Carson, led an expedition to California by way of Wyoming and Nevada.
Buffalo Bill
1846–1917
Colorful character of the Old American West. Produced a wild-west show that toured eastern towns with western frontier heroes.
Marcus Whitman
1802–1847
Early missionary who founded the first settlement in Washington State near the columbia river. Massacred by Indians.
General Custer
1839–1876
Cavalry general whose force was ambushed and massacred by the Sioux at the Battle of Little Bighorn.
Oliver Otis Howard
1830–1909
Civil war General who later oversaw the Freedman's bureau, founded Howard University, and was involved in the Indian Wars.
Brigham Young
1801–1877
Leader of the Church of Latter Day Saints after the death of Smith. Led the Mormans to Utah.
John Sutter
1803–1880
Founded a European settlement in the Sacramento Valley where gold was found in 1849.

Spanish Explorers and Missionaries

Francisco de Coronado
1510–1554
Spanish explorer who was a governor in Mexico, and explored regions of the Southwest United States.
Junipero Serra
1713–1784
Franciscan Friar who founded over a dozen missions along the coast of California.
Juan Bautista de Anza
1736–1788
Spanish governor of New Mexico who explored California and established an overland route to the San Francisco.

Native Chieftains and Leaders

Black Hawk
1767–1838
Important Indian chief in the Illinois territory. Inspired the Sauks to resist the Americans during the Black Hawk War.
Sacajewea
1787–1812
Indian woman who accompanied Lewis and Clark during their explorations of the Louisiana Purchase.
Cochise
1805–1874
Apache Indian War Chief.
Winnemucca
1820–1882
Chief of a Piute tribe. First befriended the white settlers, but rebelled when his tribe was mistreated.
Red Cloud
1822–1909
Sioux Indian War Chief.
Geronimo
1829–1909
Last Apache Warrior to hold out against the U.S. Army. Finally capitulated and became a celebrity.
Sitting Bull
1831–1890
Medicine man who organized resistance to U.S. Army. His warriors defeated Custer at Little Bighorn.
Captain Jack
1837–1873
Led a tribe of Modocs off the Klamath reservation to their native home, where they held out caves for several months.
Crazy Horse
1840–1877
Dakota Indian chief who fought against the American army at Rosebud and Little Big Horn.
Chief Joseph
1840–1904
Led Nez Perces in a resistance against the encroachment of white settlers. Finally surrendered.
Kalakaua
1836–1891
Last King of the Hawaiian Islands.
Liliokalani
1838–1917
Last Queen of the Hawaiian Islands.



American Indian—1540 to 1890

De Soto Expedition to Wounded Knee Massacre


Character/Date Short Biography

Virginia Indians

Pocahontas
1595–1617
Daughter of an Indian Chieftain who helped the early settlers in the Jamestown Colony in Virginia.
Powhatan
d. 1618
Chief of the Powhatan confederacy and father of Pocahontas. Kept an uneasy peace with Jamestown settlers.
Cockacoeskie
d. 1685
Queen of the Pamunkey, following the Powhatan wars, who made an alliance with the Virginia government during Bacon's rebellion.
Opechancanough
1554–1646
Leader of the Powhatan confederacy who led an Indian massacre against Jamestown beginning in 1622, which killed hundreds of white settlers.

New England Indians

Squanto
1580–1622
New England Indian who helped the pilgrims their first year in Plymouth Colony.
Samoset
1590–1653
First American Indian encountered by the Pilgrims at the Plymouth colony.
Massasoit
1581–1661
Indian chief who befriended the pilgrims and lived in peace with them for forty years in Massachusetts.
Hiawatha
~ 1550
Indian leader of Iroquois Indians who was the subject of a famous Longfellow poem.
King Philip
1639–1676
Leader of the Wampanoags who led the first serious uprising against the white settlers in New England.

Northwest (Great Lakes) Indians

Cornstalk
1720–1777
Indian leader who tried to be neutral during the Revolutionary War, but was murdered.
Pontiac
1720–1769
Leader of a Great Lakes tribe who planned a rebellion. His attempt to take fort Detroit was thwarted by an Indian who warned the garrison.
Chief Logan
1725–1780
Indian chief who was friendly to white settlers until his family was killed. He then warred against the U.S.
Little Turtle
1747–1812
Indian chief from the Ohio Valley who first fought against the U.S. but later counseled Peace.
Tecumseh
1768–1813
Shawnee Hero. Tried to unify tribes against the colonists. Fought for Britain during War of 1812.

Southeast Indians

Tuscaloosa
d. 1540
Choctaw chieftain who resisted de Soto at the Battle of Mauvila during his expedition through the southwest.
Billy Bowlegs
1810–1864
AmerIndian chief who frustrated warred against the United States in the Seminole Wars.
Osceola
1804–1838
Half-breed Seminole Warrior who resisted the settlement of Florida.

Western Indians

Black Hawk
1767–1838
Important Indian chief in the Illinois territory. Inspired the Sauks to resist the Americans during the Black Hawk War.
Sacajewea
1787–1812
Indian woman who accompanied Lewis and Clark during their explorations of the Louisiana Purchase.
Black Kettle
1801–1868
Cheyenne chief who tried to make peace, but was sabotaged by aggressive acts of his own Indians as well as the white settlers.
Washakie
1804–1900
Shoshone Indian War Chief
Cochise
1805–1874
Apache Indian War Chief.
Manuelito
1818–1893
Navajo Indian War Chief.
Winnemucca
1820–1882
Chief of a Piute tribe. First befriended the white settlers, but rebelled when his tribe was mistreated.
Red Cloud
1822–1909
Sioux Indian War Chief.
Geronimo
1829–1909
Last Apache Warrior to hold out against the U.S. Army. Finally capitulated and became a celebrity.
Sitting Bull
1831–1890
Medicine man who organized resistance to U.S. Army. His warriors defeated Custer at Little Bighorn.
Standing Bear
1834–1908
Ponca chieftain whose tribe was forcibly removed from their settlement. He later 'sued' the government and won.
Captain Jack
1837–1873
Led a tribe of Modocs off the Klamath reservation to their native home, where they held out caves for several months.
Crazy Horse
1840–1877
Dakota Indian chief who fought against the American army at Rosebud and Little Big Horn.
Chief Joseph
1840–1904
Led Nez Perces in a resistance against the encroachment of white settlers. Finally surrendered.
Sarah Winnemucca
1841–1891
Daughter of Chief Winnemucca. Served as translator between Piutes and U.S. Army. Wrote a book.