|How the lands purchased by Van Curler from the Mohawks in 1661|
were divided among the first proprietors.
When the first Dutch settlers came to the Mohawk Valley, they found native American tribes living there. The Mohawks had established themselves, not only as fierce fighters, but also as settlers on the land. Other tribes also were living in the vicinity, among them Mohicans, Delawares and Schagticoke. These tribes all belonged to the Iroquois division of Eastern Woodland Indians. The nearest village--called "castles" by white settlers--of the Mohicans was on an island where the Mohawk River empties into the Hudson River.
The Iroquois migrated slowly from the west. Some of the settled in the western part of what would later become New York; others lived for a long time in Canada, along the St. Lawrence River. When the French explorer Jacques Cartier arrived, he found many of them living near Montreal. In time, the Iroquois from Canada came southward, driving the Algonquins out of the region. Their castles were west of the site of Schenectady, but they claimed this land and sold it to Arendt Van Curler in 1661.