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Treaty of Hartford

The term Treaty of Hartford applies to three historic agreements negotiated at Hartford, Connecticut. The 1638 treaty divided the spoils of the Pequot War. The 1650 treaty defined a border between the Dutch New Amsterdam and English settlers in Connecticut. In the 1786 treaty New York and Massachusetts reached an agreement on their western land claims.

The 1638 treaty

The Pequot War of
1636 and 1637 saw the virtual elimination of the Pequot Indians. The victors met to decide on the division of the fruits of victory. While the treaty settled the Pequot War, the Pequots were not a party to it. The Massachusetts Bay Colony, the Connecticut River Colony, the Mohegan and Narragansett tribes were. Surviving prisoners were divided between the tribes; 40 percent each and the remaining 20 percent awarded to tribes on Long Island who had supported the Narragansett. The Pequot lands went to the Connecticut River towns.

The other major feature of this treaty was to outlaw the Pequot language and name. Any survivors would be referred to in the future as Mohegans or Narrgansett. No Pequot town or settlement would be allowed. This treaty was signed on September 21, 1638.

The 1650 treaty

In 1650 Peter Stuyvesant came to Hartford to negotiate a border with Edward Hopkins. The Dutch colony of New Amrsterdam was feeling increased pressure from the rising number of English colonists. He was ready to resign Connecticut land claims in order to get a breathing space on Long Island. They agreed on a line 50 Dutch miles west of the mouth of the Connecticut River. On Long Island, a line would be drawn south from the westernmost point of Oyster Bay, through modern Nassau County.

The treaty didn't really mean much. The Dutch West India Company refused to recognize it. The entire colony of New Amsterdam was conquered by the British in 1664. However, the border established between Connecticut and New York is still in effect, with some minor adjustements.

The 1786 treaty

The colonial charters for New York and Massachusetts both described their boundaries as extending westward to the Pacific Ocean, but used distances from coastal rivers as their baselines, and thus both could claim the same land. The area in dispute included much of the Finger Lakes region in western New York State, extending to Lake Ontario. They agreed to divide the right to land titles, with Massachusetts getting about 8 million acres. The also agreed that the land in question would be governed as a part of New York. In 1788 the remaining six million acres was sold to Nathaniel Gorham and the money used to repay some of the state's debt from the Revolutionary War.

Similar western boundary issues involving these and other states were resolved by the Northwest Ordinance passed by the Continental Congress in July of 1787.

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