Date of Award

Fall 2004

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Cynthia J Van Zandt


This dissertation analyzes the process of Albany's rise to the center of American Indian-European relations on the northeast coast of North America between the years 1647--1680. By the year 1677 the Albany courthouse served as the meeting place for the negotiations that formed the Covenant Chain between the Five Nations of the Iroquois and the English colonies of North America. To reach this important development, however, took years of political, military, economic and cultural struggle. Moreover, these struggles were not merely between the Iroquois and the English who would eventually negotiate the Covenant Chain, but within them as well.

Moreover, this dissertation focuses on analyzing how the actions of the Dutch and smaller Indian tribes such as the Esopus, Wappingers, and Hackensacks were imperative in establishing Albany as the center of the new diplomatic landscape of Indian and European affairs in northeast North America. In analyzing these developments this study explores how knowledge of specific lands and spaces such as woods, rivers, towns, forts and courthouses led to greater control of those places and spaces. As knowledge and control of these areas changed, new places would serve as centers of power and others would fall from their positions of power. Eventually, the seemingly constant shifts of control over certain regions would stabilize, allowing fewer groups to utilize their knowledge and control of the area around Albany, which allowed the city to serve as the site of future negotiations among Indians and Europeans after the 1670s.

Other events such as the Peach and Esopus Wars altered power relations between European and Indian residents of the Hudson River Valley and also led to shifts in the geography of those relations for almost all of English North America. Furthermore, far ranging events such as Bacon's Rebellion, Metacom's War, the Five Nations' war with the Susquehannocks and the Third Anglo-Dutch War contributed to Albany's rise to prominence in the 1670s. This study argues that it was the combination of all these events that created Albany as the new diplomatic landscape in northeast North America.