Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened. — Winston Churchill

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


CharacterDate Short Biography

Viking Explorers

Erik the Red950–1003 Raised in Iceland, Eric discovered Greenland. His Son Leif Erikson discovered Newfoundland.
Leif Ericsson980–1020 Discovered Newfoundland and explored the seacoast of North America. Son of Erik the Red.

Spanish Explorers

Christopher Columbus1451–1506 Genoan sailor, sponsored by Isabela of Spain, who crossed the Atlantic Ocean and discovered the Americas.
Vasco Nunez Balboa1475–1519 Helped establish a Spanish colony in Panama and discovered the Pacific Ocean.
Ponce de Leon1460–1521 First Spanish governor of Puerto Rico. Explored inland regions of Florida while searching for the fountain of youth.
Hernando De Soto1496–1542 Adventurer who aided in conquest of Peru, then explored Southwestern United States. Discovered Mississippi river.
Francisco de Coronado1510–1554 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 Champlain1580–1635 Founded French colonies in the St. Lawrence seaway and great lake region. Father of 'New France.'
Pere Marquette1637–1675 French Missionary who explored the Mississippi River from the Great Lakes.
Rene La Salle1643–1687 Dauntless adventurer who followed the Mississippi to its mouth, and claimed all for France.
Saint Isaac Jogues1607–1646 Heroic Jesuit missionary to Indians. Tortured by the Indians, but returned to preach the gospel.

English Explorers

John Cabot1450–1499 First discoverer of North American Mainland. Sailed for England rather than Italy.
Humphrey Gilbert1537–1583 Sea-faring adventurer. Founded the first English colony in Canada.
Francis Drake1540–1596 Greatest sea adventurer. Sailed around the world, harassed Spanish ships. Fought in Armada.
Richard Grenville1542–1591 One of Elizabeth's famous sailors. Involved in War with Spain and settlement of colonies. Died defending the Revenge.
Martin Frobisher1535–1594 Explored much of Canada in seach of the Northwest Passage. Fought in the Armada.
Thomas Cavendish1560–1592 Second Englishman to circumnavigate the globe, and first to intentionally do so.
John Davis1550–1605 British explorer who sought the Northwest Passage through Canada.
Henry Hudson1575–1611 Explorer who discovered Hudson Bay and other parts of North America.
William Baffin1585–1622 Discovered Baffin Bay while on a quest to find the Northwest Passage.
Walter Raleigh1552–1618 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


CharacterDate Short Biography

Mid Atlantic colonies

John Smith1580–1631 Adventurer, leader and early settler at Jamestown. Befriended Pocahontas.
Pocahontas1595–1617 Daughter of an Indian Chieftain who helped the early settlers in the Jamestown Colony in Virginia.
Powhatand. 1618 Chief of the Powhatan confederacy and father of Pocahontas. Kept an uneasy peace with Jamestown settlers.
Nathaniel Bacon1647–1676 Colonial farmer who opposed Governor Berkeley's Indian policies and led a major rebellion in Virginia.
William Berkeley1605–1677 Royalist governor of Virginia who served many years both before and after the English Civil War.
Alexander Spotswood1676–1740 Governor of Virginia famous for leading an expedition to open settlement of the Blue Ridge mountains.
George Calvert Baltimore1699–1751 Founded Maryland, with the goal of providing a haven of religous tolerance in the new world.
William Penn1660–1718 Quaker, and founder of the colony of Pennsylvania.
James Edward Oglethorpe1696–1785 Founder of Georgia as buffer state between English and Spanish Colonies . Opposed Slavery.

New England Colonies

William Brewster1560–1644 One of the Pilgrim Fathers who sailed on the Mayflower. Elder in Congressional Church.
Miles Standish1584–1656 Military advisor to the Plymouth colony. Arrived on the Mayflower.
John Winthrop1588–1649 Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
William Bradford1589–1657 Governor of the Plymouth Colony of Pilgrims. Wrote the Mayflower Compact.
Benjamin Church1639–1718 Leader of Plymouth colony forces during King Philip's War. Adopted Indian tactics and recruited Indians for his raids.
Anne Hutchinson1591–1643 Female preacher who was exiled from the Plymouth colony, and later with Roger Williams, founded Rhode Island.
Roger Williams1603–1684 Religious dissident. Founded Rhode Island and asserted freedom of religion.
John Eliot1604–1690 Missionary who worked with the American Indians, and translated the bible into native Indian languages.
John Harvard1607–1638 Founder of Harvard University, the first institution of higher education in the colonies.
Mary Dyer1611–1660 Quaker woman who publicly preached in Puritan New England and was hanged after repeated warnings to stop.
Harry Vane1613–1662 Early governor of the Plymouth colony in Massachusetts. Later was beheaded during the English Civil Wars.
William Phips1651–1695 Colonial governor of Massachusetts during the Salem which trials, who served in several naval expeditions against the French of Canada.
Hannah Dustin1657–1736 Pioneer woman who was captured by Indians, but made a dramatic escape, killing several of her captors.
Cotton Mather1663–1728 Puritan minister in colonial New England who was a prolific writer and pamphleteer.
Squanto1580–1622 New England Indian who helped the pilgrims their first year in Plymouth Colony.
Massasoit1581–1661 Indian chief who befriended the pilgrims and lived in peace with them for forty years in Massachusetts.
Samoset1590–1653 First American Indian encountered by the Pilgrims at the Plymouth colony.
King Philip1639–1676 Leader of the Wampanoags who led the first serious uprising against the white settlers in New England.

French/Dutch colonies

Count Frontenac1622–1698 Governor of New France from 1672 to 1698. Expanded fur trade, and fought with British.
General Montcalm1712–1759 Military leader of New France during the Seven Year War; died at Battle of Quebec.
Madeline de Vercheres1678–1747 Fended off a tribe of Indians attacking her for when she was only fourteen.
Daulac1635–1660 Led a group of volunteers form Montreal to ambush a force of Iroquois. The entire force was killed to a man.
Peter Stuyvesant1612–1672 Last Dutch governor of New Amsterdam. Responsible for many improvements during his administration.

Pirates

Captain Kidd1645–1701 Experience sailor who eventually became involved in piracy, and is said to have hid his treasure on Long Island.
Blackbeard1680–1718 Notorious pirate of the Spanish Main who haunted the Coast of North Carolina and the West Indies.
Stede Bonnet1688–1718 Respectable colonial merchant who decided to become a pirate.

Revolutionary Period—1750 to 1788

French-Indian War to Constitutional Congress


CharacterDate Short Biography

Statesmen and Patriots

Benjamin Franklin1706–1790 Statesman, publisher, inventor, and non-conformist. Founding father, and benefactor of Philadelphia.
Samuel Adams1722–1803 Founding Father and Governor of Massachusetts. Colonial political philosopher who built support for the revolution.
George Washington1732–1799 Leader of the Continental Army of the U.S. during the Revolutionary War, and first President.
Robert Morris1734–1806 American Patriot who helped financed the Revolutionary war. Served as superindendent of finance and controller of the Navy.
Thomas Jefferson1743–1826 Third President. Author of the Declaration of Independence. Founder of Democrat-Republican Party.
Paul Revere1735–1818 Paul Revere is famous for his ride from through Lexington-Concord, warning of the British attack.
John Adams1735–1826 Second President of the United States. Worked tirelessly to help establish the republic on steady footing.
Patrick Henry1736–1799 American Patriot, active in inciting the rebellion against Britain. First Governor of Virginia.
James Madison1751–1836 One of the chief authors of the Constitution and writer of the Federalist papers. Fourth President of the U.S.
Alexander Hamilton1757–1804 Founding Father, principal author of Federalist Papers. Secretary of Treasury.
Nathan Hale1755–1776 American patriot caught by the British and hung for treason.

War Heroes

Israel Putnam1718–1790 Outspoken and adventure-loving soldier. Participated in both French-Indian and Revolutionary Wars.
Horatio Gates1727–1806 Leading Patriot General during the Revolutionary war. Credited with winning the Battle of Saratoga.
Lydia Darrah1728–1789 When her house was taken over by British officers, she overheard their plans and warned Washington.
John Stark1728–1822 'Hero of Bennington' during the American Revolution. Fought with Rogers' Rangers during French Indian War.
Robert Rogers1731–1795 Leader of a band of mountain men who did great service for Britain during the French and Indian War.
Francis Marion1732–1795 Revolutionary War leader whose used guerilla tactics against the Tories in the Southeast marshes.
Philip Schuyler1733–1804 Military leader during the American Revolutionary period. Later a statesman from New York.
Ethan Allen1738–1789 Mountain man who became famous leader of Vermont's "Green Mountain Boys" during Revolution Era.
Benedict Arnold1741–1801 Hero of the Revolutionary War, but tragically turned traitor. He escaped to the British before discovery.
Anthony Wayne1745–1796 Bold and popular Revolutionary War Hero. Well known for victory at Stony Point.
John Paul Jones1747–1792 American Revolution Naval Hero. Famous for the sea fight Bon Homme Richard vs. Serapis.
Molly Pitcher1753–1832 When her husband was killed, she took over his position and helped man a cannon at the Battle of Monmouth.
Nancy Hart1735–1830 Pioneer woman who captured a group of Tory soldiers in her home, and later hung them.

Frontiersmen

Simon Girty1741–1818 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 Zane1759–1823 As Fort Henry was besieged by Indians, Elizabeth risked her life to leave the barricade and carry back gunpowder from her father cabin.
Simon Kenton1755–1836 Leading settler of the Ohio and Kentucky valleys. Fought on various Indian wars and the Revolutionary war.
George Rogers Clark1752–1818 Revolutionary war hero who fought both British and Indians in the Ohio Valley.
Daniel Boone1734–1820 Explored the Kentucky and Tennessee Valley. Opened a road for settlers through Cumberland Gap.

British

General Braddock1695–1755 Led a disastrous campaign to Fort Duquesne (Ohio) during the French and Indian Wars.
General Howe1729–1814 Commander-and-Chief of British forces during Revolutionary War. Took New York and Philadelphia.
General Burgoyne1723–1792 British leader who surrendered with 6000 men to American forces at Saratoga.
General Cornwallis1738–1805 British leader defeated at Yorktown in Revolutionary War. Later served as governor in India.

Indians

Pontiac1720–1769 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 Logan1725–1780 Indian chief who was friendly to white settlers until his family was killed. He then warred against the U.S.
Cornstalk1720–1777 Indian leader who tried to be neutral during the Revolutionary War, but was murdered.

Art and Literature

Benjamin West1738–1820 Eminant American painter who specialized in historical paintings.

Early Republic—1789 to 1850

Constitution ratified to Mexican-American War


CharacterDate Short Biography

Presidents

George Washington1732–1799 Leader of the Continental Army of the U.S. during the Revolutionary War, and first President.
John Adams1735–1826 Second President of the United States. Worked tirelessly to help establish the republic on steady footing.
Thomas Jefferson1743–1826 Third President. Author of the Declaration of Independence. Founder of Democrat-Republican Party.
James Madison1751–1836 One of the chief authors of the Constitution and writer of the Federalist papers. Fourth President of the U.S.
James Monroe1758–1831 Fifth president of the United States, and ally of Thomas Jefferson. Acquired Florida and promulgated the 'Monroe Doctrine.'
John Quincy Adams1767–1848 Diplomat who spent much time in Europe before becoming the sixth U.S. President.
Andrew Jackson1767–1845 Hero of the Battle of New Orleans, President of U.S., and founder of Democratic Party.
William Henry Harrison1773–1841 War hero of Tippecanoe and the War of 1812, and briefly, President of the United States.
Zachary Taylor1784–1850 Military leader who served in various Indian Wars and the Mexican-American War. Twelfth U.S. President.
James K. Polk1795–1849 U.S. President who followed the policies of Andrew Jackson. President during the Mexican-American War.

Statesmen

Aaron Burr1756–1836 Controversial American statesman. VP under Jefferson. Killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel. Accused of Treason.
John Marshall1755–1835 Very Influential Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Founder of principle of Judicial Review.
DeWitt Clinton1769–1828 Governor of New York best known as the master-mind behind the Erie Canal.
Henry Clay1777–1852 Congressman and Speaker of the house of the mid-nineteenth century, associated with Webster and Calhoun.
John C. Calhoun1782–1850 Important Southern Statesman of the mid nineteenth century. Supported slavery and states rights.
Daniel Webster1782–1852 Influential Senator from New England. Promoted protective tariffs. Favored compromise on slavery.
Stephan Van Rensselaer III1764–1839 Heir to one of the largest fortunes in the United States, governor of New York, and military Hero.

Soldiers and Sailors

Commodore Preble1761–1807 Founding member of the U.S. Navy. Led the American Naval blockade of Tripoli in 1803.
William Bainbridge1774–1833 American naval hero who fought against the Barbary pirates, and piloted the U.S.S. Constitution during the war of 1812.
Stephen Decatur1779–1820 Naval Hero noted for his exploits during the war Barbary War, and also the War of 1812.
Isaac Hull1773–1843 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 Perry1785–1819 Naval Hero, commander of American forces at the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812.
General Winfield Scott1786–1866 Longest serving officer in American history. Served in all major wars between 1812 and the Civil War.

Indian Leaders

Osceola1804–1838 Half-breed Seminole Warrior who resisted the settlement of Florida.
Billy Bowlegs1810–1864 AmerIndian chief who frustrated warred against the United States in the Seminole Wars.
Tecumseh1768–1813 Shawnee Hero. Tried to unify tribes against the colonists. Fought for Britain during War of 1812.
Sacajewea1787–1812 Indian woman who accompanied Lewis and Clark during their explorations of the Louisiana Purchase.
John Ross1790–1866 Frontiersman who tried (but failed) to help the Cherokees form a nation and protect their rights in U.S. Courts.
Black Kettle1801–1868 Cheyenne chief who tried to make peace, but was sabotaged by aggressive acts of his own Indians as well as the white settlers.
Washakie1804–1900 Shoshone Indian War Chief

Inventions and Industry

John Jacob Astor1763–1848 First multi-millionaire in the United States. Made his fortune in the fur trade and New York real estate.
Robert Fulton1765–1815 Inventor of Steamboats. Operated the steamboat Clermont on the Hudson River.
Eli Whitney1765–1825 Inventor of the Cotton Gin, and also interchangeable parts for rifles.
Samuel Morse1791–1872 Inventor of Morse code, a system telegraph transmission widely used before the telephone.
Charles Goodyear1800–1860 Discovered the process for 'vulcanizing' rubber, and making it far more usable.
Cyrus McCormick1809–1884 Invented the mechanical reaper, which revolutionized agriculture, especially in midwest.

Explorers/Regional Heroes

Nolichucky Jack1745–1815 Frontiersman and Indian fighter who became the first governor of the state of Tennessee.
Jean Lafitte1780–1826 Pirate and American patriot who fought for the Americans during the war of 1812.
Stephen F. Austin1793–1835 Helped found the state of Texas by leading 300 families to settle in the region.
Sam Houston1793–1863 Founder of the state of Texas, and first governor.
Daniel Boone1734–1820 Explored the Kentucky and Tennessee Valley. Opened a road for settlers through Cumberland Gap.
Davy Crockett1786–1836 Tennessee Frontiersman and congressman. Involved with Texas independence. Died at the Alamo.
Alexander Henry the Younger1775–1814 Canadian Fur Trader, nephew of Alexander Henry the Elder, who kept extensive journasl of his travels in the northwest.

Arts and Literature

Francis Scott Key1779–1843 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 Audubon1785–1851 World renowned painter and collector of birds.
Horace Mann1796–1859 Advocate of Public education. Induced Massachusetts to adopt the Prussian model of state sponsored education.
Mary Lyon1797–1849 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


CharacterDate Short Biography

Statesmen

William Lloyd Garrison1805–1879 Prominent abolitionist, well-known as the publisher of the Liberator, an abolitionist newspaper.
Jefferson Davis1808–1889 President of the Confederacy during the Civil War.
Abraham Lincoln1809–1865 President of the United States during the American Civil War.
Charles Sumner1811–1874 Anti-slavery Senator from Massachusetts who was an imortant ally of Lincoln, and influential during the Reconstruction era.

Military Heroes

Robert E. Lee1807–1870 General of the Confederate Army during the American Civil War.
Admiral Farragut1801–1870 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. Beauregard1818–1893 Confederate general who was influential in the early years of the civil war.
Ulysses Grant1822–1885 Commander and Chief of the Union forces in the Civil War, and President of the United States.
William Sherman1822–1885 American Civil War General. Marched "From Atlanta to the Sea."
Stonewall Jackson1824–1863 Leading Confederate General of the American Civil War, especially notable at Bull Run. Died at Chancellorsville.
Commodore Perry1794–1858 Force Japan to open its ports to the west through very skillful and forceful diplomacy.

Abolitionists and Advocates

John Brown1800–1859 Radical abolitionist who condoned violence in order to abolish slavery. Led a raid on the armory in Harper's Ferry.
Frederick Douglas1817–1895 American Negro orator who spoke elequently against slavery.
Harriet Beecher Stowe1811–1896 Influential author of the book Uncle Tom's Cabin. Abolitionist in the pre-war era.
Dorothea Dix1802–1887 Reformer who sought to better the conditions of the mentally ill.
Horace Greeley1811–1872 Publisher of the New York Tribune, one of the most influential newspapers of his era.
Clara Barton1821–1912 Civil War Nurse and Humanitarian. Founder of the American Red Cross.
Oliver Otis Howard1830–1909 Civil war General who later oversaw the Freedman's bureau, founded Howard University, and was involved in the Indian Wars.

Industry and Invention

John Ericsson1803–1889 Swedish-American engineer who designed the Moniter, the first iron-clad in the United States Navy.
Elias Howe1819–1867 American inventor of the sewing machine. His great innovation was the "lock stitch".
Cyrus Field1819–1892 Led the effort by the Atlantic Telegraph Company to lay the first transatlantic Cable.

Art and Literature

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow1807–1882 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


CharacterDate Short Biography

Invention and Industry

Alexander Graham Bell1847–1922 Inventor of the telephone, and also a founder of a school for the deaf.
Thomas Edison1847–1931 Prolific inventor, responsible for improvements in the light bulb, movies, phonograph, and many others.
Wilber and Orville1871–1948 Inventors of the first practical airplane. The Wright brothers were self-educated bicycle shop owners.
Andrew Carnegie1835–1919 American Industrialist who gained his wealth in steel. He gave away most of his riches to libraries and schools.
Jay Gould1836–1892 American Financier involved with gold speculation, railroad speculation, and Boss Tweed in New York
John Philip Holland1841–1914 Born in Ireland, Holland designed the first submarine used by the U.S. Navy.
Robert Peary1856–1920 Artic explorer who claimed to have reached the North Pole.

Political and Military

James Garfield1831–1881 Elected President of the United states in 1880, but was assassinated only a few month after taking office.
Grover Cleveland1837–1908 President of the United States, elected twice. He was a reformer, noted for his honesty.
William McKinley1843–1901 President of the United States during the Spanish American War. He was assassinated in office.
Theodore Roosevelt1858–1919 Progressive Republican who served as the 26th President of the United States.
Woodrow Wilson1856–1924 United States President during the First World War. Founder of the League of Nations.
General Pershing1860–1948 Leader of the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I.
Admiral Hobson1870–1937 Naval leader in the Spanish American war, who heroically attempted to sink a collier in Santiago harbor.
George Dewey1837–1917 Highest ranking Naval Officer in U.S. Hero of Battle of Manila Bay in Spanish American War.
Sergeant York1887–1964 Great War veteran famous for his heroic exploits during the Battle of Argonne.

Social Reform

Lucretia Mott1793–1880 Influential Quaker leader who advocated the rights of women. Held relatively conservative views among early feminists.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton1815–1902 Early leader in the female suffrage, and temperance movement.
Susan B. Anthony1820–1906 Leader of the female suffrage and temperence movements who traveled widely and became a full time advocate.
Booker T. Washington1856–1915 Former slave who became an Important leader of newly freed negroes. Emphasised education, job training, clean-living, and self-help.
Joseph Smith1805–1844 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


CharacterDate Short Biography

American Explorers and Missionaries

William Clark1770–1838 Led an expedition up the Missouri River, map-making, gathering information, and looking for a passage to the Pacific Ocean.
Merriwether Lewis1774–1809 With William Clark, followed the Missouri river to its source, crossed the Rockies and followed the Columbia to the Pacific Ocean.
Zebulon Pike1779–1813 Led and expedition to explore the source of the Arkansas river. Followed the river to Colorado.
Kit Carson1809–1868 Famed Frontiersman who guided Fremont on his expedition to Colorado, and served during the Mexican-American war.
John C. Fremont1813–1890 American explorer who, along with Kit Carson, led an expedition to California by way of Wyoming and Nevada.
Buffalo Bill1846–1917 Colorful character of the Old American West. Produced a wild-west show that toured eastern towns with western frontier heroes.
Marcus Whitman1802–1847 Early missionary who founded the first settlement in Washington State near the columbia river. Massacred by Indians.
General Custer1839–1876 Cavalry general whose force was ambushed and massacred by the Sioux at the Battle of Little Bighorn.
Oliver Otis Howard1830–1909 Civil war General who later oversaw the Freedman's bureau, founded Howard University, and was involved in the Indian Wars.
Brigham Young1801–1877 Leader of the Church of Latter Day Saints after the death of Smith. Led the Mormans to Utah.
John Sutter1803–1880 Founded a European settlement in the Sacramento Valley where gold was found in 1849.

Spanish Explorers and Missionaries

Francisco de Coronado1510–1554 Spanish explorer who was a governor in Mexico, and explored regions of the Southwest United States.
Junipero Serra1713–1784 Franciscan Friar who founded over a dozen missions along the coast of California.
Juan Bautista de Anza1736–1788 Spanish governor of New Mexico who explored California and established an overland route to the San Francisco.

Native Chieftains and Leaders

Black Hawk1767–1838 Important Indian chief in the Illinois territory. Inspired the Sauks to resist the Americans during the Black Hawk War.
Sacajewea1787–1812 Indian woman who accompanied Lewis and Clark during their explorations of the Louisiana Purchase.
Cochise1805–1874 Apache Indian War Chief.
Winnemucca1820–1882 Chief of a Piute tribe. First befriended the white settlers, but rebelled when his tribe was mistreated.
Red Cloud1822–1909 Sioux Indian War Chief.
Geronimo1829–1909 Last Apache Warrior to hold out against the U.S. Army. Finally capitulated and became a celebrity.
Sitting Bull1831–1890 Medicine man who organized resistance to U.S. Army. His warriors defeated Custer at Little Bighorn.
Captain Jack1837–1873 Led a tribe of Modocs off the Klamath reservation to their native home, where they held out caves for several months.
Crazy Horse1840–1877 Dakota Indian chief who fought against the American army at Rosebud and Little Big Horn.
Chief Joseph1840–1904 Led Nez Perces in a resistance against the encroachment of white settlers. Finally surrendered.
Kalakaua1836–1891 Last King of the Hawaiian Islands.
Liliokalani1838–1917 Last Queen of the Hawaiian Islands.

American Indian—1540 to 1890

De Soto Expedition to Wounded Knee Massacre


CharacterDate Short Biography

Virginia Indians

Pocahontas1595–1617 Daughter of an Indian Chieftain who helped the early settlers in the Jamestown Colony in Virginia.
Powhatand. 1618 Chief of the Powhatan confederacy and father of Pocahontas. Kept an uneasy peace with Jamestown settlers.
Cockacoeskied. 1685 Queen of the Pamunkey, following the Powhatan wars, who made an alliance with the Virginia government during Bacon's rebellion.
Opechancanough1554–1646 Leader of the Powhatan confederacy who led an Indian massacre against Jamestown beginning in 1622, which killed hundreds of white settlers.

New England Indians

Squanto1580–1622 New England Indian who helped the pilgrims their first year in Plymouth Colony.
Samoset1590–1653 First American Indian encountered by the Pilgrims at the Plymouth colony.
Massasoit1581–1661 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 Philip1639–1676 Leader of the Wampanoags who led the first serious uprising against the white settlers in New England.

Northwest (Great Lakes) Indians

Cornstalk1720–1777 Indian leader who tried to be neutral during the Revolutionary War, but was murdered.
Pontiac1720–1769 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 Logan1725–1780 Indian chief who was friendly to white settlers until his family was killed. He then warred against the U.S.
Little Turtle1747–1812 Indian chief from the Ohio Valley who first fought against the U.S. but later counseled Peace.
Tecumseh1768–1813 Shawnee Hero. Tried to unify tribes against the colonists. Fought for Britain during War of 1812.

Southeast Indians

Tuscaloosad. 1540 Choctaw chieftain who resisted de Soto at the Battle of Mauvila during his expedition through the southwest.
Billy Bowlegs1810–1864 AmerIndian chief who frustrated warred against the United States in the Seminole Wars.
Osceola1804–1838 Half-breed Seminole Warrior who resisted the settlement of Florida.

Western Indians

Black Hawk1767–1838 Important Indian chief in the Illinois territory. Inspired the Sauks to resist the Americans during the Black Hawk War.
Sacajewea1787–1812 Indian woman who accompanied Lewis and Clark during their explorations of the Louisiana Purchase.
Black Kettle1801–1868 Cheyenne chief who tried to make peace, but was sabotaged by aggressive acts of his own Indians as well as the white settlers.
Washakie1804–1900 Shoshone Indian War Chief
Cochise1805–1874 Apache Indian War Chief.
Manuelito1818–1893 Navajo Indian War Chief.
Winnemucca1820–1882 Chief of a Piute tribe. First befriended the white settlers, but rebelled when his tribe was mistreated.
Red Cloud1822–1909 Sioux Indian War Chief.
Geronimo1829–1909 Last Apache Warrior to hold out against the U.S. Army. Finally capitulated and became a celebrity.
Sitting Bull1831–1890 Medicine man who organized resistance to U.S. Army. His warriors defeated Custer at Little Bighorn.
Standing Bear1834–1908 Ponca chieftain whose tribe was forcibly removed from their settlement. He later 'sued' the government and won.
Captain Jack1837–1873 Led a tribe of Modocs off the Klamath reservation to their native home, where they held out caves for several months.
Crazy Horse1840–1877 Dakota Indian chief who fought against the American army at Rosebud and Little Big Horn.
Chief Joseph1840–1904 Led Nez Perces in a resistance against the encroachment of white settlers. Finally surrendered.
Sarah Winnemucca1841–1891 Daughter of Chief Winnemucca. Served as translator between Piutes and U.S. Army. Wrote a book.