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Mohawk Reinvention of the Fort Orange and Albany Courthouses, 1652-77

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This article analyzes the process of how Albany came to stand as a center of Anglo-Indian relations in the seventeenth century. Through the understanding of the diverse and changing geographical interpretations of particular places and spaces, this paper analyzes Iroquois, Dutch and English understandings of significance and uses of the Fort Orange, later Albany, courthouse to demonstrate how the Iroquois, Mohawks in particular, were able to both function within and contribute to the reinvention of this quintessential European institution to suit their own diplomatic purposes. Through understanding varying interpretations of the court as a diplomatically significant place, we gain a clearer understanding of the role of Native peoples in the creation of this cross-cultural courthouse as it became “the only appointed and prefixed place” of the Covenant Chain of Alliance between the Iroquois and English in 1677.

Affiliations: 1: Le Moyne College E-mail:


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