Native American occupancy
Between 8500 and 7000 BCE, at the time of the Champlain Sea, Native Americans inhabited and hunted in present-day Vermont. During the Archaic period, from the 8th millennium BCE to 1000 BCE, Native Americans migrated year-round. During the Woodland period, from 1000 BCE to 1600 CE, villages and trade networks were established, and ceramic and bow and arrow technology was developed. In the western part of the state there lived a small population of Algonquian-speaking tribes, including the Mohican and Abenaki peoples. Sometime between 1500 and 1600 CE, the Iroquois, based in present-day New York, drove many of the smaller native tribes out of Vermont, later using the area as a hunting ground and warring with the remaining Abenaki. The population in 1500 CE was estimated to be around 10,000 people.
The first European to see Vermont is thought to have been Jacques Cartier in 1535. On July 30, 1609, French explorer Samuel de Champlain claimed Vermont as part of New France. In 1666, French settlers erected Fort Lamotte, the first European settlement in Vermont.
In 1638, a “violent” earthquake was felt throughout New England, centered in the St. Lawrence Valley. This was the first seismic event noted in Vermont.
In 1690, a group of Dutch-British settlers from Albany established a settlement and trading post at Chimney Point 8 miles (13 km) west of present-day Addison.
During Dummer’s War, the first permanent British settlement was established in 1724, with the construction of Fort Dummer. It was to protect the nearby settlements of Dummerston and Brattleboro.
- From 1731 to 1734
- Through the 1763
- On March 20, 1764
From 1731 to 1734, the French constructed Fort St. Frédéric, which gave the French control of the New France/Vermont frontier region in the Lake Champlain Valley. With the outbreak of the French and Indian War in 1754, the North American front of the Seven Years’ War between the French and English, the French began construction of Fort Carillon at present-day Ticonderoga, New York in 1755. The British failed to take Fort St. Frédéric or Fort Carillon between 1755 and 1758. In 1759, a combined force of 12,000 British regular and provincial troops under Sir Jeffery Amherst captured Carillon, after which the French abandoned Fort St. Frédéric. Amherst constructed Fort Crown Point next to the remains of the Fort St. Frédéric, securing British control over the area.
Following France’s loss in the French and Indian War, through the 1763 Treaty of Paris they ceded control of the land to the British. Colonial settlement was limited by the Crown to lands east of the Appalachians, in order to try to end encroachment on Native American lands. The territory of Vermont was divided nearly in half in a jagged line running from Fort William Henry in Lake George diagonally north-eastward to Lake Memphremagog. With the end of the war, new settlers arrived in Vermont. Ultimately, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and New York all claimed this frontier area.
On March 20, 1764, King George III established the boundary between New Hampshire and New York along the west bank of the Connecticut River, north of Massachusetts, and south of 45 degrees north latitude. In 1770, Ethan Allen, his brothers Ira and Levi, and Seth Warner, recruited an informal militia known as the Green Mountain Boys to protect the interests of the original New Hampshire settlers against newcomers from New York.