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Dutch Trade with Iroquios

The Great Minquas Path was named by the Dutch for the Minquas Indians (the Susquehanna, from whose territory on the Susquehanna near Washington Borough this path ran to the Philadelphia-Chester area. It was used by the Susquehannocks in historic times as an alternate to their canoe route (see the French Creek Path) for the bringing of furs to Dutch and Swedish trading posts on the Schuylkill and Delaware rivers.

There were many branches at the eastern end, running down to Chester and other points on the Delaware. The eastern terminus of the main path at one time was at Fort Manayunk, which had been established by Governor Johan Printz on the west bank of the Schuylkill near the later Penrose Ferry Bridge. Moving west from Fort Manayunk, the path ran through Darby, Lima, Gradyville, the Forks of the Brandywine, Mortonville, Parkesburg, Gap, Strasburg, Willow Street, Rockhill (where it crossed Conestoga Creek), to populous Susquehannock settlements by the Susquehanna River.

Over this path the Susquehannock Indians yearly brought great wealth in beaver skins to the eastern trading posts. The Minquas Path not only laid foundations for Pennsylvania's commercial development, it also provides a key to much of the Commonwealth's early history. "The struggle by Holland, Sweden and Great Britain for the possession of the Delaware River," writes George P. Donehoo, "was in order to control the trade with the Minquas living on the Susquehanna."

Indian - European trade brings war between Susquehannah Minquas Iroquios tribes and Costal Alginkin Tribes

The headwaters of the Christina around Iron Hill have a prehistoric aspect. There was a Native Indian short-cut between the bays from a Big Elk tributary crossing on land between the Iron and Chestnut Hills (ironically, now a part of I-95) to the Christina Creek.

This short cut was used by the great fur traders of the Susquehanna Iroquios to bring pelts to the Dutch posts along the eastern NJ Bay Shore and later to Fort Christina. The Minquas Iroquios were land-locked from the bay and began warring with the peaceful coastal Algonkin Tribes to gain ready access to the white man.

Peter Minuit had this in mind when he bought NCC for the Swedes in 1638. He had surveyed the entire "South River" (the DE River) a decade before while working for the Dutch West India Trading Co. He knew exactly what mighty fortunes would result in being situated on the Christina (or Minquas) River.

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