Lake Ontario

Geographic position

43.7000° N, 77.9000° W


Smith, Donald B. Sacred Feather. University of Toronto Press. 1987. Web.

General note

The smallest of the Great Lakes, Lake Ontario is located in between the state of New York and the province of Ontario. The name Ontario is Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) for beautiful great lake. In the 17th century, the Haudenosaunee engaged in fur trade with the Dutch, English, and northern Algonquians. Lake Ontario served as the Haudenosaunee base for fur trappings, and they established settlements along the north shore. By 1700, the Anishinabeg, called Ojibwas and Mississaugas by the English, pushed the Haudenosaunee, who had been weakened by disease, out of the area in a bloody war. The Algonquians who settled on the shores of Lake Ontario retained the Haudenosaunee name for the lake. The British gained control of the lake during the French and Indian War. During and following the American Revolution, there was increased trade and settlement in the area surrounding the lake. Since the Treaty of Paris in 1783, Canada and the United States have shared Lake Ontario. In a 1768 letter to Wheelock, Jacob Johnson expresses concern about wealthy men trying to convince “the Oneida and other Indians to sell their lands from Fort stanwicks to the Lake Ontario.”