Wendat Confederacy: 1300-1650 AD

Quendake (called Huronia by the French) was the original homeland of the Wendat (literally meaning “dwellers of the peninsula”).  The Wendat were the ancestors of the Wyandot (Huron) Confederacy that emerged in the 17th Century from the remnants of those that survived a series of attacks by the the Five Nations (1648-1650).


The Wendat Confederacy was established sometime in the 14th Century (or about 200 years before the arrival of the Europeans).  The French referred to the Wendat as Huron which in French means either “ruffian” or “boar-like.”  The Wendat Confederacy was the first of the great Iroquoian confederacies in the region.

The earliest written accounts of the Huron were made by the French, who began exploring North America in the 16th century.  News of the newcomers reached the Huron, particularly when Samuel de Champlain explored the Saint Lawrence River in the early 1600s, and some Huron decided to go and meet the Europeans.  Atironta, one of the principal leaders of the Arendarhonon tribe, went to Quebec and made an alliance with Champlain’s colony in 1609.

The total population of the Huron at the time of contact was at about 20,000 to 40,000.  From 1634 to 1640, the Huron were devastated by war and European diseases.  The Iroquois and Huron had been fighting for many decades prior to the arrival of the French.  The arrival of the Europeans and their technology led to intensification in the violence.  Weakened by diseases like measles and smallpox, the Wendat were incapable of defending themselves against the Iroquois raids of 1648-1650.  Huronia was destroyed and its people dispersed. The term Wyandot came to be used in reference to the survivors of the Huronian dispersal.


The survivors of the dispersal relocated to north of Quebec City and some merged with nations from the Great Lakes area.  By 1701 the Huron had moved in to the Ohio Valley.  They remained there until removed by the Americans to Kansas in the 1840s.