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Blue Jacket (1740?–1808?), Shawnee warrior and diplomat, was probably born in Pennsylvania. Originally called Sepettekenathe (Big Rabbit), he changed his name to Waweyapiersenwa (Whirlpool) before 1778 but was generally known as Blue Jacket. He probably belonged to the Pekowi division of the Shawnee tribe. By 1772 he had become a war chief among the Shawnees of the upper Scioto River, where he had a village on Deer Creek. His influence rested upon his prowess as a warrior and his extensive connections and familiarity with whites....

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Carmichael, William (?–09 February 1795), diplomat and adventurer, was born at “Round Top” in Queen Anne’s County, Maryland, the son of William Carmichael, a Scottish immigrant, and Brooke (maiden name unknown), a niece of the second wife of Richard Bennett, a wealthy landowner. Owing to the land and property that came to Carmichael from his mother’s side of the family, he was able to obtain a top-notch American education and to be admitted to the bar in Maryland. Carmichael also traveled to Ireland in 1768 and studied in Edinburgh, Scotland. He traveled throughout the British Isles for a time and when the American Revolution began, he was enjoying a pleasant life in London (where he was known for frequenting alehouses and soliciting the services of prostitutes)....

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Chouteau, Auguste Pierre (09 May 1786–25 December 1838), fur trader and Indian diplomat, was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Jean Pierre Chouteau, a fur trader and one of the founders of St. Louis, and Pelagie Kiersereau. He attended the United States Military Academy at West Point from 17 July 1804 until 20 June 1806 and became an ensign in the Second United States Infantry. After serving briefly as aide to General ...

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Dunquat (1740–1789), intertribal leader appointed by the British and the Detroit Hurons in the Ohio country during the revolutionary war and for several years thereafter, was also known as Pomoacan and Petawantakas. Nothing is known about the first decades of Dunquat’s life. Until 1774 he lived in the Hurons’ Brownstown (present-day Michigan) village. He was at first identified as a Huron and later as a Wyandot, although in 1781 he claimed that he was New York Iroquois in origin....

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George, Samuel (1795–24 September 1873), Onondaga chief and Iroquois Confederacy spokesman, was born into the Wolf clan on the Buffalo Creek Reservation in western New York State. This community, which encompassed much of the present-day city of Buffalo, was the cultural, political, and religious center of Indian life in the state in the years after the American Revolution. Although we know nothing about George’s parents, we do know that he grew to manhood during approximately the same period as the spread of a major Iroquois religious revival led by ...

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Guyasuta (1725–1794), Seneca chief and diplomat, was probably born on the Genesee River in New York into the Wolf clan of the Senecas. As Guyasuta grew to adulthood, the western Seneca (those of the Genesee Valley westward into the Ohio country) generally pursued a pro-French policy. Nevertheless, Guyasuta is said to have guided the young ...

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Herrman, Augustine (1605?–1686?), merchant, attorney, ambassador, and mapmaker, was born in Prague, Bohemia, thought to be the son of Ephraim Augustin Herrman, a shopkeeper and city councilman, and Beatrix Redel, but possibly the son of Abraham Herrman, a Hussite minister in Mseno who was exiled to Zittau in Saxony because he was not Roman Catholic, and eventually settled in Amsterdam (wife’s name unknown)....

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Duane Hollow Horn Bear, Duane Hollow Horn Bear and Duane Hollow Horn Bear

Hollow Horn Bear (1851–15 March 1913), Lakota chief and diplomat, whose Christian name was Daniel, was born in Nebraska Territory, the son of Iron Shell, Sr. (Maza Pankeska), a Lakota chief, and Wants Everything (Wisica Wacin Win). His Lakota name was Mato Hehlogece. Hollow Horn Bear was born in the year the Lakota people (also known as the Teton or Western Sioux) signed a treaty of peace with the United States at Fort Laramie. His family lived among the Sicangu (Brule or Burnt Thigh) division of the Lakota, and his father was the chief of an important family group ( ...

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Hollow Horn Bear Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-102873).

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Leidesdorff, William Alexander (1810– May 1848), pioneer, diplomat, and businessman, was born in St. Croix in the Danish Virgin Islands, the son of William Leidesdorff, a Danish planter, and Anna Marie Sparks, an Afro-Caribbean slave. He was educated by his owner, who reportedly treated him more as a son than as a slave. As a young man he was sent to New Orleans to work for his uncle’s cotton business as a master of ships sailing between New York and New Orleans. Both his father and uncle died soon after, leaving Leidesdorff a sizable inheritance. His newly acquired wealth allowed him to propose to a woman he had been courting, Hortense, who accepted. The engagement ended painfully shortly before the marriage date when Leidesdorff told his fiancée that through his mother he was of African descent. She called off the wedding, and he, heartbroken, left New Orleans....

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Morris, Edward Joy (16 July 1815–31 December 1881), legislator, author, and diplomat, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, of unknown ancestry. He attended the University of Pennsylvania and graduated from Harvard College in 1836. He studied law and was admitted to the Philadelphia bar in 1842, while serving in the Pennsylvania assembly, 1841–1843. Morris served one term as a Whig in Congress, 1843–1845. When his bid for reelection failed, he resumed his law practice. In 1847 he married Elizabeth Gatliff Ella of Philadelphia, with whom he had two daughters....

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Pitchlynn, Peter Perkins (30 January 1806–17 January 1881), diplomat and Choctaw chief, was born at Hush-ook-wa, a Choctaw community in present-day northeastern Mississippi. He was the son of John Pitchlynn, an English–Indian trader, and Sophia Folsom, the Metis (mixed-blood) daughter of Ebenezer Folsom. Christened Ha-tchoc-tuck-nee (“Snapping Turtle”) by his fullblood friends, Peter Pitchlynn enjoyed a childhood atypical of his Choctaw companions. The economic success of his father meant that he enjoyed many “civilized” amenities, including the labor of black slaves. Traders, travelers, government officials, and Christian ministers also visited his home. In the 1820s, moreover, he attended two mission schools in Tennessee; the renowned Choctaw Academy in Blue Lick, Kentucky; and the University of Nashville in Tennessee. In 1824 he married Rhoda Folsom, the sister of Choctaw leader ...

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Peter Perkins Pitchlynn. Lithograph, 1842, by Peter S. Duval (after Charles Fenderich). National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

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Sayenqueraghta (1707?–1786?), Seneca leader and diplomat, was born probably in Ganundasaga near present-day Geneva, New York, the son of Cayenquaraghta, a Seneca chief killed during one of the frontier clashes between France and England. His mother’s name is unknown. Variant spellings and translations of his name include Kaien?kwaahton, Kayenquarachton, Smoke, Smoke Vanishes, Old Smoke, Old King, the Seneca King, and the King of Kanadesaga....

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Snake (fl. 1774–1812), Shawnee warrior and diplomat, was also known as Blacksnake and Captain Snake. His Indian name has been rendered as Pataso, Petazo, Peteasua, Patasua, and Ptasua. The name “Snake” was held by at least two Shawnee leaders of the period. Disentangling references to the different individuals is difficult, but the more famous Captain Snake should not be confused with the younger Shemenetoo, or Big Snake, who signed the treaties of Greenville (1814), Spring Wells (1815), and the Miami (1817) and who emigrated from Ohio to territory west of the Mississippi, where he died in the later 1830s. Captain Snake was a notable figure in frontier war and politics during the last quarter of the eighteenth century and evidently died at Wapakoneta on the Auglaize River, Ohio, about 1813....

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Van Braam Houckgeest, Andreas Everardus (01 November 1739–08 July 1801), diplomat, art collector, and author of the first book about China by an American, was born in the province of Utrecht in the Netherlands, the son of François Thomas van Braam and Evardina Catherina van Nijmegen. After a brief term in the Dutch navy, he entered the service of the Dutch East India Company in December 1758 on a voyage to China. In 1763 he married Catharina C. G. van Reede van Oudtshoorn, a resident of Cape Town, South Africa, adding at that time Houckgeest to his name in honor of a line of artists on his mother’s side. Apart from two short voyages to Europe, he remained in Canton and Macao until 1773, when he returned to the Netherlands and established himself as a gentleman farmer in the province of Gelderland....

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Winslow, Edward (18 October 1595–08 May 1655), diplomat, author, and political leader, was born in Droitwich, Worcestershire, the son of Edward Winslow, a salt merchant, and Magdalene Oliver. Baptized on 19 October 1595, he was well educated at the cathedral school in Worcester. By 1617 he had joined John Robinson’s separatist congregation at Leyden. There he married Elizabeth Barker, of Chattisham, Suffolk, in 1618. At the time he was apparently a printer associated with ...