Natives in the Landscape

1677-80 Treaties

© 2006 Charles City County

Historical Record: 1677-80 Treaties

In May of 1677 the first Treaty of Middle Plantation was signed by Virginia and some of the Indian groups affected by Bacon’s Rebellion. Cockacoeske of Pamunkey signed not only for her community, but also for the Rappahannock and the Chickahominy. Those groups protested over the Pamunkey subjection prescribed by the peace accord, and appear to have maintained their independence. Original signers included the Pamunkeys, the Weyanocks, the Nansemonds, and the Nottoways.

Articles of Peace, printed by John Bill, Christopher Barker, Thomas Newcomb and Henry Hills, London 1677. Courtesy Special Collections, Earl Gregg Swem Library, College of William and Mary.

Further negotiations resulted in an appendix to the 1677 agreement. The second Treaty of Middle Plantation was signed by the Meherrins, the Sapponies, the Appomattox, the Monacans, and the Nanzaticos / Nansemonds / Portabacos. The combined treaty provided:

  • The Indian leaders acknowledged the English crown as their sovereign, and agreed to pay tribute annually as loyal subjects.
  • The Indians would hold their lands by patent, offering three arrows in lieu of services each March.
  • Indians who maintained allegiance to the Crown would be provided lands, if they had none; those with lands would be confirmed and protected, as long as they were cooperative and maintained the property.
  • To avoid future conflict, no English would be allowed to settle within three miles of Indian towns.
  • Complaints and grievances of the Indians were to be filed with the Governor, where English law would apply to both parties as equals.
  • No Indian leaders would be imprisoned without the Governor and Council’s warrant. Other Indians would not be held without a warrant from a Justice of the Peace with sufficient cause.
  • Indians might gather plants not used by the English, after notifying a public Magistrate. After gathering their plants, the Indians were to return home, unarmed.
  • Foreign Indians were to be reported, escorted and attacked as required. Those involved in escorts were to be unpainted.
  • Provisions for Indians in war service would be provided.
  • Leaders of the signature tribes would be treated as equals, except for Cockacoesque who would act as paramount to other groups, such as the Chickahominy and Rappahannocks.
  • No Indians would be kept as servants without proper licenses.
  • Runaways were to be returned to appropriate villages.
  • Servitude would be regulated by age, as not to develop into slavery.
  • Indian tribes would pay 20 beaver skins each year as tribute to the Governor.
  • Official trips to the Governor would be covered by the public treasury, with protection and provisions provided.
  • Consultation between parties would be required before the onset of war between Indian groups, with the Governor as intermediary.
  • Indian interpreters or trusted individuals would be employed for each Indian community.
  • Indian servants and hostages were to be returned.
  • Indian trade would continue to be regulated.
  • All English and Indians in the Province of Maryland were to ascribe to the Articles of Peace provided in the document.

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Natural Environment Learn about the Chickahominy tribe. Learn about the Paspahegh tribe. Learn about the Weyanock tribe.