The Iroquois (/ˈɪrəkwɔɪ/ or /ˈɪrəkwɑː/), officially the Haudenosaunee (/ˌhdinˈʃn/[3][4] meaning "people of the longhouse") are an Iroquoian-speaking confederacy of First Nations peoples in northeast North America/Turtle Island. They were known during the colonial years to the French as the Iroquois League, and later as the Iroquois Confederacy. The English called them the Five Nations, comprising the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca (listed geographically from east to west). After 1722, the Iroquoian-speaking Tuscarora people from the southeast were accepted into the confederacy, which became known as the Six Nations.

Haudenosaunee Confederacy
Iroquois Confederacy
Map showing historical (in purple) and currently recognized (in pink) Iroquois territory claims.
StatusRecognized confederation, later became an unrecognized government[1][2]
CapitalOnondaga (village), Onondaga Nation (at various modern locations:
Common languagesIroquoian languages
LegislatureGrand Council of the Six Nations
Between 1450 and 1660 (estimate)

The Confederacy came about as a result of the Great Law of Peace, said to have been composed by Deganawidah the Great Peacemaker, Hiawatha, and Jigonsaseh the Mother of Nations. For nearly 200 years, the Six Nations/Haudenosaunee Confederacy were a powerful factor in North American colonial policy, with some scholars arguing for the concept of the Middle Ground,[5] in that European powers were used by the Iroquois just as much as Europeans used them.[6] At its peak around 1700, Iroquois power extended from what is today New York State, north into present-day Ontario and Quebec along the lower Great Lakesupper St. Lawrence, and south on both sides of the Allegheny mountains into present-day Virginia and Kentucky and into the Ohio Valley.

The St. Lawrence Iroquoians, Wendat (Huron), Erie, and Susquehannock, all independent peoples known to the European colonists, also spoke Iroquoian languages. They are considered Iroquoian in a larger cultural sense, all being descended from the Proto-Iroquoian people and language. Historically, however, they were competitors and enemies of the Iroquois League nations.[7]

In 2010, more than 45,000 enrolled Six Nations people lived in Canada, and over 81,000 in the United States.[8][9]

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