Human History

About twelve thousand years ago (the time the glaciers begin to decrease) the first humans entered the Niagara region. Just at the time the Falls were born. During this period the climate began to get wormer the landscape was covered with tundra vegetation and spruce forest. This era is named the Paleo-Indian Period and lastet until 9000 years ago.
From 9500 yaers to 300 years ago the Indian culture developed culminating in the Iroquois culture. Living in southern Ontario and even a wider area the Iroquois consisted of five later six nations. (Cayuga, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca and Tuscarora)
Ancient Indians
Ancient Indians
last reviewed on: August 19, 2004)
When the first Europeans arrived at the New World in the beginning 17'th century the Five Nations were the main power in the region with a high developed level of organisation. Although the tribes weren't associated in a modern federation and even fought war against each other several times.
These conflicts were even made worse by the European settlers since Britain and France not only fought their wars against each other but also brought over the hostility to the Indian region. The famous novells of James Fenimore Cooper play in front of this historical background.
The first Europeans in Canada didn't even see the Niagara Falls for long years although among others Jacques Cartier in 1535 and Samuel Champlain in 1608 explored the new countries and also heard stories about the Falls from the Indians. But in 1615 Etienne Brule might have been the first non Indian who beholded the cataracts.
Ten years later Gabriel Lalemant a Jesuit father was the first who recorded the Iroquois word 'Onguiaahra' (meaning "the Strait") which is now simplificated as 'Niagara' the common name.
In the upcoming years the Niagara region developed a lot from the calm natural refugee with the astonishing Falls to the almost adventure park like surrunding of these days.
Niagara at Night
Niagara at night
(Klick on picture to view large.)
last reviewed on: August 19, 2004)
In 1678 Louis Hennepin visited the Falls and published the first engraving about nineteen years later. He estimated the Falls to be about 183 metres high. More than three times higher than they actually are. In the 1820's the first stairway down into the Gorge was build and supplemented with a paved road in 1827.From 1896 three boats provided transport services between Toronto and Queenston.
After World War I the increasing spread of automobiles even pushed the development of tourism around the Falls to the extent of today.

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