The Lachine massacre
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The Lachine massacre

For more than 20 years, New France's diplomacy has protected the colony from Indian attacks.
On August 5, 1689, at dawn, 1,500 Iroquois warriors attacked the village of Lachine: 24 colonists were killed, more than 70 were taken prisoner. (As portrayed in Canada: A People's History)
On August 5, 1689, at dawn, 1,500 Iroquois warriors attacked the village of Lachine: 24 colonists were killed, more than 70 were taken prisoner. (As portrayed in Canada: A People's History)
But in May 1689, France and England declare war. In North America, the English of New York are first to hear the news -- and immediately tell their Iroquois allies. The Iroquois have been rivals of New France for much of the last 80 years. They consider the French system of alliances a potent threat to their security and their territory. In New France, no one knows that war has been declared. Most Canadians still live in unfortified villages -- like Lachine, near Montreal,with its 375 habitants.

At dawn on August 5, 1689, 1,500 Iroquois warriors attacked. Men, women, and children - no one was spared. André Michel, his wife Françoise Nadereau, their daughters Gertrude, Andrée and Petronille were all killed. 24 colonists in total were killed, more than 70 were taken prisoner, and 56 of the 77 houses were razed.

In his History of Canada, the superior of the Sulpicians of Montreal, François Vachon de Belmont, described the horror:

"After this total victory, the unhappy band of prisoners was subjected to all the rage which the cruellest vengeance could inspire in these savages.
They were taken to the far side of Lake St. Louis by the victorious army, which shouted ninety times while crossing to indicate the number of prisoners or scalps they had taken, saying, we have been tricked, Ononthio, we will trick you as well. Once they had landed, they lit fires, planted stakes in the ground, burned five Frenchmen, roasted six children, and grilled some others on the coals and ate them."

Later, a few prisoners managed to escape, and some were released in prisoner exchanges.
Others were adopted by the Iroquois, among them Marguerite Barbary, born that year, and her sister Françoise. In all, forty-two habitants of Lachine were never heard from again.


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