On February 4, 1826, The Last of the Mohicans, by James Fenimore Cooper, was published. Cooper’s books were the first successful American novels. As with the rest of the books in Cooper’s “Leatherstocking Tales,”, the story follows the adventures of Nathanial “Natty” Bumppo, nicknamed “Hawkeye” by his Native American friends. In The Last of the Mohicans, Hawkeye and his Mohican and British allies pursue a villainous band of Hurons who kidnapped three people and massacred an entire Army division.Though a fictional story, The Last of the Mohicans is set in real places in upstate New York during actual historical events. During the French and Indian War (1754-1763), upstate New York was still a frontier region filled with nations of Native Americans who allied with the French or English. In 1757, there actually was a grisly massacre of British troops surrendering Fort William Henry.Today, The Last of the Mohicans provides a window into a time before wilderness gave way to development. Native American civilizations chronicled in the novel were pushed onto reservations far from their historic homelands. Even by Cooper's time, there were few Native Americans left in the Lake Champlain region. Roads had already replaced the trails only perceptible to the wily woodsman Hawkeye and his Mohican friend, Chingachgook.
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry chronicle Verb
complex way of life that developed as humans began to develop urban settlements.
Encyclopedic Entry: civilization development Noun
construction or preparation of land for housing, industry, or agriculture.
largely unpopulated area that is slowly being opened up for settlement.
mass killing of large number of people.
Native American Noun
person whose ancestors were native inhabitants of North or South America. Native American usually does not include Eskimo or Hawaiian people.
fictional narrative or story.
land in the U.S. reserved for the political, cultural, and physical use of Native American tribes and nations.
to give up.
environment that has remained essentially undisturbed by human activity.
Encyclopedic Entry: wilderness