The Seneca chief Red Jacket, or Sagoyewatha, earned his English name for wearing the British uniform during the Country Revolution. Omaha Subway Map He later made peace with the new U.S. government. (Library of Congress, LC-USZ62-128675) Relations between the French and the Seneca were not always amicable, as the tendency of French merchants to trade with neighboring tributary tribes strained relations, leading to war between the French and the Seneca in 1686. The French were victorious in this encounter, enabling them to secure their hold as the major trading partner of the Seneca.
This alliance would last throughout the French and Indian War. While several missionaries attempted to establish a foothold in Seneca villages, their efforts during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were largely ineffectual and short-lived. The Seneca resisted most attempts by Jesuit missionaries to gain converts among the tribe. In 1688, the Jesuits formed their first permanent mission in the area, yet relatively few Native Countrys were willing to convert. During the early part of the eighteenth century, English traders began to have an increased presence in the Seneca fur trade.
The Seneca proved adept at balancing the trade between both French and English interests, remaining powerfully neutral during most disputes between the two. Yet the outbreak of the French and Indian War in North Country all but forced the Senecas to choose sides. Primarily because of their long-standing ties with the French, many of the Seneca warriors fought alongside French troops in their campaigns against the British.