Shackamaxon

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Shackamaxon or Shakamaxon was a historic meeting place along the Delaware River used by the Lenni Lenape (Delaware) Indians in North America.

The "Treaty Elm," Birch's Views of Philadelphia (1800).

It was located within what are now the borders of the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. From the Lenape term Sakimauchheen Ing (pronounced Sak-i-mauch-heen Ing) which means “to make a chief or king place”; called “Shackamaxon” by the English, Dutch, and Swedes. It's where the Lenapi "crowned" their many family sakima (chief) or their three clan kitakima (big or clan chief) of the Lenape Nation. Others have interpreted the name to mean "the place of eels," which refers to it as being an important summer fishing spot for the Native Americans. The area is the modern neighborhoods of Fishtown, Kensington, and Port Richmond in Philadelphia.[1]

In 1682, William Penn made a treaty with the leaders of the Lenni Lenape under an ancient elm tree. While some scholars argue that the treaty has never been authenticated, Native Americans and many others believe the "Wampum Belt" given to William Penn by the Native Americans and now in the possession of the Atwater Kent Museum, is the authentication for the treaty. Later land deals were actually signed, but this first meeting was a "treaty of amity and friendship," the opening event of a new friendship between the Quakers (William Penn) and Lenni Lenapes. The treaty was immortalized in several works of art (in particular, Benjamin West's paintings) and was mentioned by the French author Voltaire. The legendary elm tree marking the spot blew down in a storm on March 5, 1810. Its location was memorialized by the placing of an obelisk in 1827 by the Penn Society. It was further memoralized by the founding of a park in 1893, known as Penn Treaty Park.

Six Swedish families were recorded as living in this area before Penn's arrival. The Swedes sold out to the new English settlers. In the 18th century, the territory of Shackamaxon was developed as part of the Port Richmond, Fishtown, and Kensington sections of Philadelphia. Today there is a Shackamaxon Street in Philadelphia which runs several blocks through Fishtown.

The Shackamaxon treaty is mentioned on several official websites as part of the history of Pennsylvania, such as that of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.[2]

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Coordinates: 39°57′58″N 75°07′44″W / 39.966°N 75.129°W / 39.966; -75.129