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Pickawillany was an 18th century Miami Indian village located on the Great Miami River in North America's Ohio Valley near the modern city of Piqua, Ohio. In 1749 a British trading post was established alongside the Miami village, selling goods to neighbouring tribes at the site. In 1850, a stockade was constructed to protect the post, Fort Pickawillany. The traders' success threatened what had previously been a French monopoly over local commerce, and in 1752 the village and trading post were destroyed in a combined French-American Indian assault.

Pickawillany's destruction directly encouraged greater British fortification and military presence at other outposts in the Ohio Valley, and has been seen as a precursor to the wider British-French conflict that would become the French and Indian War.

The English term Pickawillany derives from the Shawnee word for the Miamis – pkiiwileni (foreigner). The Miamis name for the village (Pinkwaawileniaki) is a direct translation of the Shawnee pekowiiøa – "ash people".[1]


The Miami Indians settled Pickawillany in fall 1747. In 1748 George Croghan, an Irish trader and Pennsylvania Indian agent, established a trading post alongside the village, with the approval of La Demoiselle (Memeskia), the Miami chief. Memeskia was a war chief of Ottawa-French descent and was fluent in both languages. Croghan subsequently developed an active trade with French-Canadian fur traders. It was destroyed by the French and their Native American allies under Charles de Langlade in June 1752.

The remains of Pickawillany may have been the site of a 1763 battle during the war described by Black Hoof, in which Miami and Wyandot fortified themselves against Delaware and Shawnee warriors, who gave up the siege after seven days.[citation needed]

Chief Little Turtle (Michikinikwa), at Greeneville, reportedly said, "You discovered on the Great Miami traces of an old fort. It was not a French fort, brother, it was a fort built by me." Historians believe this is an error in translation, and that he said "a fort built by Mishikinakwa (The Turtle)," the name of an early Miami leader known to be at Pickawillany.

The Miami abandoned the village, relocating nearby. The present-day city of Piqua, Ohio in the United States was later developed around the second location by settlers moving west during the American Revolutionary War.


  1. ^ David J. Costa, “On the Origin of ‘Pickawillany,'” Names, Vol. 62 No. 4, December 2014, 214-17
  • Carter, Harvey Lewis. The Life and Times of Little Turtle. ISBN 0-252-01318-2.
  • White, Richard. The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650-1815, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991, reprinted 2011.

External links[edit]

The Crooked Trail to Pickawillany (1747-1752) by George Ironstack; Miami University (2012 April 19; visited 2018 September 17)]