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Portsmouth NH commemorates 1713 Treaty of Portsmouth

The dawnland.
The dawnland.
Peter Randall

This summer, Portsmouth will commemorate the 300th anniversary of the 1713 Treaty of Portsmouth between the English and the Native Americans of the Maine and New Hampshire coast. Two special exhibits, “First Nations Diplomacy Opens the Portsmouth Door,” open on May 1 at the Portsmouth Historical Society’s John Paul Jones House Museum and at Strawbery Banke Museum.

The exhibits feature historical artifacts from the era and replicas of the original Treaty from the Library of Congress and the British Archives, signed by New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Native American dignitaries. A series of talks and other programs are scheduled at the two museums and at Portsmouth Historic Houses Association properties (including Warner House and Historic New England who own houses dating to the period), the Portsmouth Public Library and the Piscataqua Pioneers.

To launch the 300th anniversary, Tri-Centennial Committee chair Charles B. Doleac will present an illustrated talk at the Portsmouth Public Library on Sunday, April 14 at 2 pm. The talk outlines the history that led up to the Treaty conference in Portsmouth on July 11-14, 1713, and introduces new insights on First Nations diplomacy and its relevance to current Rights of Indigenous Peoples concerns. The talk is free and open to the public.

“The Treaty is important for the First Nations diplomacy employed, for the first steps toward recognition of a New Hampshire governing Council separate from Massachusetts and for the impact it had on opening the Portsmouth door to development as the commercial and military hub on the frontier,” said Charles B. Doleac, chairman of the 1713 Treaty of Portsmouth Tricentennial Committee. “The issues discussed in Portsmouth in 1713 have a direct connection with ideas concerning the Rights of Indigenous People that are in the headlines today.”