The Delaware tribe is of Algonquin origin, and they call themselves the Lenape. When Europeans arrived, they had been living on the North America’s east coast, occupying today’s New Jersey and vicinity, for thousands of years. They were considered the eldest of the region’s tribes and had great respect. Their first contact with Europeans was with the Italian explorer Verrazano, working on behalf of France in 1524. Verrazano tried kidnapping the friendly natives. Slave raids were about the only times that coastal natives saw white people for the next 80 years of European contact, which understandably made them a bit hostile toward the invaders. When Europe's invasion began in earnest, warfare and disease quickly decimated the Delaware, and they were forced to relocate about 20 times before ending up in today’s Oklahoma.


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