The following is a video of a presentation that I created in celebration of the 400th anniversary of the coming of the first white explorer, Etienne Brule to our area - to Spanish Hill in order to secure 500 warriors for a battle in 1615. This is the story of the Nation of Carantouan.
General John S. Clark surveyed Spanish Hill and embankments in 1878 and gave us his theory as to what the site was used for in historic times when he said, "...The Eries were conquered about 1650, and probably the Carantouans were obliged to leave their position at the same time. The Jesuit Relations of 1670 mention a tribe of Onnontiogas - (Onnon-hill or mountain, tioga - place or interval between two streams) that previous to that time had been conquered, and incorporated with the Five Nations. Probably this was another name for the same people, taking the name from the hill or mountain between two rivers, that being the signification of the name. After very careful study of all accessible facts, I unhesitatingly commit myself to the conclusion that Spanish Hill is nothing more or less than this ancient fortified town, the stronghold of the Carantouans" ~ John S. Clark
The Native American nation of Carantouan was placed in our history books by Samuel Champlain. Etienne Brule was an interpreter for Samuel Champlain and never wrote about his travels. However, Champlain wrote 6 volumes in a collection called "Voyages." In this text, Champlain refers to a nation of Carantounnais, which he subsequently sent Ettienne Brule to secure 500 warriors for a battle. Many local historians believe Spanish HIll to be the location of this site he refers to. This is important because it is believed that Etienne Brule was the first white man in our area, and this is the place he visited. The people of Carantouan are understood today to be the Susquehannocks.
I wanted you to be able to read the story as it was told, so I have used all of the excerpts from the "Voyages" collection in order that you may read the text as it has been translated concerning Carantouan. In 1615 - While near Toronto Canada and with the Hurons, Samuel Champlain had asked his interpreter Etienne Brule to go to "Carantouannais" to secure 500 warriors for a battle with the Hurons against the Onondagas. Champlain wrote about this incident in "Voyages." Just to put this in perspective for you - - the Pilgrims will not have landed on Plymouth Rock(1620) for another 5 years at the time Brule made this trip.... - And that is why this is so important for our history. Spanish Hill very well was the first place the white man visited in this region of north eastern Pennsylvania.
The following is the translation of his account:
"On the 17th of August I arrived at Cahiague, where I was received with great joy and gladness by all the savages of the country, who had abandoned their undertaking, in the belief that they would see me no more, and that the Iroquois had captured me, as I have before stated. This was the cause of the great delay experienced in this expedition, they even having postponed it to the following year. Meanwhile they received intelligence that a certain nation of their allies, [the Carantouans] dwelling three good days' journeys beyond the Entouhonorons, on whom the Iroquois also make war, desired to assist them in this expedition with five hundred good men; also to form an alliance and establish a friendship with us, that we might all engage in the war together; moreover that they greatly desired to see us and give expression to the pleasure they would have in making our acquaintance." - Samuel Champlain
Describing the location of Carantouannais:
"I was glad to find this opportunity for gratifying my desire of obtaining a knowledge of their country. It is situated only seven days from where the Dutch [on the Hudson] go to traffic on the fortieth degree. The savages there, assisted by the Dutch, make war upon them, take them prisoners, and cruelly put them to death; and indeed they told us that the preceding year, while making war, they captured three of the Dutch, who were assisting their enemies, [the Iroquois] as we do the Attigouautans, and while in action one of their own men was killed. Nevertheless they did not fail to send back the three Dutch prisoners, without doing them any harm, supposing that they belonged to our party, since they had no knowledge of us except by hearsay, never having seen a Christian; otherwise, they said, these three prisoners would not have got off so easily, and would not escape again should they surprise and take them. This nation is very warlike, as those of the nation of the Attigouautans maintain. They have only three villages, which are in the midst of more than twenty others, on which they make war without assistance from their friends; for they are obliged to pass through the thickly settled country of the Chouontouaroueon, or else they would have to make a very long circuit." - Samuel Champlain
This video tells the story of what happened when Brule went to Carantouan:
First thing he had heard of Brule after he and the 500 warriors did not show up for the battle:
"On the 22d of the month of April we received news from our interpreter, who had gone to Carantouan, through those who had come from there. They told us that they had left him on the road, he having returned to the village for certain reasons."
Lastly, in 1618 Champlain finally meets back up with Brule who was still with the Andastes...
"Now there was with them a man named Etienne Brule, one of our interpreters, who had been living with them for eight years, as well to pass his time as to see the country and learn their language and way of life. He is the one I had dispatched with orders to go in the direction of the Entouhonorons, to Carantouan, in order to bring with him 500 warriors ...he gave me an account of the matter, a narrative of which it will not be out of place to give, as he is more to be pitied than blamed on account of the misfortunes which he experienced on this commission."
This is Champlain's map of the Carantouan region - 1632 - Note that Carantouan had THREE VILLAGES and A LARGE FORTIFIED HILLTOP described both in his text and on his map.
The red circle below designates the area believed to be Spanish Hill.
This video shows where the three Dutch captives referenced by Champlain map where Carantouan was located on the 42nd degree of latitude...:Exactly where Spanish Hill resides...
In 2005 - I was published in the Pennsylvania Archaeological Journal on this very information that I have provided here.
“Given the defensive character of Spanish Hill and reports of fortifications there, it seems a likely candidate as any for the fortified stronghold of Carantouan reported by Brule. Additional archaeological testing at Spanish Hill may one day answer the question of whether or not a Contact Era component exists at the site. Until more information is known, it seems imprudent to eliminate Spanish Hill as a possible site related to the nation of Carantouan, as some researchers have done (Kent 1984:300-301, McCracken 1984).” PA Archaeologist, Volume 75, 2, Fall 2005.
Here is what I believe to be true concerning Spanish Hill and the story of Carantouan: