Over the years, we have gotten used to seeing offshore drilling rigs in the oceans surrounding our country, and other countries too, I’m sure. Generally, these rigs are safe places to work, but it’s hard to guarantee safety in some of the fierce storms that occur around the globe. Ocean Ranger was a semi-submersible mobile offshore drilling unit that was located 166 miles east of Saint John’s, Newfoundland. Ocean Ranger was designed and owned by Ocean Drilling and Exploration Company Inc (ODECO) of New Orleans. Ocean Ranger was actually a self-propelled large semi-submersible vessel, designed with a drilling facility and living quarters. It was capable of operation beneath 1,500 feet of ocean water and could drill to a maximum depth of 25,000 feet. At the time of its launch, it was described by ODECO as the world’s largest semi-submersible oil rig to date.
Ocean Ranger was constructed for ODECO in 1976 by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Hiroshima, Japan. It was 396 feet long, 262 feet wide, and 337 feet high. It had twelve 45,000-pound anchors. The weight was 25,000 tons. It was floating on two 400-foot-long pontoons that rested 79 feet below the surface. It was massive and very impressive, and it was approved for “unrestricted ocean operations.” Prior to moving to the Grand Banks area in November 1980, it had operated off the coasts of Alaska, New Jersey and Ireland.
On November 26, 1981, Ocean Ranger commenced drilling well J-34, its third well in the Hibernia Oil Field. Ocean Ranger was still working on this well in February 1982 when the incident occurred. Ocean Ranger was designed to withstand extremely harsh conditions at sea, including 100-knot winds and 110-foot waves, but the storm off of Canada on February 14, 1982, would prove to be too much for it. Two other semi-submersible platforms were drilling nearby Ocean Ranger on that fateful day. Sedco 706 was 8.5 miles NNE, and Zapata Ugland was 19.2 miles N of Ocean Ranger. On February 14, 1982, the platforms received reports of an approaching storm linked to a major Atlantic cyclone from NORDCO Ltd, the company responsible for issuing offshore weather forecasts. There were protocols in place, and the crew began preparing for bad weather. They began hanging-off the drill pipe at the sub-sea wellhead and disconnecting the riser from the sub-sea blowout preventer. They worked hard, but due to surface difficulties and the speed at which the storm developed, the crew of Ocean Ranger were forced to shear the drill pipe after hanging-off, after which they disconnected the riser in the early evening.
A Mayday call was sent out from Ocean Ranger at 12:52am local time, on February 15th, noting a severe list to the port side of the rig and requesting immediate assistance. This was the first communication from Ocean Ranger identifying a major problem. The standby vessel, the M/V Sea-forth Highlander, was requested to come in close, because countermeasures against the 10–15-degree list weren’t working. The onshore MOCAN supervisor was notified of the situation, and the Canadian Forces and Mobil-operated helicopters were alerted just after 1:00 local time. The M/V Boltentor and the M/V Nordertor, the standby boats of Sedco 706 and Zapata Ugland respectively, were also dispatched to Ocean Ranger to provide assistance. Everything happened so fast, and at 1:30am local time, Ocean Ranger transmitted its last message: “There will be no further radio communications from Ocean Ranger. We are going to lifeboat stations.” Shortly thereafter, in the middle of the night and in the midst of that severe winter storm, the crew abandoned the platform. The platform remained afloat for another ninety minutes, sinking between 3:07am and 3:13am local time. All of Ocean Ranger sank beneath the Atlantic and by the next morning only a few buoys remained. Her entire crew of 84 workers…46 Mobil employees and 38 contractors from various service companies…were killed. There was evidence on at least one lifeboat launched with about 36 people onboard, but they didn’t survive either. Over the next week, 22 bodies were recovered from the North Atlantic. Autopsies indicated that those men had died as a result of drowning while in a hypothermic state.
I suppose that if I lived in Quebec, Canada, I might have heard the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region and maybe even the Western Quebec Seismic Zone. Since I don’t, these areas are new to me. Maybe they were new to a lot of people, but on November 1, 1935, a lot more people knew about them. On that day, a 6.1 magnitude earthquake with a maximum Mercalli intensity of VII (Very strong) occurred. The epicenter occurred on a thrust fault in the Timiskaming Graben, a little over 6 miles northeast of Témiscamingue, at about 1:03am ET.
While the earthquake was in Canada, it was felt over a wide area of North America, extending west to Fort William (now Thunder Bay), east to Fredericton, New Brunswick, north to James Bay and south as far as Kentucky and West Virginia. Occasional aftershocks were reported for several months. That seems extreme for a 6.1 magnitude earthquake, but I suppose it’s all in the connections. Fault lines aren’t just in a small area, they run for hundreds and even thousands of miles.
The most significant damage from the earthquake, both in the immediate area and as far south as North Bay and Mattawa, was to chimneys. In fact, 80% of the chimneys in that area were destroyed. A railroad embankment near Parent, which is 186 miles away, also collapsed. It looked like the embankment slide was already imminent, but the quake vibrated the last holds loose. There were some rockfalls and structural cracks reported as well. Thankfully, there were few major structural collapses aside from the Parent embankment. The sparseness of the area’s population played a big part in the relative lack of major damage, despite the fact that it was a strong earthquake. The water of Tee Lake, close to the epicenter was discolored by the earthquake…due to a stirring up of gyttja, which is freshwater mud with abundant organic matter, rather than silt input from tributary streams. The relative lack of major damage, despite the fact that it was a strong earthquake, has been attributed primarily to the sparseness of the area’s population.
When I think of a hurricane, I think of a tropical storm that escalates, and I suppose most of the time, that would be right, but it isn’t always the case. Sometimes hurricanes can develop in a more northern area, or as in the case of Hurricane Hazel on October 15, 1954 a strong hurricane somehow continues north as a hurricane after it hit first in a more southern area. Hurricane Hazel was a hurricane that struck the Carolina’s, and then and then moved into Ontario as a powerful extratropical storm…still of hurricane intensity, after that initial strike in the Carolinas.
The deadliest hurricane of the 1954 Atlantic hurricane season, Hurricane Hazel was also the second costliest, and the most intense hurricane of that year. The storm killed at least 469 people in Haiti before striking the United States as a Category 4 hurricane near the border between North and South Carolina. As Hazel ripped through Haiti, it destroyed 40% of the coffee trees and 50% of the cacao crop, which would drastically affected the economy for several years.
After causing 95 fatalities in the US, Hazel struck Canada as an extratropical storm, raising the death toll by 81 people, mostly in Toronto. When Hazel made landfall near Calabash, North Carolina, it destroyed most waterfront homes. Then as it screamed north along the Atlantic coast, Hazel affected Virginia, Washington DC, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York; as it lashed the area with gusts near 100 miles per hour and caused $281 million, which today would be $2720 million in damage. When it was over Pennsylvania, Hazel consolidated with a cold front and turned northwest towards Canada.
In addition to the fatalities, Hurricane Hazel brought with it flash flooding in Canada, which destroyed twenty bridges, killed 81 people, and left over 2,000 families homeless in Canada alone. In all, and including the strike in the Carolinas, where Hazel killed 95 people and caused almost $630 million ($6,100 million today) in damages, on top of over 500 other deaths and billions in damage in the US and Caribbean. No other recent natural disaster on Canadian soil has been so deadly. Floods killed 35 people on a single street in Toronto.
When it hit Ontario as an extratropical storm, rivers and streams in and around Toronto overflowed their banks, which caused severe flooding. As a result, many residential areas in the local floodplains, such as the Raymore Drive area, were subsequently converted to parkland. In Canada alone, over C$135 million (C$1.3 billion, 2021) of damage was incurred. The effects of Hazel were particularly unprecedented in Toronto due to a combination of heavy rainfall during the preceding weeks, a lack of experience in dealing with tropical storms, and the storm’s unexpected retention of power despite traveling 680 miles over land. The storm stalled over the Toronto area, and although it was now extratropical, it remained as powerful as a category 1 hurricane. To help with the cleanup, 800 members of the military were called in and a Hurricane Relief Fund was quickly established that distributed $5.1 million ($49.1 million today) in aid. The name Hazel was retired as a named storm, because of the high death toll.
Hans Island is a desolate little rock of an island locate near Greenland in the center of what is known as the Kennedy Channel of Nares Strait. This is the strait that separates Ellesmere Island from northern Greenland and connects Baffin Bay with the Lincoln Sea. The island is barren and uninhabited, measuring 0.5 square mile, 4,230 feet long and 3,934 feet wide. Hans Island is the smallest of three islands in Kennedy Channel off the Washington Land coast; the others are Franklin Island and Crozier Island. The strait at this point is 22 miles wide, placing the island within the territorial waters of both Canada and Greenland (Denmark). Technically, a line in the middle of the strait goes through the island.
Most people would look at this island and say, “Ok, it is technically half Canadian and half Greenland (Denmark), but seriously, who cares?” It is a piece of rock that has no value, so there it is and nobody cares. The problem is that…oddly, both sides care…a great deal. You might be wondering why, at this point. Well, you would not be alone. I am wondering why too. For some reason, Canada and Denmark have been…well, playfully fighting over the control of this little piece of ground. Every so often, when officials from each country visit, they leave a bottle of their country’s liquor as a…power move. It really makes no sense. The island has no reserves of oil or natural gas, or anything else that would make it valuable, and yet it is the subject of an ongoing territorial dispute between Denmark and Canada over who owns this little rock…and it’s such an odd dispute at that. It will barely increase the respective countries’ land mass and yet they continue to “fight” over it.
Unlike many other territory conflicts, this one is fought in a markedly peaceful way. The potential serious diplomatic implications aside, the Canadians and Danes take turns placing their flags on the island. This curious practice that has been going on since the 1980s. But it gets even odder. The island was first disputed in 1933, but largely forgotten during World War II. The unusual dispute began again in earnest in 1984 when, during a visit to the island, the Danish Minister for Greenland planted the national flag and left a message saying “Welcome to the Danish island” (“Velkommen til den danske ø” in Danish) along with (it is said) a bottle of brandy. Ever since then, when the flag on the island is periodically changed between the Danish and Canadian flag, the bottle is also replaced. The Canadians leave a bottle of Canadian Club and the Danes a bottle of schnapps.
While the conflict is “lighthearted,” it is really a serious conflict, and remains unresolved today. At one point, it looked like they might have a solution. On May 4, 2008, an international group of scientists from Australia, Canada, Denmark, and the UK installed an automated weather station on Hans Island. To me that makes the most sense. Just share the island or let it be considered international. That isn’t exactly what happened, however. There were a number of people who think that there might be some minerals on Hans Island, making it a possible valuable island after all…and renewing the conflict. Oh boy, here we go again.
The conflict is as of today still unresolved, but there are suggestions on how to move forward. Arctic experts from Canada and Denmark propose making Hans Island into a condominium, a solution that has proven to resolve other conflicts in the past. I wasn’t sure what that was, but basically it is an agreement to share the island. It sometimes works temporarily, but usually doesn’t work long term. Most nations, Canada and Denmark included don’t like the idea of giving up their sovereignty. Time will tell, I guess, but if you ask me, the whole thing is…well, it’s just comical.
At one time or another, most of us dream of stumbling upon a buried or hidden treasure. Of course, most of those who dream about that, do so as kids, and usually after reading some story about buried treasure in a book, or watching a movie about such an event. One such buried treasure story that somehow endured for more than two centuries, is that of the Oak Island Treasure. Oak Island is located off Nova Scotia, Canada, and has been touted as the location of a money pit of buried treasure that was supposedly left there by the pirate, Captain William Kidd (1645-1701). The story seems credible enough to have led to numerous expeditions costing millions of dollars to travel to the island to search for the treasure. Unfortunately, these expeditions were to no avail, and the treasure has never been found. Perhaps it never existed, or maybe Captain Kidd or some other early treasure hunter came for it and took it away before the story even broke about its existence.
You might think that after more than 200 years, people would assume the whole thing was a hoax, give up, and move on with their lives. Well, you would be wrong. Between books and documentaries, the mystery of Oak Island’s hidden treasure is not likely to die out soon. It is even said that there must be seven deaths in search of the treasure, before the island will yield its hold of whatever might be hidden there. To date, there have been six deaths in the searches. I don’t think that would motivate me to head out and look for it.
Oak Island is a 140-acre privately owned island in Lunenburg County on the south shore of Nova Scotia, Canada. The tree-covered island is one of about 360 small islands in Mahone Bay and rises to a maximum of 36 feet above sea level. The island is located 660 feet from shore and connected to the mainland by a causeway and gate. The nearest community is the rural community of Western Shore which faces the island, while the nearest town is Chester.
Oak Island was, for the most part granted to the Monro, Lynch, Seacombe and Young families around the same time as the establishment of Chester on 1759. The first major group of settlers arrived in the Chester area from Massachusetts in 1761. The following year, Oak Island was officially surveyed and divided into 32 four-acre lots. Of course, if there was a treasure, it was already buried before the land was divided.
In 1965, a man named Robert Dunfield constructed a causeway from the western end of the island to Crandall’s Point on the mainland, making it more accessible to people. Oak Island Tours now owns 78% of the island, and 22% is owned by private parties. There are two permanent homes and two cottages occupied part-time on the island. Since the 1850s, there have been documented treasure hunts, investigations, and excavations on Oak Island, but to no avail. There are many theories about what might be buried there, if anything really is. Areas of interest on the island with regard to treasure hunters include a location known as the Money Pit, a formation of boulders called Nolan’s Cross, the beach at Smith’s Cove, and a triangle-shaped swamp. The Money Pit area has been repeatedly excavated. Skeptics argue that there is no treasure and that the Money Pit is a natural phenomenon, but then they are probably look upon as wanting to keep any treasure for themselves. Until something is found, the treasure remains a mystery and a myth.
I recently read a book about the orphan trains, which ran between 1854 and 1929. During that time, approximately 250,000 orphaned, abandoned, and homeless children ride the train throughout the United States and Canada, to be placed with families who were looking for a child, or just as often, a worker for their farm. The orphan train movement was necessary, because at the time, it was estimated that 30,000 abandoned children were living in the streets in New York City. I had heard of the orphan trains, mostly from the movie called “Orphan Train,” but much of what really happened with those children was very new to me, and quite shocking.
Today, while my husband, Bob Schulenberg and I were in the Black Hills, we rode the 1880 Train, as we almost always do when we are here. When they mentioned that the train had been used in the movie “Orphan Train,” a fact that I had heard many times before, the stories from the book I had read came back to mind. My mind instantly meshed to train, the book, and the movie into one event.
The children who traveled on the orphan trains were victims of circumstance, and they had no control over their lives at all. Each one hoped that their new family would be nice. The older ones didn’t have high hopes. The older boys pretty much knew that they would be farm hands. And most of them were right many were made to sleep in the barn, because they were thought to be thieves. If they were thieves, it was because they had to steal to survive. They did whatever it took to survive.
As Bob and I rode the train today, in the eye of my imagination, I could picture what it must have been like to be one of those orphans. The were sitting there watching that big steam engine take them to someplace they didn’t know, and probably didn’t want to go. They didn’t have high hopes for a great future, but then again, the past wasn’t that great either. They were forced to make the best of a bad situation, and the people who were in charge didn’t really care what happened to them. They were just doing their jobs. I have ridden the 1880 Train many times before, but today, it felt a little bit different, somehow. I knew that I wasn’t an orphan riding that train, but I certainly felt empathy for the children who were.
On August 23, 1885, the schooner, Sweepstakes hit a rock near Cove Island on the Canadian side of Lake Huron, and sank in shallow water close to the light station. There she remained until transport could be arranged. Sweepstakes was built in Burlington, Ontario in 1867, by Melancthon Simpson. The wooden schooner’s had two masts, and sported a length 119 feet. The hull’s maximum depth was 20 feet. The schooner weighed approximately 218 tons. Sweepstakes was last owned by George Stewart, who lived in Mooretown, Ontario. Because she ran aground on a rock, her crew were able to escape, so her sinking took with it only one casualty…Sweepstakes, herself. She rests in the Fathom Five National Marine Park.
On September 3rd the tug Jessie towed Sweepstakes into Big Tub Harbor so she could be repaired, but it was found that the Sweepstakes was beyond repair. So, the repair soon became a salvage of sorts. She was stripped of all useful rigging and equipment. The she sank in her present location in Tub Harbor, at Tobermory, Ontario, Canada. At the time of her sinking, Sweepstakes was still fully loaded with coal. Her cargo was salvaged at a later date. It seems a sad end to the little ship that was majestic in her time, but it isn’t really the end for her.
The area where Sweepstakes now lies is a fairly shallow spot, so she is visible to people on small boats passing nearby. Her hull is almost completely intact, and she rests in about 20 feet of very clear water at the head of Big Tub Harbor. Two mooring buoys mark her location as a warning to unsuspecting boaters. Although deteriorating a little more each year, the Sweepstakes is one of the best preserved nineteenth-century Great Lakes schooners to be found. Nearby, the wreck of The City Of Grand Rapids rests. Both wrecks are visited frequently by glass-bottom tour boats. During the spring and fall, the site is shared by both divers and boats. Even just looking at pictures of the boats is interesting. It’s almost strange to think you can see a shipwreck from the top of the water.
We all know that tornadoes are possible just about anywhere in the world…but in the United States, in an area well known as Tornado Alley, tornadoes are a common thing during tornado season, and sometimes outside of tornado season. Tornado Alley gets an average of more than 1,000 tornadoes a year, but on April 3, 1974, a super outbreak began. Over a less than 18 hour span, 148 tornadoes touched down across 13 states, with 21 in Indiana. The tornadoes hit North America from Georgia to Canada within 16 hours. At times there were as many as 15 separate tornadoes on the ground at one time. The Super Outbreak affected a total of 11 US states and Ontario in Canada. The Monticello tornado, which occurred during the weather event, tracked a whopping 121 miles, he longest tornado track in Indiana history! The 1974 tornado outbreak held the record as the largest outbreak in US history, killing 330 people…until the 2011 tornado outbreak, during which 360 tornadoes touched down killing 337 people.
The outbreak began when a powerful low pressure system developed on April 1st, across the North American Interior Plains. As it moved into the Mississippi and Ohio Valley areas, a surge of very humid air intensified the storm further, and there were sharp temperature differences between both sides of the system. The National Weather Service began forecasting a severe weather outbreak on April 3, but no one expected the severity of the outbreak that actually occurred. Several F2 and F3 tornadoes struck portions of the Ohio Valley and the South in a separate, earlier outbreak on April 1 and 2, which included three killer tornadoes in Kentucky, Alabama, and Tennessee. The town of Campbellsburg, northeast of Louisville, was hard-hit in this earlier outbreak, with a large portion of the town destroyed by an F3. Between the two outbreaks, an additional tornado was reported in Indiana in the early morning hours of April 3, several hours before the official start of the outbreak. On Wednesday, April 3, severe weather watches already were issued from the morning from south of the Great Lakes, while in portions of the Upper Midwest, snow was reported, with heavy rain falling across central Michigan and much of Ontario, which also had tornadoes.
Perhaps the most shocking fact from the 1974 outbreak was the amount of F4 and F5 tornadoes…with an incredible 30 (23 F4s and 7 F5s). The 1974 outbreak featured 30 violent tornadoes in less than one day when the national average is only about 7 per year. All seven of the F5 tornadoes occurred on the 3rd, and Alabama was the state that experienced the highest number of F5 tornadoes that day…three out of seven. The other F5 tornadoes occurred throughout Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio. these super outbreaks are some of the most shocking weather phenomena ever.
There is a tradition in England and a few other nations like Canada and Ireland, that takes place the day after Christmas, called Boxing Day. It is an odd name for a holiday, but I think the purpose of the holiday far outweighs the name of the holiday. People might argue the original purpose of the holiday, but the most straightforward answer as to what it is about would be that, “We are a little greedy here in the England and Ireland in wanting a more extended holiday. It is not enough for us to have only Christmas Day celebrations, we have added to this another event called Boxing Day.” That might be one part of the picture, but the full answer is not that simple. But firstly, it has nothing to do with the sport of boxing.
Boxing Day is a national Bank Holiday. It is a day to spend with family and friends and to eat up all the leftovers of Christmas Day, but there is more to it than that. The origins of the day are filled with history and tradition. People have long disputed the origins of the name Boxing Day. The name is actually a reference to holiday gifts. A “Christmas Box” in Britain is a name for a Christmas present. Boxing Day was traditionally a day off for the servants and the day when they received a “Christmas Box” from the master. The servants would also go home on Boxing Day to give “Christmas Boxes” to their families.
Traditionally, a box to collect money for the poor was placed in churches on Christmas day. The boxes were opened the next day…Boxing Day. The name refers to a nautical tradition. Great sailing ships when setting sail would have a sealed box containing money on board for good luck. Were the voyage a success, the box was given to a priest, opened at Christmas and the contents then given to the poor. Boxing Day is the 26th December is a national holiday in England and Ireland.
Boxing Day is a time to spend with family or friends, but usually not those seen on Christmas Day itself. In recent times, the day has begun to include many sports. Horse racing is particularly popular with meets all over the country. Many top football teams also play on Boxing Day. Boxing Day is a time when the British show their eccentric side by taking part in all kinds of silly activities. Bizarre traditions include swimming the icy cold English Channel, fun runs, and charity events. Until 2004, Boxing Day hunts were a traditional part of the day, but the ban on fox hunting has put an end to this in its usual sense. Hunters will still gather dressed resplendently in red hunting coats to the sound of the hunting horn. But, since it is now forbidden to chase the fox with dogs, they now follow artificially laid trails.
Another “sport” to emerge in recent years is shopping. Sadly, what was once a day of relaxation and family time sees the start of the sales. Sales used to start in January, post-New Year, but the desire to grab a bargain and for shops to off-load stock means many now begin on Boxing Day. This tradition makes me especially sad, because it is like Black Friday. By moving Black Friday shopping to Thanksgiving, and now post Christmas sales to Boxing Day, have soured many people to shopping on these days, and the whole purpose is defeated.
In Ireland, Boxing Day is also known as “Saint Stephen’s Day” named after the Saint stoned to death for believing in Jesus. In Ireland on Boxing, there was once a barbaric act carried out by the so-called “Wren Boys.” These boys would dress up and go out, and stone wren birds to death then carry their catch around the town knocking on doors and asking for money, the stoning representing what had happened to Saint Stephen. This terrible tradition has now stopped, thank goodness, but the Wrens Boys still dress up. Now, instead they parade around town and collect money for charity. I’m thankful that such a barbaric tradition, has now taken on a new look, and is now used for good.
Many people think of the Indians as, well…simply the Indians, whether we intend to or not. I suppose that if we studied the different tribes, their noticeable differences would become very apparent, but if we don’t it’s not so easy to tell them apart. One of the lesser known tribes, at least early on in American history, was the Chippewa tribe. Speculation is that they were already settled in a large village at La Pointe, Wisconsin at about the time that America was discovered. Then, in the early 17th century, they abandoned this area. Many of them returning to their homeland in Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan, while others settled at the west end of Lake Superior, where they were found by Father Claude Jean Allouez, a Jesuit missionary and French explorer, in 1865.
The Chippewa, also known as the Ojibway, Ojibwe, and Anishinaabe, are one of the largest and most powerful nations, having nearly 150 different bands located primarily in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and southern Canada…especially Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Ojibway means “to roast till puckered up.” It’s an odd name that referred to the puckered seam on their moccasins. Formerly, the tribe lived along both shores of Lakes Huron and Superior, extending across the Minnesota Turtle Mountains and North Dakota. They were strong in numbers and occupied an large territory, but the Chippewa were never prominent in history, mainly because of their remoteness from the frontier during the period of the colonial wars. They were part of an Algonquian group, including the Ottawa and Potawatomi, which divided when it reached Mackinaw in its westward movement.
Sault Saint Marie was their main headquarters about 1640, as mentioned by Jean Nicolet de Belleborne, a French-Canadian woodsman, who called them Baouichtigouin, meaning “people of the Sault”. In 1642, they were visited by missionaries Charles Raymbaut and Isaac Jogues, who found them at the Sault and at war with a people to the west, who were probably the Sioux. Because they kept to themselves, away from the frontier, the Chippewa took a very small part in the early colonial wars, but the southern division of the tribe was known to be of warlike disposition. Those to the north of Lake Superior were considered to be peaceful. They were termed by their southern brothers as “the rabbits.” In the north, the members of the tribe were described as the “men of the thick woods” and the “swamp people,” terms used to designate the nature of the country they lived in.
The Chippewa people living south of Lake Superior in the late 1600s were fishermen and hunters. They also grew corn and wild rice. Their possession of wild-rice fields was one of the chief causes of their wars with the Dakota, Fox, and other nations. At about this time, they came into possession of firearms, and began pushing their way westward, in a mixture at peace and war with the Sioux but in almost constant conflict with the Fox tribe. The French, in 1692, reestablished a trading post at Shaugawaumikong, now La Pointe Island, Wisconsin, which became an important Chippewa settlement. In the beginning of the 18th century the Chippewa succeeded in driving the Fox, already reduced by war with the French, from north Wisconsin, compelling them to take refuge with the Sac.
The Chippewa took part with the other tribes of the northwest in all the wars against the frontier settlements to the close of the war of 1812. Those living within the United States made a treaty with the Government in 1815, and afterwards remained peaceful, residing on reservations or allotted lands within their original territory in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Dakota. By 1900, the Chippewa were estimated to number about 30,000. Today, the collective bands of Chippewa or Ojibwe, are one of the largest groups of Native American People on the North American continent. There are communities in both Canada and the United States. In Canada, they are the second largest population among First Nations, surpassed only by the Cree. In the United States, they have the fourth largest population among Native American tribes, surpassed only by the Navajo, Cherokee and Lakota Sioux.