Smallpox and
The End of the Huron Nation

During the six years between 1634 and 1640, smallpox swept the Huron Indian Nations. By 1639, the devastating disease had reached epidemic proportions among the Indians and hundreds of Natives died every day. The Huron population was reduced to less than half of its original 30,000 population.

By 1640, the Huron Nation, originally one of the most prominent and influential and powerful Indian Nations in Eastern Canada had been all but wiped out. Only a few thousand remained and this became of great interest to the Iroquois Nation to the south. For centuries, the Iroquois had been mortal enemies of the Indian Nations north of the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes but had never been able to conquer them. With the on the brink of extinction, the Iroquois saw their opportunity to conquer their hated enemies. This culminated in a great invasion in 1648.

Finally, with Jesuit Father Jean de Brébeuf having been martyred during the Iroquois raids on the Hurons at St-Ignace on March 16, 1649, the few remaining Hurons, originally 30,000 strong, were effectively dispersed and ceased to be a nation. Only 40 years after meeting Champlain, the Huron Nation was no more.