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Historical Glossary

There are 17 entries in this glossary.
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Yakima Indians

This group, speakers of one of the Sahaptin languages, was closely related to the Nez Perce Indians and was the largest Indian nation in the upper Columbia River valley. They incorporated the horse into their culture after 1735, and experienced regular contact with Anglo-Americans after 1845. In 1855 leading Yakimas conceded possession of land outside certain bounds to the US and agreed to let whites cross their territory, but this agreement stirred great discontent among many villages and led to the Yakima wars. They now have a reservation in Yakima and Klickitat counties, Wash., at Toppenish.

Yakima wars

In September 1855, angry over recent treaty concessions to whites, Yakima Indians killed six miners, murdered their US agent, and forbade whites to enter their lands. On 6–9 October, 500 Yakimas defeated 100 soldiers from Fort Dalles, Wash., killed 5 and wounded 17, and captured their howitzer. Indians on Puget Sound then began hostilities; they attacked Seattle on 26 January 1856 with Yakima help. By 11 July, fighting had ended east of the Cascades. On 17 July, Oreg. volunteers defeated 300 Indians in the Grand Ronde Valley. The presence of 500 US regulars in Yakima territory caused fighting to peter out by autumn 1856, but without a formal Yakima capitulation. Fighting resumed on 17 May 1858, when 1,000 Yakimas and other Indians defeated 164 US soldiers. Colonel William Wright's 600 US troops defeated Kamiakin's 4,000 warriors on 1 September at the battle of Four Lakes (killing 60 Indians without a single loss) and ended the war on 5 September by defeating 700 warriors at the battle of Spokane Plain. By hanging 16 hostiles as examples and forcing all Indians on to reservations, Wright ended large-scale resistance to white settlement in the Columbia basin.

Yalta conference

Between 4 and 11 February 1945, Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin, and Franklin D. Roosevelt discussed the war against Japan and the political status of eastern Europe after World War II. In return for a Russian promise to declare war on Japan, it was agreed that Russia would gain control of the Kurile Islands, the lower half of Sakhalin Island, the right to occupy northern Korea, a military lease for the harbor at Port Arthur in Manchuria, and recognition of Outer Mongolia as a Soviet satellite. The Allies also agreed that Ukraine and Byelorussia would be seated as independent nations in the future United Nations. The Allies declared that postwar governments in eastern Europe would beorganized by free and secret elections that excluded only non-democratic (i.e. Fascist) elements. By not establishing exact guidelines for restoring elective democracy in liberated areas, the conference enabled Russia to interpret the Yalta agreements on its own terms and establish totalitarian regimes in eastern Europe.

Yamasee Indians

This nation, speakers of one of the Muskogean languages, occupied southeastern Ga. and northern Fla. in the 1590s, when Spanish missions were founded among them. In 1684–5—when they numbered about 1,200—the Yamasee destroyed the missions, resettled along the Savannah River, began trading deerskins with S.C. merchants, and later were English allies in the Tuscarora War. By 1715, having been alienated from the English by degrading mistreatment from fur traders, they orchestrated a general assault on S.C. in the Yamasee War, but were badly defeated the next year. They fled to Fla., where the Spanish welcomed them and let them launch attacks on the English. S.C. militia suppressed the Yamasee raids in the Anglo-Spanish War of 1727–8. Within a century, the survivors had lost their cultural identity by merging with Creek or Seminole Indians.

Yamasee War

On 15 April 1715, Yamasee Indians, Creek Indians, and nearby tribes killed and plundered 160 fur traders and then attacked S.C. settlements within 12 miles of Charles Town. The English managed to harvest winter food supplies while a counteroffensive by 600 S.C. whites, 100 Va. volunteers, and 500 slaves drove back the enemy. In 1716 the Yamasees were deserted by their Indian allies and attacked by Cherokee Indians. Having lost many enslaved and killed, the tribe resettled in Fla. Serious fighting ended in mid-1716. Minor raiding continued, but subsided after the Creeks made peace on 15 November 1717. The Yamasee War established white dominance on the S.C. frontier, which stayed at peace until the Cherokee War.