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wampum

wampum (wäm´pəm) [New England Algonquian,=white string of beads], beads or disks made by Native Americans from the shells of mollusks found on the eastern coast or along the larger rivers of North America, used as a medium of exchange and in jewelry. Considered sacred, it was also used in a variety of rituals. In general, wampum beads were cylindrical. They were highly prized by the Native Americans, particularly by those of the Eastern Woodlands and Plains cultural areas. On the Pacific coast, shell ornaments (especially gorgets) were also used, but wampum was principally important in trade in what is now the NE United States. Wampum was passed by trade to inland tribes. Used as a currency or shell money, there were two varieties—the white, which is the only sort properly called wampum, and the more valuable purple, which went by a variety of names. Wampum was used for the ornamentation of such things as necklaces and collars. Wampum belts were of particular ceremonial importance because they were typically exchanged when a treaty of peace was signed. Frequently the belts had pictograph designs on them. Wampum was also used by white fur traders in their trade with the Native Americans in the early part of the 17th cent.

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"wampum." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Jul. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Wampum

WAMPUM

WAMPUM. The beads known as wampum were of great value to the American Indians of the eastern Great Lakes and New England regions. The word itself is from the Algonquian language, and the concept of wampum first appeared among the Algonquian-speakers of the eastern woodlands. The strings of wampum, smoothly polished tubular and disc beads of white, purple, and blue shells, placed on carefully woven threads, were manufactured by coastal New England Indians who traded them with Iroquois and other peoples of the interior. Wampum was valued by them as a sacred marker of prestige. Arrangements of beads served as mnemonic devices for the recounting of events, messages, treaties, or for the correct rendition of a ritual. Although Native Americans did not consider wampum a form of money, New England colonists introduced a material value by using it to pay for furs or to replace coinage that was scarce through the middle of the seventeenth century.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Martien, Jerry. Shell Game: A True Account of Beads and Money in North America. San Francisco: Mercury House, 1995.

Robert F.Spencer/j. h.

See alsoCurrency and Coinage ; Indian Economic Life ; Iroquois ; Money .

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"Wampum." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Jul. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Wampum." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 23, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/wampum

"Wampum." Dictionary of American History. . Retrieved July 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/wampum

Wampum

WAMPUM


Wampum were beads or disks of polished mollusk shells that were used as money by the Native Americans. The word is a shortened form of wampumpeag, an Algonquin word meaning "white string of beads." Wampum was used primarily by the Eastern Woodlands Indians, who came into contact with the European settlers during the early 1600s. The colonists adopted wampum as money, and helped broaden its circulation. English fur traders, for example, sold their wares to coastal Indians in exchange for wampum; as the fur traders moved inland, they used wampum as exchange with other tribes, such as those of the Great Plains. Like gold or silver today, wampum was valued not only as a form of money but also as decoration. The white or purple shell beads were made into necklaces, woven into belts, and sewn to clothing. After treaties were signed, wampum belts were sometimes exchanged as a gesture of goodwill and continued peace. As foreign coinage and colonial coinage came into circulation, the use of wampum as money declined during the mid- to late-1600s.

See also: New Netherlands, Pieces of Eight

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"Wampum." Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. Economic History. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Jul. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Wampum." Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. Economic History. . Retrieved July 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/wampum

wampum

wam·pum / ˈwämpəm/ • n. hist. a quantity of small cylindrical beads made by North American Indians from quahog shells, strung together and worn as a decorative belt or other decoration or used as money.

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"wampum." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Jul. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"wampum." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 23, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/wampum-0

"wampum." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved July 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/wampum-0

wampum

wampum beads threaded on strings used by N. Amer. Indians as currency, etc. XVII. Shortening of somewhat earlier wampumpeag (which was falsely analysed as wampum + peag), of Algonquian orig.

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"wampum." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Jul. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"wampum." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 23, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/wampum-1

"wampum." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved July 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/wampum-1

wampum

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"wampum." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Jul. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"wampum." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved July 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/wampum