Wampum and the Shaping of Early America | National Humanities Center

Humanities in Class: Webinar Series

Wampum and the Shaping of Early America

Paul Otto (Fellow, 2015–16)

September 29, 2016

Most people think of wampum simply as Native American money, but it did not become money until European colonies adopted it as a medium of exchange. Once that happened, it spurred both Europeans and Native Americans to cross many of the cultural divides separating them, created manufacturing and trade networks throughout northeastern North America, and spawned a European cottage industry that eventually led to wampum factories in New Jersey from which it was exported to the West, where it profoundly shaped Plains Indian material culture. Join us to learn how these white and purple beads made from shells transformed both Native American and European cultures.


History / Indigenous Americans / Money / Trade /