The Great Spirit inspires Black Hawk’s great-grandfather Na-nà-ma-kee “with a belief that, at the end of four years, he should see a white man, who would be to him a father” (according to J. Gerald Kennedy’s note, possibly the French explorer Samuel de Champlain). Na-nà-ma-kee begins to black his face and eat once a day, at dusk.
The Great Spirit appears to Na-nà-ma-kee once more and tells him that he will meet his white father in one year and provides more specific instructions.
Na-nà-ma-kee sets out with his brothers Nà-mah and Pau-ka-hum-ma-wa to meet their white father. The white man (probably Champlain) explains that he is the son of the King of France and the father of the Sauk nation. He gives Na-nà-ma-kee a medal and other presents, proclaiming him chief of the nation and his brothers subordinate civil chiefs. He leaves, promising to return after twelve moons.
Muk-a-tà-quet presents his son Na-nà-ma-kee with the medicine bag, making him Sauk chief. Na-nà-ma-kee solidifies this rank in the eyes of the Sauks by taking responsibility for a thunderstorm.
Surrounding tribes drive the Sauk from Montreal to Mackinac, and eventually to an area near Green Bay on the Fox River.
Dates are approximate. 767Combined enemy tribes drive the allied Sauk and Fox to the Wisconsin River. They soon relocate to Saukenuk on Rock River.
Black Hawk makes reference to the killing of British soldiers by Indians at Mackinac in his recollection of the near-conflict at Fort Madison.
Black Hawk is born in Saukenuk on Rock River.
Black Hawk kills his first man in a war with the Osages and participates in his first scalp-dance.
Black Hawk leads seven warriors against 100 Osages, killing a man and retreating unscathed.
Having raised a force of 180, Black Hawk leads an expedition against the Osages. Finding their village deserted, all but five return home.
The Osages “commited many outrages on our nation and people” (14).
Black Hawk recruits 200 warriors to fight the Osages, meeting an equal force in a large battle. 100 Osages are killed (six by Black Hawk alone) and 19 Sauks die before the Osages retreat.
Dates are approximate. Mourning the death of his father, Black Hawk blacks his face, fasts, and prays for this five year period. He remains in a civil capacity during this time.
Following the death of his father Py-e-sa, Black Hawk inherits the Sauk medicine bag.
With his father, Black Hawk leads a small party against the Cherokees near Merimack. The Cherokees lose 28, the Sauks seven. Black Hawk’s father is mortally wounded and soon dies.
Black Hawk leads 500 Sauks and Foxes and 100 Ioways intending to exterminate the Osages. They find forty lodges and kill all but two inhabitants.
Dates are approximate. Black Hawk wages "a long and arduous campaign" against the Chippewas, Kaskaskias and Osages.
The Sauks traditionally visit their Spanish father in St. Louis every summer. On this visit, the Spanish inform them of the impending transfer of authority to the Americans. [Dates are approximate; Black Hawk's narrative may contradict the historical record]
Black Hawk recalls that Pike's expedition descended the Mississippi prior to the 1804 treaty in St. Louis, though this contradicts the historical record.
The Sauks encounter Zebulon Pike's exploratory party on Rock River. He gives them presents and an American flag, asking them to remove all signs of British allegiance. Black Hawk declines, as he wants to have two fathers. [Black Hawk's narrative contradicts the historical record]
Dates are approximate. Quàsh-quà-me and others sign over "all our country, east of the Mississippi, and south of the Jeffreon" for $1000 a year, though the party did not have tribal consent to do so. This treaty, as Black Hawk puts it, "has been the origin of all our difficulties."
Dates are approximate. A Sauk is accused of killing an American and is imprisoned in St. Louis. Quàsh-quà-me, Pà-she-pa-ho, Oú-che-quà-ka and Hà-she-quar-hí-qua are sent to St. Louis intending to pay blood money to cover the life lost.
Dates are approximate. A group of young Sauk men sneak up on a crew working on Fort Madison and steal their guns, laughing and then quickly returning them.
Following the cession of Sauk land to the Americans in the 1804 Treaty of St. Louis, the U.S. constructs a fort on the Mississippi at the head of the Des Moines rapids. Soldiers tell the Sauks they are building houses for a trader.
Dates are approximate. Following the young Sauk men's prank on the American soldiers, the American war chief (Governor Harrison) calls for a council with the Sauk chiefs to discuss the matter. The Sauks crowd around the fort to watch. Some approach the gate, prompting a near-conflict with the American soldiers stationed in the fort.
Dates are approximate. Sauk representatives travel to meet a Shawnee prophet (Tenskwatawa) on the Wabash River. He asks them to join the gathering Indian force on the Wabash, but the Sauks decline.
Dates are approximate. Black Hawk joins a party of Sauks and Winnebagoes determined to seize Fort Madison. There are a few casualties on each side, but the Indians are unsuccessful.
British trader Col. Robert Dixon sends presents to various native tribes in an attempt to earn their allegiance in the coming war. Black Hawk prefers the British to the Americans because they are more trustworthy.
The Great Father, president James Madison, calls Sauk chiefs to Washington, where he asks that they remain neutral in the event of a war with Britain. In exchange, he promises to continue the British trader's practice of supplying the Sauks for their winter hunt on credit.
Dates are approximate. Black Hawk and other Sauks travel to Fort Madison to receive supplies for the winter as part of their agreement with the Great Father. However, the trader does not hold up his end of the bargain; he claims that the war chief (Gov. Harrison) would not permit him to supply them on credit and had heard no instructions otherwise from Washington.
Dates are approximate. La Gutrie, a representative of Col. Dixon, supplies the Sauks and in so doing secures their support for the British.
Dates are approximate. With Black Hawk and most of the Sauk braves gone to fight for the British, the remaining Sauk nation is defenseless. A council decides that Quash-qua-me and others should lead a party down to St. Louis to receive American protection. At this same council, Keokuk secures himself a position as war chief of a different Sauk faction set on defending the village. Black Hawk does not learn any of this until his return from battle.
On Col. Dixon's orders, Black Hawk and five hundred braves, along with a British war chief, march from Green Bay to Chicago and from there to Detroit to fight in the War of 1812.
Indian fighters, including Black Hawk, surround and kill or capture 400 Americans in Michigan.
Dates are approximate. Black Hawk leaves the fighting in Ohio to return to Saukenuk. On the way, he encounters his old friend, whose son has been murdered by Americans. Black Hawk swears revenge.
Dates are approximate. Black Hawk makes a war party of thirty braves and sets off to avenge his adopted son. They descend the Mississippi to Fort Howard on the Quiver near Capo Gray. They kill a few white men but end up besieged in a sink-hole before the white men return to the fort. [Black Hawk contradicts the historical record]
Dates are approximate. Black Hawk and his family make their hunting camp on the English River. Pottowatomies from Illinois come to visit and tell Black Hawk of a British surrender at Malden. When Sauk warriors from a peace camp on the Missouri visit, Black Hawk forwards this information.
Black Hawk and others attack two American boats bound for Prairie du Chien. A British vessel comes down the river and arms the Sauks with a "big gun" with which to fire on future American boats.
Dates are approximate. En route to Portage des Sioux to sign a peace treaty with the Americans, the Sauk civil chief takes sick and dies. His brother assumes power and decides not to continue the journey, for fear that the same fate will befall him. The Sauks do not sign the treaty.
Dates are approximate. Black Hawk and other chiefs travel to Rapids des Moines to see the American war chief, explain their absence at Portage des Sioux, and ask for permission to hunt in the Two-River Country.
Dates are approximate. Black Hawk and other chiefs travel to St. Louis to confirm a peace treaty which contains deceptive language reaffirming the cession of contested land in 1804. The civil chiefs accuse the Great Father in Washington of lying.
The noise from Fort Armstrong drives away the good spirit who has presided over Saukenuk.
Dates are approximate. Following the death from illness of both his eldest son and youngest daughter, Black Hawk secludes himself and his family, blacks his face and fasts.
Black Hawk visits Malden and receives presents from his British Father.
While hunting on the Two-Rivers, Black Hawk is falsely accused by three white men of killing their hogs; he denies it but is badly beaten anyway.
Dates are approximate. The Sauk Indian agent comes to live at Rock Island and provides advice, specifically that the Sauk should begin searching for a new place to build a village west of the Mississippi.
Dates are approximate. Having been told to leave their village, some of the Sauk, led by Keokuk, acquiesce to their Great Father's orders. Another group, led by Black Hawk, determines to stay put.
Dates are approximate. Three white families seize land in Saukenuk and divide it up amongst themselves. Unable to communicate with them, Black Hawk travels to Rock Island to get documents in English from the interpreter that will explain the situation to the white families. He shows them the documents, but they do not move. More white families come. Keokuk returns to the village but does not help Black Hawk repel the white settlers.
Black Hawk meets with two chiefs to explain the grievances of the Sauks, who are being displaced and mistreated by white settlers. He reiterates the invalidity of Quash-qua-me's treaty in 1804, but they cannot do anything to help him.
The Sauk land is divided up and sold, some to individuals and a large portion to the trader at Rock Island. Councils among the remaining Sauk decide to kill all those responsible, including Ke-o-kuk.
Dates are approximate. The U.S. agrees to give the Pottowatomies $16,000 a year forever in exchange for a strip of land much smaller than that taken from the Sauks for $1,000 a year; Black Hawk is angered by the Americans' inconsistent behavior.
Black Hawk offers to remove west of the Mississippi in exchange for $6000, but the great chief at St. Louis refuses, threatening to drive them off the land if they do not remove immediately.
General Gaines arrives and convenes a council with Ke-o-kuk and Black Hawk, among others. Gaines asks Black Hawk to remove west, but he refuses and denies the validity of the 1804 treaty. Gaines gives him two days to remove peacefully before he will use force.
Black Hawk sends a deputation to the Sauk agent to ask for permission to stay in the village until the corn harvest, at which point they would remove across the Mississippi. This deputation is refused. Black Hawk gives an order for passive resistance.
Dates are approximate. The Illinois militia arrive to remove the Sauks.
Overnight, Black Hawk and his band cross the Mississippi, fearing the ruthlessness of the Illinois militia.
Dates are approximate. Black Hawk signs a peace treaty in exchange for corn to replace that which was abandoned in the village. The Sauks do not receive adequate corn.
Dates are approximate. A party of Foxes kills 28 Menomonees to avenge the earlier killing of Foxes, an attack which is considered lawful by these nations. The whites demand that the Foxes be tried for these actions.
Ke-o-kuk appeals to the Great Father in Washington for a council so that he and Black Hawk may explain their cause; this request goes unanswered, and Black Hawk resolves to take action.
Black Hawk and his party re-cross the Mississippi toward Saukenuk, having been promised British support by Ne-a-pope and pan-Indian support by Waboshiek.
Dates are approximate. The White Beaver (Gen. Atkinson) orders Black Hawk to remove across the Mississippi again, but he refuses.
Dates are approximate. Mr Gratiot, the Winnebago sub-agent, arrives with Winnebago chiefs to reinforce the White Beaver's order. He is threatened by the Sauks, but Black Hawk ensures his safety. The Winnebagoes promise to act as spies for Black Hawk. Gratiot returns to Rock Island.
Dates are approximate. Black Hawk finds out that Ne-a-pope's promises were false, and reveals this to his chiefs.
During a feast with Pottowatomie chiefs, 3-400 white men on horseback are spotted some miles off. Initial search parties are killed or driven off. Then, with limited forces (about 40), Black Hawk attacks. the white men. They unexpectedly retreat.
Black Hawk sends a white flag to the American chief to indicate that he wants to hold a council. In the confusion surrounding Stillman's Run, the flag-bearers are attacked and the council refused.
Dates are approximate. Black Hawk's forces engage with several hundred Americans at their encampment near Dixon's ferry. Again, the Americans retreat.
Dates are approximate. Rounding the head of the Kish-wa-co-kee, Black Hawk's forces are joined by a party of Winnebagoes. He sends out war parties in several directions. Some Winnebagoes return with scalps, including that of Ke-o-kuck's father, the agent Felix St. Vrain.
Black Hawk's forces attack a fort at Mos-co-ho-co-y-nak, killing some whites and taking supplies.
The Sauk forces fight two groups of white militia men (one regrouping from the first battle). Major John Dement's bravery impresses Black Hawk.
Dates are approximate. Black Hawk's party encamps at Four Lakes, but limited food supply causes some old people to die of hunger. Black Hawk resolves to remove women and children back west across the Mississippi to join the other Sauks.
Dates are approximate. A party of Pottowatomies and Sauks arrive with two white girls, the lone survivors of a massacre perpetrated by the same group at the William Davis farm. The girls were to be given to the Winnebagoes, who would then return them to the whites. [Black Hawk contradicts the historical record]
The Illinois militia under General Henry Dodge attacks Black Hawk's band while the women and children are crossing the Ouisconsin. Black Hawk is mostly successful in holding them off with 50 braves.
Black Hawk's band is attacked by cannon on a steamboat, despite flying a white flag.
Black Hawk and some of his men hole up in a thicket. Meanwhile, many Sauks are killed at the Battle of Bad Axe.
Black Hawk surrenders to the Winnebago agent Joseph Street at Prairie du Chien. He is taken to Fort Crawford, then in a steam boat down to Jefferson Barracks, where he is put in chains.
Black Hawk is confined in Jefferson Barracks through the winter. In the spring, he is visited by a number of people, including his wife and daughter and Ke-o-kuck, who petitions the Great Father for Black Hawk's release. Instead, the Great Father sends for Black Hawk to come to Washington.
Black Hawk is taken east to Washington by steamboat, coach, and rail, through many major cities. In Washington, he meets the Great Father (Andrew Jackson) and is impressed.
Black Hawk is taken on a circuitous route home, toured through the major eastern cities including Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Albany, and Detroit.
Dates are approximate. The American war chief convenes a council and orders Black Hawk to follow Ke-o-kuck.
Over the next seven years he explores the North American coast and the interior of New France.
Champlain surrenders Quebec to British forces during the Anglo-French War.
The Treaty of Saint-Germaine-en-Laye returns Quebec to New France.
France secretly cedes the Louisiana territory to Spain.
The Treaty of Paris is signed, ending the Seven Years/French and Indian War. Great Britain gains Canada and the eastern part of French Louisiana.
Delassus serves as lieutenant territorial governor in St. Louis and as the Sauk's "Spanish father" until the Louisiana Purchase.
William Henry Harrison serves as Governor of the Indiana Territory.
The United States purchases the Louisiana Territory from France.
Americans take possession of St. Louis following the Louisiana Purchase
Territory gained in the Louisiana Purchase is divided into the Territory of Orleans and the District of Louisiana.
Lieutenant Zebulon M. Pike leads an exploratory party on a search for the headwaters of the Mississippi.
U.S. Army soldiers led by Governor Harrison defeat a confederacy of Indian forces and destroy Prophetstown. Black Hawk alludes to this event, saying only that "several Winnebagoes were killed".
Potowatomis attack Americans evacuating Fort Dearborn near Chicago, killing 50 and selling the rest as slaves to the British. Black Hawk alludes to this event in his recollection of the journey to Detroit.
Dates are approximate. Representatives from over thirty tribes are summoned to Portage des Sioux to sign peace treaties with the United States at the end of the War of 1812; many of these treaties solidify earlier land cession treaties. Black Hawk does not attend.
Sauks led by Black Hawk fight white soldiers near Fort Howard.
Thomas Forsyth is appointed Indian agent to the Sauk and Fox at Fort Armstrong.
Boundary between U.S. and Spanish claims officially marked at the Rocky Mountains.
Fifteen whites are killed and mutilated by a party of Pottowatomies and Sacs.
Following Stillman's Run, many of the Illinois volunteers disband.
A group of Sauks who separated from Black Hawk after Wisconsin Heights are massacred by white forces while attempting to cross the Mississippi at Bad Axe. Black Hawk is not present.
Black Hawk dictates his narrative to interpreter Antoine LeClaire at the Sac and Fox Agency at Rock-Island.