White Mountains

White Mountains

The White Mountains are a mountain range that covers about a quarter of New Hampshire and some of Maine. The White Mountains include the highest peak in the northeast United States (Mount Washington) and are considered the most rugged of the Appalachian Mountains.


White Mountain History

I remember when I was a kid I was taken by my father to the location where the famous Crawford House Hotel had stood. By this time only some remanants of foundation, and the old carriage house, were all that remained of this magnificant old place. I didn't really grasp the history of the place at that time, thogh I have come to realize it since. the Crawford House was built by Col. Cyrus Eastman in 1859, just after the first hotel on that location had sucumbed to fire. Around 1870 it was purchased by Asa T. Barron, a wealthy farmer and landlord from Quechee,Hartford,Vermont. The Barron family would come to turn Crawford's as well as the surrounding grand hotels, into international destinations, for the traveling elite. Presidents, poets, heads of state, and royalty were all entertained within those walls. With that being said I can not fathom how they could let that place be torn asunder, and eventualy burned. I fully understand the times, and the fuel crisis, which must have made it tough to heat a large, drafty hotel, but I also understand it's historical and cultural significance. It is too bad that such a beautiful old structure was just abandoned to the elements, and the locals. I have tried since to collect any items pertaining to those grand hotels and my collection is becoming impresive. it includes floor plans from Crawford's, as well as stationary, and china, from several of the Barron hotels, including Crawford's, Fabyan's, Mt. Pleasant, Summit, Twin Mountain and Tip Top House. I also have items from the Profile House in Franconia Notch, and the Maplewood in


Geology of the White Mountains Part 2: The Mountain Building Events

As I wrote earlier the Appalachians have a very complex geologic history that built major mountain chains which formed and then eroded over vast periods of time. I will begin the history around 500 million years ago during the Late Cambrian/ Early Ordovician periods. Since the rock record covers such vast quantities of time geologists have developed the geologic time scale to group rocks of similar age. The Geologic Time Scale has been grouped into eons, eras, periods and epochs. I will be speaking in terms of the periods while describing when the events occurred.

I will also be writing about some of the ancient super continents. Many of us are familiar with the super continent Pangea. It was the most recent super continent to form but Pangea was not the first to form. The continents broke apart and reformed many times before forming the super continents: Pangea, Rodinia, Pannotia, and Columbia.

As land masses collide they end up forming large mountains as they suture together. There are three main mountain building events that played into building the White Mountains and the Appalachian Mountains. I will be referring to these mountain building events as orogenies. The mechanics of these collisions as well as more information on the various rock types can be found in an earlier blog entry.

The landmasses that would eventually become North America were located further south on the equator. The White Mountain Region was covered by a shallow inland sea during the Late Precambrian into the Cambrian. This sea was widening through sea floor spreading. Ancient mountains were slowly eroding and depositing sediment these sediments into large deltas and what was then the Iapitus Sea. These sediments were compressed to form sandstone and shale which would later form the Littleton Formation (A rock unit composed of schist and quartzite found on top of Mount Washington). These sediments covered almost all of New England and New York.

The Taconic Orogeny

During the early Ordovician, convection currents reversed and the Iapitus Sea (or Proto-Atlantic Ocean) began to close. The compressional forces did not break the plate directly at the contact point between the thick continental and thinner oceanic crust. The plate broke offshore and the western segment was pushed underneath the eastern segment. As the slab was subducted portions melted, rose through the crust and formed a chain of volcanic islands. An example of this today would be the Philippines and Japan. A portion of the Iapitus Sea slowly closed ocean sediment was scraped off the subducting slab and accumulated against the island arc. During the Early Devonian (about 400 MA) the arc collided with Laurentia (Proto-North America). Due to the compressional forces acting on the land masses a series of slabs of continental shelf strata were thrust on top of each other (in the form of thrust faults). This collision formed the Taconic Mountains. This marked the first pulse of the formation of the Appalachian Mountains. Water flooded much of Laurentia with a shallow inland sea. Off the coast the island of Avalonia was slowly making its way towards Laurentia.

The Acadian Orogeny

During the Middle Devonian (380 MA) the Avalonia Terrane docked onto what would eventually become North America. This terrane was composed of parts of New England, Belgium, Wales, England, Southern Ireland, Nova Scotia, and part of Newfoundland. The section that remained connected to North America has been called Avalon. This collision resulted in severe deformation of the bedrock and the formation of large mountains that are believed to have rivaled the Alps and possibly the Himalayans. This event is what formed the White Mountains. The pressure from this collision transformed the ocean sediments (shale, quartz sandstone, and volcanic sediments) into schist, quartzite, and gneiss and made them more plastic and easily bent into folds. These transformed sediments, now exposed on top of Mount Washington, were originally located deep underground. The center of this plate collision is now visible due to millions of years of erosion.

During the Middle Devonian volcanic activity resumed with large upwellings of magma beneath the earths surface. This resulted in the Quartz Monzonite found around Saco Lake and on top of Mount Willard in Crawford Notch. A long period of erosion followed the Acadian Orogeny where the mountains were believed to be eroding at a rate of two feet every 10,000 years.

The Alleghenian Orogeny

Gondwanaland (which included Africa, South America, Antarctica, and Australia) collided with Laurentia between the Mississippian and the Permian during the Alleghenian Orogeny. This created large mountains through the southern Appalachians and marked the completion of the formation of the super continent Pangea.

The Break Up of Pangea

During the Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous Pangea was breaking apart, large volcanoes formed in the White Mountains. These volcanoes are believed to have erupted with caldera style magmatism and would have erupted thousands of times more material than Mount Saint Helens. Calderas violently erupt the material within their magma chamber, which then collapses. Any residual magma is then squeezed out the fractures in the surrounding rock formed by the collapse, forming a ring of intruded rock called a ring dike. Remnants of these eruptions can be found on top of Kearsarge North (Off of Hurricane Mountain Rd, Intervale, New Hampshire), Mount Hale (Off the Zealand Rd, Twin Mountain, New Hampshire), South Moat Mountain (outside Conway, New Hampshire) and in Ossipee New Hampshire.

The break up of Pangea was followed by a period of erosion to a point where Mount Washington probably rose only a thousand feet above the surrounding land (this is called a peneplain). A series of uplifts lifted the Whites. The remnants of this ancient peneplain are the lawns found around Mount Washington and Northern Presidential Range.

This area entered into a series of ice ages and glacial advances, but I fear that story will have to wait for another day. Check back for more information on the natural and cultural history of the Appalachians.


Geology of the White Mountains Part 1: Back to Basics

A number of the people coming through have been asking about the geology of the area and after talking to a couple of school groups and guests on some of my hikes I thought I would put my passion into words. Now the White Mountains have a very complex geologic history and it will take me a few posts to explain it. I’ll start out with the main geologic principles in the first post, then get into the various mountain building events and the volcanic history in the second post, and finish off with the glacial and surficial history in the last post. With the basics I’ll get into the main rock types, and plate tectonics.

Geology? Why do I want to know about rocks?

Geology is pretty cool and there’s more to it then looking at minerals and fossils. Like all sciences geology is constantly changing and affects our daily lives. It plays into beach erosion and what we can do to keep houses from being lost to winter storms, how high flood waters will get if we continue to build in flood plains, where our oil comes from, if a stream will go dry when a water distributer builds a bottling plant near by, why the early settlers had so much trouble farming in the North East and endless other examples.

Geology is the study of the Earth. This includes the Earths processes, composition, history and so much more. Early naturalists believed that volcanic eruptions and earthquakes were caused by violent winds escaping the Earth. Da Vinci saw shell fossils high in the mountains and recognized that they were from once living organisms and that there had been fluctuations in water levels. Geological breakthroughs regarding sedimentation, the intrusion of igneous rock, and that the geologic processes (such as erosion, weathering and plate tectonics) were introduced during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. James Hutton founded the theory of uniformitarianism. Uniformitarianism states that the processes that occurred in the past are the same as the processes occurring in the present. This has been abbreviated to “the present is the key to the past”. So ripples in the sand that are found in coastal environments are formed in the same way as ripples found in hardened sandstone. The theory of plate tectonics is a relatively new theory (established during the 1960’s) that now encompasses the previous theory of continental drift. I’ve gone through my mother’s geology text books from the early seventies and plate tectonics wasn’t the popular theory yet. The reason I enjoy geology so much is because the land and rock around us tell stories and once you learn how to read it the story of the Earth’s past is an open book.

The Rock Types

Rocks fall into three main categories these include sedimentary rocks (layered rocks), metamorphic rocks (changed rocks), and igneous rocks (volcanic rocks). These rock types are constantly being recycled through the rock cycle.

Mountains are being weathered and worn down into sediment that later hardens into sedimentary rock such as sandstone or shale. Sedimentary rocks are not usually found in the White Mountain Region. Eventually sandstones, conglomerates, and mudstones will form along old river beds.
When rock undergoes extreme pressures or temperatures it is morphed to form metamorphic rock like gneiss or schist. At times during it’s formation it is deformed and forms beautiful folds in the rock. You can find gneiss and beautifully folded schist in the Presidential Range.

Igneous rock originates as melted rock that either hardens after it comes out of a volcano (extrusive igneous rock) and forms rock like ryolite, andesite, or basalt. Or it hardens before it reaches the surface intrusive igneous rock) and forms rocks like granite(New Hampshire is the Granite State). If you’re looking for extrusive igneous rock take a hike up Kearsage North (off Hurricane Mountain Road, Intervale, NH) and you’ll find debris flows that carry pieces of rock now found primarily on top of Mount Washington.

Plate Tectonics

These different rock types make up the Earth’s crust which is made up of individual plates. There are seven major plates and about twenty smaller ones. These plates move and interact with each other above the mantle. Within the mantle there are convection currents which drive plate interactions. The mantle is heated by the core. The hot material rises through the crust pushing plates apart. As the hot material cools it pushes plates away from the spreading center and towards other plates creating subduction zones. This now cool material then settles back towards the core to be reheated. Depending on what stage the convection current is in will govern what is happening to the plate and the surface features found in that area. This process reminds me of heating a bowl of tomato soup. The stove is the core which heats the soup, or mantle, eventually the soup heats up and the bubbles of hot soup (convection currents) rises to the surface creating breaks in the film (crust) that inevitably forms if you don’t stir the soup.

The Plate Boundaries

There are two main types of crust that compose the plates. These are continental and oceanic crust. Oceanic crust is denser and is usually composed of basalt, while continental crust is composed of ‘lighter’ rocks. During a collision between these two crusts oceanic crust will slide underneath the continental crust because of that density difference. There are three main types of plate boundaries where these plates interact with each other.

The first are spreading centers or rift zones. This is where one of the convection currents is breaking the crust’s surface forcing the two plates on either side to gradually move away from each other. An example of this would be the Mid Atlantic Ridge which runs down the center of the Atlantic Ocean. Iceland is where this molten material, which breaks through the crust in the form of volcanoes, has broken the ocean’s surface. Volcanic activity is what drives the thermal vents and hot springs.

When two plates are moving past each other they form a transform boundary. Since rocks are not completely smooth they build up friction and will lock. Over time pressure builds until the two plates slit and move past each other. This usually results in an earthquake. One common example of this is the San Andreas Fault in California. The last type of plate boundary is the collision zone.

There are two types of plate collision boundaries. These are subduction zones and continent-continent collision zones. In subduction zones you have an oceanic plate colliding with a continental plate. Due to the density differences between the compositions of the plates the oceanic plate slides under the continental plate and is subducted. On the surface you will generally find deep trenches where the two plates collide. Further inland you’ll generally find a chain of volcanic mountains. These volcanoes are found inland after a subduction zone because as the oceanic plate is pushed further and further down into the mantle it starts to melt and some of this melt rises to the crusts surface forming volcanoes. In continent-continent collisions you have two continental plates of equal densities colliding and forming tall mountain ranges. The majority of the continental crust does not get subducted and instead compresses against the other colliding plate. Presently this is happening in the Himalayans and occurred along the Appalachian Mountains millions of years ago.

These basic principles will play a large role in the next post when I get into the Mountain building events that went into shaping the Appalachian Mountains and the White Mountains. Check back soon for more information on the geology and other fascinating natural observations.


In 1869 Dionicio, Elalio, and Juan Baca along with Gabriel Silva came to Round
Valley with Tony Long, Marion Clark, and Johnny McCullough with supplies from Pueblo, CO, for what
is now Fort Apache.

St. Johns Herald - May 2, 1907

It is a matter of interest and gratification to the people of Apache County that the Arizona Electric Telephone Co. has completed its line between Holbrook and Eagarville - distance of 140 miles, connecting the intermediate points of Springerville, St. Johns, Concho, and several in Navajo. This line was projected about one year ago and was completed last Sunday, April 28. It has been a long felt need among the businessmen and others and now that the line is in operation and giving satisfactory service it is up to the public to supply business. Those connected with the enterprise, and especially the manager F.W. Nelson, deserve great credit in pushing it to a successful termination.

* The first telephone in Springerville was installed at Becker's store. The sherriff had an office there and holding cells.


This is the Genesis of White Europeans:

We know with certainty that they were Albinos because ancient writers described them as such, as they moved towards Europe.

In Book 4 - MELPOMENE: Herodotus describes the Budini people, east of the Ister (Danube) River, thusly:

[4.108] The Budini are a large and powerful nation: they have all deep blue eyes, and bright red hair. There is a city in their territory, called Gelonus, which is surrounded with a lofty wall, thirty furlongs each way, built entirely of wood. All the houses in the place and all the temples are of the same material. Here are temples built in honour of the Grecian gods, and adorned after the Greek fashion with images, altars, and shrines, all in wood. There is even a festival, held every third year in honour of Bacchus, at which the natives fall into the Bacchic fury. For the fact is that the Geloni were anciently Greeks, who, being driven out of the factories along the coast, fled to the Budini and took up their abode with them. They still speak a language half Greek, half Scythian.

[4.109] The Budini, however, do not speak the same language as the Geloni, nor is their mode of life the same. They are the aboriginal people of the country, and are nomads unlike any of the neighbouring races, they eat lice. The Geloni on the contrary, are tillers of the soil, eat bread, have gardens, and both in shape and complexion are quite different from the Budini. The Greeks notwithstanding call these latter Geloni but it is a mistake to give them the name.

The Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus (56-118 A.D.) said this about the Germanic tribes (Not the same as Germans): All have fierce blue eyes, red hair, huge frames, fit only for a sudden exertion.

The Chinese describe the Yuezhi [Kushans] thusly: The skin of the people there is reddish white.


Searching For The Oldest Tree In The World

The discovery of the Methuselah tree was years in the making.

In the early 1950s, a dendrochronologist from the University of Arizona named Edmund Schulman got a tip from a California national park ranger. For the previous 20 years, Schulman had been scouring parks, deserts, and fields for unusual, ancient, or undiscovered trees. Specifically, he’d been looking for climate-sensitive trees, those that showed signs of having been affected by climate change and consequently adapting over the years.

Wikimedia Commons Trees in the Methuselah Grove, home of the oldest tree in the world.

In 1953, a park ranger from the Inyo National Forest told Schulman a tale of a certain special grove. Deep in the White Mountains of California, the trees there allegedly were thousands of years old. At last, Schulman believed he could unlock the secrets of ancient climate patterns.

On his first venture, Schulman and his assistant climbed 11,000 feet into the White Mountains. They managed to procure a sample from a bristlecone pine. To their shock, the pine appeared to be upwards of 1,500 years old. Dubbed the “Patriarch Tree,” this pine served as the inspiration for the next several years of Schulman’s work. It pushed him to return to the mountains time and time again in search of the oldest tree in the world.

University of Arizona Edmund Schulman, the man who discovered the Methuselah tree.

For the next several summers, the dendrochronologist returned to the mountainside and collected more data. Eventually, he logged samples from trees that proved to be older than he had ever anticipated.

“By 1956, we knew for a fact that we had here trees in the 4,000-year-plus class, incredible though it seemed,” he wrote in a journal in 1957. That year would prove to be the year he discovered the oldest tree in the world.


White Mountains - History


The White Mountains were first inhabited by humans about 12,000 years ago, after the last ice age. These first peoples had migrated from the west and were the forebears of those whom Columbus would mistakenly call Indians. The region was rich with wildlife, fish, and edible plants. Formal “Tribes” began to form about 3000-4000 BC.

There were two overlapping groups of Native Americans in this region: the Penacooks and the Penobscots, with the Penacooks being dominant as the Penobscots were located largely in what would later become the State of Maine.

Both were tribal branches within the regional Abenaki nation.
In the early 1600s the Penacook confederation had 17 tribes, all of whom spoke the Algonquin language. Because there was no written form of this language, much of what we now know of their life is derived from the records of European colonists. The tribes resided along the Pemigewasset and Merrimack watershed and near Great Bay.

The Pequawkets, Chocorua’s tribe, were originally part of the Penobscot tribal confederation, but became allied with the Penacooks after the Europeans began to settle the White Mountains.

Chocorua was a Sachem, or chief, who led his small band after most of the Pequawkets had moved north into Canada to avoid conflict with the white man.

Chocorua, a proud and courageous man, refused to go. He was unwilling to leave the land of his ancestors. He had raised his son Tuamba to believe that the land belonged to all of the great spirit’s creatures. He remained and made efforts to live in harmony with the new settlers, despite their differences.
He befriended settler Cornelius Campbell and his family. Setting in motion one of the great tragedies of Native American history.

Chocorua trusted the Campbells enough to put Tuamba in their care while he went north for a tribal pow-wow. According to the legend, while Chocorua was away, Tuamba ate some poison that was meant to kill marauding wolves and died.
Some time later, while Cornelius was away from the farm, Chocorua returned to find his son had died. Stricken with grief and anger. he killed Cornelius' wife and young son. Returning to his mountains heartsick at the loss of his beloved Tuamba, Chocorua must have known that this story was not over.

When Cornelius discovered that his family had been slain, he knew that Chocorua was responsible and set off to avenge his loved ones. Cornelius pursued Chocorua to the top of the highest mountain peak, the peak that now bears the name of Chocorua. Chocorua climbed atop the highest boulder on the summit and, knowing that death was at hand, raised his arms to the sky and is said to have shouted, "Evil spirits breathe death upon the cattle of the white man! Wind and fire destroy your dwellings! Panthers and wolves howl and grow fat on your bones. Chocorua goes now to the Great Spirit!" Chocorua then leapt off the mountain and fell to his death on the rocks below.

Two years later, the body of Cornelius was found dead, partially eaten by wolves. One hundred years to the day of his death a devastating plague killed all the cattle from Albany to Conway, New Hampshire. The cause of this plague has been explained by scientists, of course, but those of us inclined to the romance of the mountains still believe that the curse of Chocorua was involved.

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Come Home Old Friend

Daniel Webster, Franklin Pierce and Robert Frost gaze down upon the Old Man of the Mountain
Limited Edition of 1000
Signed, dated and numbered by the artist
$150.00
11" x 14"
Comes with Certificate of Authenticity
Click here


The subject of White Mountain prints and graphics is broad.  The purpose of this website, or virtual exhibit, is to demonstrate the breadth of the material and encourage its  further study and appreciation.  We certainly do not claim this to be a definitive presentation of the subject.  It's just a beginning.

The works of many painters of the White Mountain school were reproduced as engravings and lithographs, often without credit to the artists.  While much has been written about White Mountain painting, little attention has been paid to the engravings and lithographs that were distributed to a much wider audience.  In addition, hotels produced illustrated advertising pieces and other ephemera.  Guide books included engravings of hotels and scenic wonders.  Dozens of books and magazines included still more graphics.  Sheet music was written about the region and illustrated with appropriate graphics.  Maps included cuts of scenery and buildings, and letterheads used still more.   Bird's Eye views were produced of several White Mountain towns. 

The combined impact of these images encouraged Americans to visit the White Mountains and contributed to the rapid expansion of the tourist industry.

We suggest you start by the reading the excellent Introduction to the subject, written by Georgia Barnhill.               

Clicking on the images below, or using the links above, will take you to the various sections.  We encourage your comments, corrections and addtional information.

                                                    
 
 Artists including Winslow Homer created graphics for
 Harper's Weekly and other widely distributed magazines.
 Hundreds of books contained thousands of prints.
 Reports of scientific excursions, such as Jackson's
 Geological surveys and Oakes Scenery of the White
 Mountains were illustrated with high quality plates
 and books by popular writers included many
 illustrations
.

 As more and more visitors came to the region, at first
 attracted by the Willey family tragedy, illustrated
 guide  books proliferated.  Some were updated annually,
 while  others appeared only once or twice.  These guides
 also included  illustrated advertisements for hotels
 and  railroads and often included maps
.


 Sheet music was produced for many of the Grand Hotels
 in the White Mountains. Many had illustrated covers.

                 
             Illustrations on Maps
            
                                                  
                                               

  Publishers of  Maps used engravings  of  
 White Mountain  scenery and  hotels,  starting
 with the Carrigain Map of New Hampshire in 1816.
 
 

  Over sixty Bird's Eye Views were produced of New
 Hampshire cities and towns. Several were done for
 towns  in the White Mountains
.


Caucasian peoples

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Caucasian peoples, various ethnic groups living in the Caucasus, a geographically complex area of mountain ranges, plateaus, foothills, plains, rivers, and lakes, with grasslands, forests, marshes, and dry steppes. The complex of regions harbours more than 50 separate peoples, ranging from language communities with only a few hundred speakers to large national groups numbering millions. This diversity is not of recent date. Pliny the Elder related that the Romans carried on their business there through 80 interpreters. Arab geographers called the Caucasus Jabal al-Alsun, Mountain of Languages.

The languages of the Caucasus belong to four families: Caucasian (or Paleocaucasian), Indo-European, Turkic, and Semitic. Whereas speakers of the latter three groups are known to have migrated to the Caucasus in historical times, speakers of the Caucasian languages occupied the area at the dawn of history.

The Caucasian peoples are subdivided, like the Caucasian languages, into two northern branches and a southern branch. The southerners, comprising the Georgians, the closely related Mingrelians and Laz, and the Svan, make up the Republic of Georgia and live in western Transcaucasia (the Laz live in Turkish territory). Among the many peoples that make up the two smaller northern groups, the Chechens, who constitute the majority of the population of Chechnya republic in southwestern Russia, and the Kabardians, settled along the Kuban and upper Terek river basins, are the most populous. Among other northern Caucasian peoples are the Abkhaz, the Ingush, and the Lezgi. There are a vast number of less populous groups.

Of the Indo-European peoples, the ancestors of the Armenians entered Transcaucasia from Anatolia in the early 1st millennium bce . A second ancient Indo-European group is the Ossetes, or Ossetians, in the central Greater Caucasus they are a remnant of the eastern Iranian nomads who roamed the south Western Steppe from the 7th century bce until the 4th century ce (when they were dispelled by the Huns) and who were successively known as Scythians, Sarmatians, and Alans. Slavic groups account for more than one-third of the total population of the Caucasus they live in the north and consist mainly of Russians and Ukrainians. Finally, there are such Indo-European groups as Kurds, Talysh, Tats, Greeks, and Roma (Gypsies) distributed in various areas of the Caucasus.

Among the Turkic peoples are the Azerbaijani (Azerbaijanians) in the southwest and the Kipchak Turks in the north. Of mixed ethnic origin, the Azerbaijani are at least in part composed of the indigenous population of eastern Transcaucasia and possibly an admixture of the Medians of northern Persia. They were in turn Persianized during the rule of the Sasanians (3rd–7th century ce ) and, after conquest by Seljuq Turks in the 11th century, Turkicized. The Turkic influence remained strong throughout the following centuries. The Kipchak Turks are a group of small but distinct peoples including the Kumyk, Nogay, Karachay, and Balkar. The indigenous Kumyk, like the other Kipchak Turks, are largely Muslim. Their language was for some three centuries the lingua franca of the region, but in the 20th century it was supplanted by Russian. The Nogay are thought to have become a distinct group formed after the disintegration of the Golden Horde. Most were nomads until the early 20th century. The Karachay and the Balkar are of uncertain origin.

The only Semitic peoples in the Caucasus are the Assyrians, who fled to Russian territory from Turkish persecution at the end of World War I and live mainly in the cities.

The traditional economy of the peoples of the Caucasus is based on agriculture, cattle and sheep herding, and cottage industries. The main crops are millet, barley, wheat, and corn (maize). Wine production is highly developed in Transcaucasia, especially in Georgia. Crafts, such as rug weaving, are developed in Dagestan republic, Russia Armenia and Azerbaijan.

In the treeless highlands, villages consist of stone houses clustered together and built into the mountain slope. In the western Caucasus, villages consist of individual homesteads surrounded by fences. The buildings are made of wood or of wattles coated with clay. In central and eastern Transcaucasia, houses have a cupola-shaped vault on pillars, with an opening at the top that serves as a window and smoke vent.

Everywhere in the Caucasus are traces of a patriarchal clan system and a tribal organization of society. These features have been best preserved among the mountaineers. In general, however, the tribal system gradually gave way to a system of village communities. Feudal relations developed especially in Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan and in some parts of the northern Caucasus. During the Soviet period all areas were subjected to heavy Russian influence.

Traditionally, the major religions in the Caucasus have been Islam (notably the Turkic groups), the Eastern Orthodox church (chiefly Georgians), the Armenian Apostolic church, and Judaism. There are also numerous minority sects.

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica This article was most recently revised and updated by Adam Augustyn, Managing Editor, Reference Content.


Indigenous Voices of the Colorado Plateau

The White Mountain Apache call themselves the Western Apache and constitute one nation of several different Apache tribes. They are closely related to the Apache located on the San Carlos, Payson, and Camp Verde reservations of Arizona. The White Mountain Apache are also related to other Apache nations: the Chiricahua, Mescalero, Jicarillo, Lipan, and Kiowa-Apache peoples. However, variations may be found in the language, history, and culture of all Apache tribes.

The White Mountain Apache Reservation consists of 1.67 million acres (over 2,600 square miles) in east-central Arizona. The reservation ranges in elevation from 2,600 feet in the Salt River Canyon on the southwest corner of the reservation to over 11,400 feet at the top of Mount Baldy, one of the tribe's sacred peaks. It includes some of the richest wildlife habitats in the state, and more than 400 miles of streams. It is home to the Apache trout, a species brought back from the brink of extinction through the efforts of the Tribe with help from many partners. Through the Tribe's Wildlife and Outdoor Recreation Division, many recreational opportunities are available on the reservation. Nearby towns and villages include Pinetop, McNary, Cibecue, Carrizo, Cedar Creek, Forestdale, Hon-Dah, East Fork, and Seven Mile. The town of Whiteriver, Arizona, is the tribal government seat.

When European exploration began, the White Mountain Apache lived in family groups and bands, with homes and farms along all of the major watercourses: the East Fork and North Fork of the White River, on Cedar Creek, Carrizo Creek, Cibecue Creek, Oak Creek, and others, all located in Arizona. The tribe farmed, growing corn, sunflowers, beans, squash, and other foods. They hunted deer and other game and collected abundant wild plant foods. The White Mountain Apache traveled widely, trading and raiding throughout the region and deep into Mexico. When the United States took control of New Mexico during the Mexican-American War, some of the Apache leaders went to Santa Fe to meet with those authorities.

In July 1869 Brevet Colonel (Major) John Green of the U.S. 1st Cavalry led a scouting expedition of more than 120 troops into the White Mountains area from Camp Goodwin and Camp Grant to the south. The expedition headed north, up the San Carlos River, across the Black River, and onward to the White River near the vicinity of the future site of Fort Apache, seeking to kill or capture any Apache people they encountered.

Army scouts reported finding over 100 acres of cornfields along the White River. Escapa, an Apache chief that the Anglos called Miguel, visited the camp, and invited Col. Green to visit his village. Green sent Captain John Barry, urging him "if possible to exterminate the whole village."

When Captain Barry arrived at Miguel's village, however, he found white flags "flying from every hut and from every prominent point," and "the men, women and children came out to meet them and went to work at once to cut corn for their horses, and showed such a spirit of delight at meeting them that the officers [said] if they had fired upon them they would have been guilty of cold-blooded murder."

Green returned to the White Mountains in November 1869, and met again with the Apache leaders Escapa (Miguel), Eskininla (Diablo), Pedro, and Eskiltesela. They agreed to the creation of a military post and reservation, and directed Green to the confluence of the East and North Forks of the White River. The following spring troops from the 21st Infantry and 1st Cavalry were ordered to establish a camp on the White Mountain River.

On May 16, 1870 the U.S. Military began construction of Camp Ord. The camp would be renamed Camp Mogollon, then Camp Thomas, and finally, Camp Apache. The post was designated Fort Apache in 1879. The Army abandoned Fort Apache in 1922. In 1923 the site became the home of the Bureau of Indian Affairs' Theodore Roosevelt Indian Boarding School. First intended to serve Diné (Navajo) children, by the 1930s a majority of students at the school were Apache. Today Theodore Roosevelt School continues to serve as a middle school under the administration of a school board selected by the Tribal Council.

On November 9, 1891, by Executive Order, the Fort Apache Indian Reservation was established. Now known as the White Mountain Apache Reservation, it originally included the San Carlos Apache Reservation but was separated by an act of Congress in 1897.

The White Mountain Apache Tribe consists of approximately 15,000 members. The majority of the population lives in and around Whiteriver, while other tribal members reside in the communities of Cibecue, Carrizo, Cedar Creek, Forestdale, Hon-Dah, McNary, East Fork, and Seven Mile. The Whiteriver Unified School District and the Cibecue Community School offer public education. Other educational institutions include the Theodore Roosevelt School and John F. Kennedy School operated by the Indian Education Division of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the East Fork Lutheran Mission School. Higher education opportunities are available through the regional Northland Pioneer College, which has a center at Whiteriver. Many Apache young people attend Arizona's three state universities and other schools and colleges around the country. Currently, tribal economics center on tourism and outdoor recreation, with some logging on reservation lands as well. The tribe operates the Hon-Dah Resort Center and Casino, as well as the Sunrise Park Ski Resort. Both properties are located on the White Mountain Apache Reservation.


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