Colden, Cadwallader

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Irish-American civil servant and naturalist

Colden was born in Ireland and after graduating from the University of Edinburgh (1705) he emigrated to the American colonies (1710). He spent the next half century in the colonial civil service, eventually being appointed surveyor general and then lieutenant governor of New York. He became close to the Iroquois tribe, wrote a History of the Five Indian Nations Depending on the Province of New York in America (1727), the first book of its kind in English, and was adopted by the Mohawk tribe. He was a frequent correspondent of Benjamin Franklin, but the relationship did not survive his enforcement of the Stamp Act in 1765.


Dictionary of American Biography
Johansen, Bruce E. Forgotten Founders: Benjamin Franklin, the Iroquois and the Rationale for the American Revolution. (Ipswich: Gambit, 1982). Also partly available at:
Holum, Vidar. "Stoermann-Nss Holum's Genealogy Page: Cadwallader Colden." [Includes portrait]. Available at:


17th Century
18th Century
Government, Politics, Civil Service, Public Administration
Adopted as an Adult
Honorific Adoptions
Trans-Racial, Trans-Tribal, International or Trans-Cultural Adoption or Fostering
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