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The area of what is now Oneonta was once territory of the Mohawk tribe, who established a major village at "Kanadaseaga" (the falls where the Otsquago Creek drops over a series of ledges). The British built Fort Hunter near this site during the French and Indian War. A new European-American settlement developed around 1795 under Colonel William Cooper, an American Revolutionary War veteran. He believed that he could improve life for his fellow veterans by settling them in this valley with ample fertile land and plenty of game to provide food supplies. In addition, he hoped to develop opportunities for trade with neighboring Indians in order to reduce fighting among colonial settlers; however, most Iroquois had migrated northward into Canada after being forced off their lands by colonists following Britain's defeat in its North American colonies' war against France and Spain.