Map of the Northeast showing European settlements and water routes. The British and Dutch settlements are shown in red, the French settlements in light blue. The large area between the settlements was contested between the French and the English, and effectively controled by the Iroquois and other Indians. Note the extent to which the whole area is connected by rivers and lakes. The St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes provided the French with access to the contested area from the north. The British penetrated this area via the Hudson, Mohawk, and Connecticut Rivers. Colored in a different shade of blue are the critical passages between the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers and the French controlled waterways to the north.