Who Was Chingachgook?
In his world famous book, James Fenimore Cooper names Chingachgook, the Mohican freind of Natty Bumppo, better known as Hawkeye the Hunter. Chingachgook died as an old man in the novel The Pioneers, which makes him the actual “last of the Mohicans,” having outlived his son.
The story takes place at the time of the French and Indian Wars in America. It begins with an English officer, Major Duncan Heyward, in company with Cora and Alice, the daughters of Colenel Munro, setting out from Fort Edward to travel through the dense forest to Fort William Henry. There are to meet with the girls’ father, the commandant of Fort William Henry.
Magua, a renegade Huron Indian, offers to lead them to the fort by a short route. The Huron plans to lead Cora and Alice into a trap but the little party meet up with Chingachgook, his son Uncas, and Hawkeye the Hunter. These three men swiftly realise what Magua is about and travel him for what be is. They try to capture the Huron but the cunning rascla makes good his escape.
The book finally ends in tragedy with Uncas slain by Magua who is, in turn, killed by Hawkeye. Cora dies at the hands of a savage Huron, leaving Alice and Heyward the only survivors of the little party that originally set out from Fort Edward. Hawkeye returns to his beloved forest, there to remain forever with his good comrade, Chingachgook, the last of the Mohicans.
James Fenimore Cooper, the American novelist, was born at Burlington, New Jersey, September 15, 1789. Educated at Yale for a time, he served in the American navy. His books about the colonial days in America and his novels about the sea, enjoyed great success but his habit of criticising the United States made him very unpopular with his fellow country-men. He was 61 when he died the day before his birthday in 1851.