Indians and Moravians

     The area in which Bethlehem would grow and the surrounding regions of the Lehigh Valley were inhabited by the Delaware Indians, which in their own language were the "Lenni Lenape".  They were a peaceful agrarian tribe, and were part of the powerful confederacy called the Six Nations.  The members of this League were more commonly called the Iroquois. (15)  The first European settlers arrived in the 1740ís, and, like many others of the time, were fleeing from religious persecution in their homeland.  These pilgrims were the Moravians, who had left Germany under the patronage of Count Zinzendorf.  While some attempted to settle in Georgia, most preferred to come to Pennsylvania, whose geographic features and climate closely resembled those of Germany.  For their first winter in America in 1740, the Moravians were sheltered by colonists on the Nazareth tract of land.  They were then offered the sale of 500 acres of land south of Nazareth, on the northern bank of the Lehigh River near the mouth of the Monacacy Creek, which they accepted. (24-25)  Construction began immediately on the first communal plan of Bethlehem ca. 1757hewn-log house, so that the Moravians were able to celebrate Christmas Eve of 1741 at their new home.  It is said that while singing Christmas hymns, Count Zinzendorf declared that the new settlement should be called Bethlehem, after the birthplace of Jesus.  (1-2)  Since the Moravians were a highly religious and moral group, they felt indebted to also purchase their land from the Indians who inhabited it.  By December 1742, Count Zinzendorf completed negotiations with the Delaware for their removal from the settlement land, reimbursing them for their huts, a peach orchard, and a small wheat field. (36)