Matchlocks in the 18th century Americas?

Discussion in 'Pre-Flintlock' started by hyuzu, May 31, 2019.

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  1. May 31, 2019 #1

    hyuzu

    hyuzu

    hyuzu

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    From my limited knowledge, it seems that the major western armies were working to phase out matchlocks in place of flintlocks by the late 17th century. However, given the distance between the Americas and the countries that colonised them, and the remote nature of some of the settlements there, I was wondering how much recorded military or civilian use there was of matchlocks across North and South America after 1700? It would be interesting to see how late these weapons endured in practical use after that date.
     
  2. Jun 1, 2019 #2

    DaveC

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    In Spanish America, the matchlock was around for a good long while...

    The Metacom War/ King Philips War 1676 in New England is subject of a vast literature. The militia certainly used matchlock muskets, although early dog lock flintlocks and snaphaunce or snap lock muskets were also in widespread use in the colonies too.

    https://www.nps.gov/stri/upload/Matchlock-Manual-2009-10-29.pdf

    As far as the colonial metropolis goes, the French ordnance officials ordered the removal of matchlocks from army stores by 1704... The first official designation of a "standard" firelock was 1717, with the English following suit by 1722 (1728). Spain, and hence Spanish America did not adopt a sealed pattern/standard firelock until 1752.

    In the farthest frontiers of Spanish America one can be reasonably certain that matchlocks persisted long past their obsolescence. Their use may have been restricted to casa mata or pallisade or baluarte use given their cumbersomeness vis-a-vis Native American/ Amerindian opponents.
     
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  3. Jun 1, 2019 #3

    hyuzu

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    Is there any evidence that the Spanish, Brits, French etc. tried to pawn off their matchlocks on indigenous allies/auxiliaries after the switch to standardised flintlocks? I've definitely seen evidence of eastern woodlands tribes using matchlocks earlier in the 17th century, so there would have been some groups who knew how to use them anyway...
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2019
  4. Jun 1, 2019 #4

    Canute Rex

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    I have seen a photo of a matchlock from a Canadian museum that had been used by the Regiment Carrignan in the 1660s. Probably only for garrison duty.

    My understanding is that the native Americans regarded matchlocks as worse than useless and shunned them.
     
  5. Jun 1, 2019 #5

    hyuzu

    hyuzu

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    That's understandable, especially if they intended to use firearms on horseback (but then again, the Manchus and Mongols were able to master matchlocks on horseback, so it was doable).

    I was pretty sure I read a few articles that mentioned Algonquins using matchlocks in the 17th century, but maybe I'm wrong...

    In any case, I know nothing about whether anybody, indigenous or otherwise, was using them in the 18th century Americas :p
     
  6. Jun 4, 2019 #6

    Canute Rex

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    I can imagine the Algonquins giving them a try and then saying "no way."
     
  7. Jun 5, 2019 #7

    Treestalker

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    When my 'adopted' godfather Rodney Crowder was working in the jungles of South America, warriors of the feared Jivaro tribe were rumored to be able to launch and keep nine arrows in the air sequentially by individual effort. I don't think they would have traded that ability for a matchlock, even if you were good enough at dodging arrows to get close enough to negotiate!
     
  8. Jun 5, 2019 #8

    Pukka Bundook

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    Apparently, The Pilgrims amazed the natives by being able to shoot birds in flight with their matchlocks.
    I read this years ago, I think in Harold L Peterson's book "The Great Guns".
     
  9. Jun 5, 2019 #9

    curator

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    Most historians agree that it wasn't until the introduction of flint locks into the trade network that Native Americans were desirous of obtaining firearms except perhaps as a status symbol. Matchlock guns were not viewed as tactically superior to the Native's bow and arrow. Trade for Flint lock guns may have exacerbated the Native American slave trade in the late 17th century. The depopulation of indigenous people from Spanish Florida by Creek and Yamassee slave raiders in 1701 to 1705 was fueled by these tribes demand for flint lock guns available for trade in Charlestown by the English.
     
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  10. Jun 17, 2019 #10

    tenngun

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    At the school of the ozarks in Hollister mo there is a simple ml smoothie that has three locks built on it. A match lock, snaphaunce and early ‘hand forged flintlock’. The school was unsure of when it was built but thought it early eighteenth century as a journeyman piece.
    If it was such (underline if) it would demonstrate some knowledge of matchlocks was still in vogue as they were replaced which flinters.
    My own opinion was it was a make believe piece for collectors in the middle nineteenth made from old parts.
     
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