The Last of the Mohicans was written in 1826 by James Fenimore Cooper. Cooper was born September 15, 1789 in Burlington, New Jersey. Born the son of a wealthy judge, his family moved to Cooperstown, New York when he was just a year old. The town was named in his father’s honor. Cooper was raised and received his early education in Cooperstown, where he was introduced into influential social circles.
At the age of thirteen, he was sent to Yale University to study. He was expelled from the school for continuous pranks including putting a donkey on a professor’s chair and exploding gunpowder on the campus. After he left Yale, he spent two years as a merchant marine before joining the U.S. Navy. While in the Navy, his father was killed by a political adversary and Cooper inherited a large estate. In 1811, he married Susan DeLancey, who was the daughter of a wealthy family, and he left the Navy to settle down as a gentleman.
Cooper’s business ventures were unsuccessful and he gave up his life in the country, moving to New York City to become a writer. It is rumored that after reading a novel, he commented to his wife that he could do a better job, and she challenged him to do so, beginning his career as a writer.Cooper’s first novel, Precaution, written in 1820, was unsuccessful, but the following year Cooper gained fame with The Spy, a historical romance novel about the American Revolution. He then wrote several novels of sea adventures before writing the Leather-Stocking Tales, a five book collection, including The Last of the Mohicans, about the North American frontier. In 1826, Cooper left the United States and spent eight years in Europe where he continued his success and wrote novels about medieval Europe, democracy and politics.
After returning to the States, Cooper became a reactionary and had difficulties with the press, much of which was a result of his view of the course taken by American democracy. James Fenimore Cooper died in Cooperstown on September, 14, 1851. The Last of the Mohicans takes place in 1757, in upstate New York, amidst the British wars with the French and the Indians. It is the story of a dangerous journey between two British forts taken by two daughters of one of commander of one of the forts, their traveling companions and the Indians they encounter along the way. The story begins with Alice and Cora, the daughters of Colonel Munro, commander of Fort William Henry, heading out from Fort Edward, accompanied by Major Heyward, to visit their father. The three are guided by an Indian, Magua, who eventually betrays them, in an act of revenge, and leads them into a trap. Along the way, they encounter David Gamut, a religious signer from Conneticuit, who joins them on their trek to the fort.
Later they meet Hawkeye and two Mohican Indians, Chingachgook and his son Uncas, who determine the Indian guide is an enemy. They attempt to capture him, but he escapes only to later along the journey reappear with reinforcements from his Huron Tribe. Guided and protected by Hawkeye and the Mohicans, the group continues to the Fort, the trek included several battles with the Hurons, one of which resulted in part of the group being captured and later rescued. When the party finally nears Fort William Henry, they find it under attack by the French. Under the cover of fog, the groups makes their way into the Fort where the girls are reunited with their father.
The fort is besieged for days and eventually after learning that there will be no reinforcements, Colonel Munro gives up the fort to the French, who offered generous terms of surrender. But as the British evacuate the fort, they are attacked by a group of Indians allied with the French. In the mayhem, Alice, Cora and David are captured once again by Magua. After days of looking, the search party, consisting of Hawkeye, the Mohicans, Colonel Munro and Major Heyward, finally discover the trail left by the Hurons and set out to rescue David and the girls. They find David, who was spared by the Indians because they thought he was crazy, and are told the girls were separated and being held at different Indian camps.
They manage to rescue Alice from a Huron camp, but are later captured at a Delaware camp trying to find Cora. The Delaware tribe is finally convinced by Uncas to release all of the captives except Cora, who is determined to be the rightful prisoner of Magua. After Magua leaves with Cora, the group forms a plan an heads out to rescue her. In the attempt to save Cora, both she and Uncas, along with Magua, are killed.
The story ends with Cora and Uncas receiving proper burials by the Delaware tribe and the chief of the Delawares declaring that he has lived to see the last warrior of the noble race of Mohicans. In writing the Last of the Mohicans, Cooper used certain real.