1760s - Mandans at peak of power

Painting by George Catlin

      By now, the Mandan population in the nine villages surrounding the confluence of the Heart River with the Missouri has reached 15,000.  The Mandan's prosperity results from their success with horticulure and their skill at trading.  Indian trade routes criss-crossing the continent converge at the Heart River where the Mandan Villages became the most important trading center on the central plains.