wampum

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Small cylindrical beads made from polished shells and fashioned into strings or belts; used by certain Native American peoples as jewelry or currency.

Example from John Winthrop journal:

  • Dated 1643, “…Benedict Arnold, their interpreter, did desire we would receive them under our government, and brought withal a small present of wampom, about ten fathom.”
Synonyms:
wampompeage, wampumpeag, wampompeak, wampom

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