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The Niagara River

The Niagara River, 55 km long, flows from Lake Erie northward over Niagara Falls to Lake Ontario.

The name Niagara evolved from the word Onghiara, used by the Neutral Indians to describe their chief camp at the mouth of the Niagara River and Lake Ontario. After the Neutrals were wiped out by the Iroquois around 1650, the Seneca’s inhabited the area once home to the Neutrals.

They continued to refer to the Indian camp as Onghiara however the word they used to describe the river was Nyahgeah.

The Niagara River has a flow greater than the Fraser, Columbia or Nelson rivers, making it too difficult in most places for boats. However the Niagara River was of great importance to the early French explorers who built Fort Niagara along the east side of the Niagara River in 1678.

Originally the fort was intended as a fur trading post with the Indians. Downstream from Niagara Falls the Niagara River takes a sharp turn. This area is referred to as The Whirlpool Rapids. It is also referred to as "The Devil's Hole".