Once known as "Wantastiquet", the area where Brattleboro lies is at the confluence of the West River and the Connecticut River. The West River was called Wantastiquet in the Abenaki language, a word meaning "river which leads to the west", and is marked by Mount Wantastiquet at its mouth and the Wantastiquet Ponds at its source. The Abenaki would transit this area annually between Missisquoi (their summer hunting grounds} in northwestern Vermont, and Squakheag (their winter settlements) near what is now Northfield, Massachusetts. The band of Abenaki who frequented this area were called Sokoki, which means "people who go their own way" or "people of the lonely way". The Abenaki vigorously defended their land, which they called "Ndakinna," against European settlement in the 17th and 18th centuries (and especially during Dummer's War). Because the Abenaki had sided with the French in the mid-1700s, most of them were driven north into Quebec, opening the way for British – and later American – settlements in the area.
To defend the Massachusetts Bay Colony against Chief Gray Lock and others during Dummer's War, the Massachusetts General Court voted on December 27, 1723 to build a blockhouse and stockade at what would become Brattleboro. Lieutenant-governor William Dummer signed the measure, and construction of Fort Dummer began on February 3, 1724. It was completed before summer. On October 11 of that year, the French attacked the fort and killed some soldiers. In 1725, Dummer's War ended.
In 1728 the fort was converted into a trading post for commerce with friendly Indians. But in 1744, King George's War broke out, lasting until 1748. A small body of troops remained at the fort until 1750, after which it was considered unnecessary.
Although the area was originally part of the Equivalent Lands, the township became one of the