The Algonquian and the Iroquois knew the land - but didn't really have settlements there. It was a hunting ground, and they would set up encampments in the Coos and Oxbow along the river areas while laying in a supply of fish and maple sugar or growing a corn crop. Then they would fade back into the forests and mountains. Amazing, isn't it? It is certainly a harsh climate in the long winter months.
The first European, Samuel de Champlain, found it daunting even though the French certainly knew how to build more weather-resistant housing and had tools that made harvesting firewood easier. They were the first to attempt colonization, trying to establish Quebec around 1609. It was then over 60 years later that they ventured a permanent settlement, this time at what had taken on the name of Lake Champlain. This venture went no where either, and the region again returned to being a no-man's land, literally.
A century later, around the time of the French and Indian War (1754-1763), those tribes that aligned with the French came into this land to raid the occasional English settlements that had popped up over the last few years: the Abenaki and Mi'kmaq of the Wabanaki Confederacy, the Algonquin, Lenape, Ojibwa, Ottawa, Shawnee and Wyando. Evidence of their encampments have been found by archeologists.
Folks nowadays think, "Shame on Americans for stealing native American land." Well, seems the natives didn't much want what we know as Vermont. And if there was any stealing going on it was European vs. European. The English took it from the French (who didn't really much want it either), then New Hampshire's royal governor Benning Wentworth granted some of these lands to family members that New York's royal governor, George Clinton, believed belonged to New York. They fussed over the issue through the French and Indian War and the American Revolution and for several years after that (1749-179) before someone finally payed off New Yorkers with $30,000 so that Vermont could stand on its own and become the very first state admitted to the Union after the 13 colonies adopted the Constitution.
Right now, all I know is that I am c-o-l-d. It's beautiful - but it's c-o-l-d! I have my knee high, sheepskin-lined fur boots on and a wool blanket, but I'm still c-o-l-d! I want my hotel room, and I want a hot shower!