History of Lacrosse

History of Lacrosse

This page focuses on the history behind lacrosse. It looks at where and when lacrosse was invented, when it became a college game and much more.

Lacrosse History - Key Dates & Events

  • Lacrosse was invented in the 1100s by Native American tribes based in the northeast and plain states of present-day Canada and USA. The original version of lacrosse involved hundreds of men playing the game with a ball and sticks. Moreover, these very physical games were played without any protective gear.
  • Lacrosse was played by Native American tribes for a variety of reasons including settling tribal disputes (versus going to war), toughening up warriors, recreation, religious reasons, etc.
  • The name "lacrosse" came from a French missionary, Jean de Br├ębeuf, who watched the Iroquois playing this game in the 1630s. "La Crosse" is French for the stick.
  • In contrast, since this was a tough game, Native Americans had some more colorful names for the game. For example, the Mohawks called it the "little brother of war".
  • In the 1800s, lacrosse started to be played at Canadian colleges.
  • The first United States college/university to add lacrosse as a sport was New York University in 1877.
  • Lacrosse was an Olympic sport at the 1904 and 1908 Olympics.
  • Lacrosse is not popular enough on a global basis to be in the modern Olympics. However, lacrosse is played in a wide variety of countries such as Canada, USA, Australia, England, Japan, Germany, etc. For example, 38 nations participated in the 2014 World Lacrosse Championship (which was held in Colorado).
  • Box lacrosse was created in Canada in the 1930s. Cool history fact - The reason for the creation of box lacrosse… the cold & snow of Canada forced lacrosse indoors in order to get in a full season!
  • The first NCAA D1 men's lacrosse championship was held in 1971. For the winners of recent D1 Men's Lacrosse Championships, please visit the wiki's section on D1 Champions.
  • The first NCAA D1 women's lacrosse championship was held in 1982.
  • In 1998, US Lacrosse was formed. US Lacrosse is the governing body for men's and women's lacrosse in the United States.
  • Major League Lacrosse (MLL) was formed in 2001.



History of Lacrosse

Reference Sources

1. History information supplied with permission from BeginnerLacrosse.com, https://www.beginnerlacrosse.com/history-of-lacrosse