What Was Lacrosse Originally Called? Uncovering The History Of An Ancient Game

Man Wearing White and Red Lacrosse Uniform

The Ancient Game of Lacrosse

Lacrosse is an ancient game that has been played by Native American tribes for centuries. It was originally called baggataway, and it’s a sport that has evolved over time and become popular around the world. In this blog post, we explore the history of lacrosse and what it was initially known as.

What Was Baggataway?

Baggataway is a traditional game that was played by many Native American nations throughout North America in the 1600s. The object of the game was to hit or catch a small ball with sticks while trying to score goals against opponents. The originators of this game are believed to have been First Nations people from what is now Canada, although some evidence suggests it could have originated among Algonquin-speaking peoples near Lake Champlain in New York State as well. It eventually spread throughout other parts of the continent and became widely popular amongst many native cultures prior to European settlement on their lands.

How Did Baggataway Become Lacrosse?

Baggataway started out being played solely by members of native communities but gradually gained popularity with white settlers who began playing their own version of the sport. By 1859, Canadian dentist William George Beers had codified rules for lacrosse – referring to it as “lacrosse” due to its resemblance to field hockey – which led to more widespread interest in the sport both in Canada and abroad (particularly England). During this period, lacrosse clubs were formed across North America as well as Europe, which helped promote further adoption of Beers’ new version of baggataway outside its original home on tribal lands.


From its humble beginnings among Indigenous peoples hundreds of years ago up until today’s modern interpretation, lacrosse continues to be one of North America’s oldest sports traditions – having gone through changes during its long history but still maintaining core elements such as hitting or catching a small ball with sticks while trying to score goals against opponents just like when it started out being known simply by its original name: baggataway!