Kaw Trade with Euro-Americans
France, Spain, and England all claimed the land now known as Kansas. They were all directly interested in the fur trade. This contact between Native Americans and Europeans was both friendly and hostile. Although trade brought native peoples new products and goods, it also created economic dependency. In addition, contact with Europeans brought the Indians new diseases such as smallpox, measles, whooping cough, and influenza, which greatly depopulated the Indian tribes.

The Kaws learned how to exploit the competition between the French and British. They realized that they could, from their strategic position at the mouth of the Kansas River, encourage, or hinder Euro-American commercial penetration into the vast fur reserves of the Middle Missouri and Arkansas valleys.

By 1800, the principal Kaw village had been established on the north bank of the Kansas River near the mouth of Blue Earth River, well away from the better-armed Omahas, Sacs, and Iowas to the Northeast. 
This village location provided the Kaws with a greater measure of protection from the tribes to the east, and more convenient access to untapped hunting grounds to the west. However, it placed them in closer proximity to the Pawnees to the north and west.

For their peltry, the Kaws wanted from the Americans a cheap supply of firearms, ammunition, blankets, vermilion, hardware, flour, whiskey, and trinkets. They also demanded that the traders visit their villages on a regular basis. After 1800, at least four groups working out of St. Louis sought to monopolize the Kaw trade.

In 1803, the United States acquired the vast tract of land known as the Louisiana Purchase. From then on, the Kaw were forced to trade at Fort Osage which was well over one hundred miles from the Blue Earth village. Fort Osage was also at least two hundred miles from the Kaws' principal hunting and trapping area.

As the numbers of bison diminished during the 1800s, the Kaws became increasingly dependent on their "annuities."  They were forced onto their first reservation in 1825.
These annual payments, called annuities, began when the first Kaw Reservation was established by the Treaty of 1825.