Iroquoian-speaking North American Indians who were living along the St. Lawrence River when contacted by the French explorer Jacques Cartier in 1534. Traditionally, the Huron lived in villages of longhouses, each of which housed several families. Corn agriculture was the mainstay of the Huron economy. Huron social and political organization was based on matrilineal clans. Each clan had a chief who represented the group at village and band councils; a clan's senior women were responsible for selecting its chiefs. The Huron were bitter enemies of the tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy, with whom they competed in the fur trade. Several Huron bands formed the Wendat Confederacy to defend against the Iroquois; the Iroquois destroyed the alliance in 1648–50 and caused its members to disperse to what are now the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario and the U.S. states of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ohio. During the French and Indian War the Huron allied with the French against the British and Iroquois. Early 21st-century population estimates indicated some 4,000 individuals of Huron descent.