Sir William Johnson, 1st Baronet (c. 1715 – 11 July 1774) was an Anglo-Irish official of the British Empire. As a young man, Johnson came to the Province of New York to manage an estate purchased by his uncle, Admiral Peter Warren, which was located amidst the Mohawks, one of the Six Nations of the Iroquois League. Johnson learned the Mohawk language and Iroquois customs, and was appointed New York's agent to the Iroquois. Throughout his career as a British official among the Iroquois, Johnson combined personal business with official diplomacy, acquiring much Native land and becoming very wealthy.
Johnson commanded Iroquois and colonial militia forces during the French and Indian War. His role in the British victory at the Battle of Lake George in 1755 earned him a baronetcy; his capture of Fort Niagara from the French in 1759 brought him additional renown. In 1756, Johnson was commissioned as the superintendent of Indian affairs for the northern colonies. Serving in that role until his death, Johnson worked to keep American Indians attached to the British interest.
William Johnson was born in County Meath, in the Kingdom of Ireland, around 1715. His parents were Christopher Johnson and Anne Warren, members of the Irish Catholic gentry who had, in previous generations, lost much of their status to Protestant English colonists. Christopher Johnson was descended from the O'Neill of the Fews dynasty of County Armagh. William Johnson's paternal grandfather was apparently originally known as William MacShane, but changed his surname to Johnson, the English translation of the Gaelic Mac Seáin. Some early biographers portrayed William Johnson as living in poverty in Ireland, but modern studies reveal that his family lived a comfortable, if modest, lifestyle. Although his family had a history of Jacobitism, William Johnson's uncle Peter Warren was raised as a Protestant to enable him to pursue a career in the British Royal Navy, which proved to be highly successful and lucrative.