Lacrosse is part of the cultural tradition of the Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) people, inhabiting what is now New York and Pennsylvania. Lacrosse may have been developed as early as 1100 AD among indigenous peoples on Turtle Island (North America). By the seventeenth century, it was well-established and was documented by Jesuit missionary priests in the territory of present-day Canada.
In the traditional aboriginal Canadian version, each team consisted of about 100 to 1,000 men on a field that stretched from about 500 m (1,600 ft) to 3 km (1.9 mi) long. These games lasted from sunup to sundown for two to three days straight and were played as part of ceremonial ritual, a kind of symbolic warfare, or to give thanks to the Creator or Master.
Lacrosse played a significant role in the community and religious life of tribes across the continent for many years. Early lacrosse was characterized by deep spiritual involvement, befitting the spirit of combat in which it was undertaken. Those who took part did so in the role of warriors, with the goal of bringing glory and honor to themselves and their tribes. The game was said to be played "for the Creator" or was referred to as "The Creator's Game."
by George Catlin.
The French Jesuit missionary Jean de Brébeuf saw Huron tribesmen play the game during 1637 in present-day Ontario. He called it la crosse, "the stick" in French. The name seems to be originated from the French term for field hockey, le jeu de la crosse.
James Smith described in some detail a game being played in 1757 by Mohawk people "wherein now they used a wooden ball, about 7.6 cm (3 in) in diameter, and the instrument they moved it with was a strong staff about 1.5 m (5 ft) long, with a hoop net on the end of it, large enough to contain the ball."
Anglophones from Montreal noticed the game being played by Mohawk people and started playing themselves in the 1830s. In 1856, William George Beers, a Canadian dentist, founded the Montreal Lacrosse Club. In 1860, Beers codified the game, shortening the length of each game and reducing the number of players to 12 per team. The first game played under Beers' rules was at Upper Canada College in 1867; they lost to the Toronto Cricket Club by a score of 3–1.
The new sport proved to be very popular and spread across the English-speaking world, by 1900 there were dozens of men's clubs in Canada, the United States, England, Australia, and New Zealand. The women's game was introduced by Louisa Lumsden in Scotland in 1890. The first women's club in the United States was started by Rosabelle Sinclair at Bryn Mawr School in 1926.
In the United States, lacrosse during the late 1800s and first half of the 1900s was primarily a regional sport centered around the Mid-Atlantic states, especially New York and Maryland. However, in the last half of the 20th century, the sport has spread outside this region, and can be currently found in most of the United States. According to a survey conducted by US Lacrosse in 2016, there are over 825,000 lacrosse participants nation-wide and lacrosse is the fastest-growing team sport among NFHS member schools.
taken from Wikipedia