King Philip’s War (1675 – 1678) was one of several "Indian Wars" in 17th-century colonial America. It was also referred to as “the first Indian war." However, there had been a previous conflict known as The Pequot War (1636 – 1638). Unlike the previous war and unrelated skirmishes over the years, King Philip’s War was a regional conflict that quickly spread throughout coastal and interior Native homelands in what is now called New England. While issues that caused the war built up over decades, the war formally began on the 25th of June,1675, when a band of Pauquunaukit Wampanoag (anglicized as Pokanoket, literally, "land at the clearing")attacked several isolated homesteads in the small Plymouth colony settlement of Swansea.Their leader, or Sachem, was a man named Metacom, known as Philip to the English. Metacom was the son of 8sâmeeqan (Ousamequin), more commonly known as Massasoit.He was the same Massasoit who assisted the first English settlers at Plymouth in 1620. While the war ended in Southern New England with Philip's death on the 12th of August, 1676, the war continued in Northern New England until the Treaty of Casco in April of 1678. King Philip’s War was therefore not a localized event like the earlier Pequot War (1636 – 1638). The Pequot War served as an example of what the Indigenous nations faced at the hand of the English. In that war, the English made no distinction between combatants and non-combatants, as evidenced by the Connecticut and Massachusetts Colonies' attack on the Pequot fortified village at Mystic on the 26th of May, 1637. The Pequot defeat may well have provided food for thought among Indigenous nations in the area, and may have catalyzed their commitment towards procuring firearms.
Anthropology and History
Dr. Michael Zimmerman, Thesis Advisor
Dr. Kevin McBride, Committee Member
Dr. Ian Saxine, Committee Member
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Original document was submitted as an Honors Program requirement. Copyright is held by the author.
Merritt, William G.. (2021). Restoring Balance – Reconstructing Indigenous Strategies in King Philip’s War. In BSU Honors Program Theses and Projects. Item 484. Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/honors_proj/484
Copyright © 2021 William G. Merritt