This Day In Histroy: King Phillip’s War Began in New England (1675)

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On this day in history, King Phillip’s War began in America. From the early 17th century English settlers had begun to colonize the present-day are of New England. They had fled England after they had suffered some form of political or religious persecution. The settlers were ostensibly under the rule of the British Crown. The colonies began to prosper and expand. The colonists at first had good relations with the Native Americans, and they had traded with each other. However, as the colonies expanded, their relationship deteriorated.  Hungry for land, the colonists, sought more and more land. They often purchased or stole the land of the Native Americans and violence began to flare. The Native Americans became increasingly resentful and by the 1670s, they decided to attack the colonies in the Massachusetts area.

NortonMA_KingPhilipsCave
King Phillip’s Cave- the Headquarters of King Phillip

In colonial New England, King Philip’s War begins when Indan warriors raided  settlements  in and around  Swansee, Massachusetts. During the attacked, the Indians massacred the English colonists there.

In the early 1670s,  after nearly 50 years of peace between the Plymouth colony and the local Indians  came to a breaking point. King Phillip as he was known, was the leader of the Wampanoag tribe was a powerful Indian leader and he was feared by the British. In 1675 the settlers demanded that he surrender his weapons. King Phillip refused to do this. Furthermore, some Christian Indians were murdered and this made the settlers very angry. They tried and executed some Wampanoag Indians in response. In response, King Phillip ordered the attack on the settlements. The English colonists in retaliation attacked the Native Americans and destroyed some villages. The burning of a Narragansett village by  colonists brought that tribe into the war. They became the allies of  King Philip,  and his was later joined by several other tribes. Within months King Phillip was leading a confederation of Indians against the British. They had superior numbers but they colonists organized a militia and they had superior firearms. This proved decisive and the settlers began to inflict severe casualties on the Indians. The allies of King Phillip began to desert him and his tribe.  In early 1676, the Narragansett were defeated with heavy losses. In the summer of 1676, King Philip’s wife and son were captured.  Later, in August of that year, King Phillip was killed by a Native American who was acting as an agent for the colonists. The English seized the body of the dead Wampanoag leader and publicly displayed his head in Plymouth Colony.

King Phillip’s War was very brutal and there were many casualties. The colonists and Native Americans both suffered a loss of population. The result of the war meant that in much of New England, that the colonists has no Indians to stop or impede their expansion. It allows the settlers to establish many new settlements and farms in the New England region.

 

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