Metacom's (King Philip's) War

Metacom's (King Philip's) War
1675-1676

Metacom was a Wampanoag man who became known to the English as King Philip. He was the son of Massasoit. After Massasoit's death in 1661, relations between English settlers and Native Americans began to deteriorate. Land disputes increased and Native Americans resented being forced to live under Colonial laws. Metacom's (King Philip's) War erupted in June of 1675 in Swansea, Massachusetts. Although the English believed King Philip was the head of a unified Native American uprising, characteristically, many of the groups acted independently. The Native Americans were constantly on the move, launching surprise attacks and ambushes (such as the September 1675 attack at what came to be called Bloody Brook in present-day South Deerfield, Massachusetts). These attacks bewildered and demoralized the English and caused them to live in a constant state of terror. Native Americans attacked over half of New England's ninety-two towns. By the end of 1676, of the 20,000 Native Americans in southern New England, over 3,000 had been killed. Metacom himself was slain by a Pocasset fighting with the English in the summer of 1676. His wife and son, like many other Native American captives, were sold into slavery in the West Indies. Those who escaped death and capture joined other tribes to the north and west, while the English slowly returned to their abandoned villages to rebuild. Metacom's War settled forever who would control southern New England. It cleared the way for Colonial expansion and, sadly, set the tone for future relations between the Native American people and the United States.