A Short History of King Philip’s War: 1675-1678

While the Swedes, Dutch and English were fighting it out in the Delaware Valley Region, there was a lot going on in New England. Although the focus of this timeline is the Mid-Atlantic Region, the activities of the British had a wide-ranging effect all over eastern North America. And thanks to the The Early History and Massachusetts Blog, (https://historyofmassachusetts.org/what-was-king-philips-war/) there is a detailed post about King Philip’s War that is summarized here:

King Philip’s War was fought between English colonists and the American Indians of New England in the 17th century. It was their last major effort to drive the English colonists out of New England. The war took place between 1675-1676 in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts and later spread to Maine and New Hampshire.

King Philip, was the son of the Wampanoag chief Massasoit. Philip was also known by his Wampanoag name, Metacom, so his eponymously named war was alternatively known as Metacom’s War. It was also known as the First Indian War, but that was technically a misnomer since the English and French had been fighting with the Native Americans for most of the 17th century in Canada, and especially Virginia (see the post in this time-line about the First Anglo-Powhatan War).

Philip led his tribe and a coalition of the Nipmuck, Pocumtuck and Narragansett tribes in an uprising against the colonists and their allies, the Mohegans and the Mohawks. The major fighting lasted 14 months, although as noted below, the war went on longer. The war was considered disastrous for both the Native Americans and the colonists because: the war continued for a relatively long time; the fighting ranged over a wide area with numerous battles; the casualties were quite high; and there was a lot of property damage, including livestock. And, it was considered more of a civil war among the native groups, since there were large forces fighting against each other, rather than focusing on expelling the English.

The War finally ended with the treaty of Casco Bay in April 1678. But, King Philip had already been killed and decapitated, in August 1676, at an old Wampanoag village called Montaup near Mount Hope. As destructive as it was, King Philip’s War was a turning point in American history because it gave the colonists control of southern New England and cleared the way for English expansion in the area. This, along with the expulsion of the Dutch and Swedes – as noted in other posts in this time line – led to English Control of the entirety of North Eastern North America.

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