King Philip's War

Woodland tribes at war

King Philip's War Summary and Definition

King Philip's War Summary and Definition: The King Philip's War was a bitter and bloody conflict between the Algonquian speaking Indian tribes and the English settlers of the New England colonies, which took place from June 1675 to August 1676 ending in victory for the colonists. More than half of New England's 90 towns were assaulted by Native Indians.

During King Philips war almost one out of every twenty people in the region, both whites and Indians, are killed. Over 600 colonists and 3,000 Indians were killed during King Philip's War and Indian captives were sold into slavery.

Facts about the King Philip's War
Who fought in the King Philip's War? When did the conflict start and when did the conflict end? What were the causes of the King Philip's War? What was the significance of the King Philip's War? What were the results and effects of the King Philip's War? Interesting history and facts about the King Philip's War:

  • Name of Conflict: King Philip's War
  • Alternative Names: Metacom's Rebellion, Metacom's War, King Phillip’s War, Metacomet War
  • Location: The New England colonies of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Maine
  • Year Conflict started: June 1675
  • Year Conflict ended: August 1676
  • Combatants: New England colonies, commonly known as the New England Confederation
  • Native Indian Tribes: Narragansett, Nashaway, Wampanoag, Nipmuck and Podunk tribes
  • Result: The King Philip's War ended in defeat for the Native Indians
  • Famous Indian Leaders: Chief Metacom (King Philip), Metacom was known as "King Philip of Wampanoag", Canonchet, chief of the Narragansett, Muttawmp, chief of the Nipmuck
  • Famous US Leaders:
    Governor Josiah Winslow
    Governor John Leverett
    Governor John Winthrop, Jr.
    Captain William Turner
    Captain Benjamin Church

Facts about the King Philip's War - Why was Metacom given the Name King Philip?
The tradition of crowning a Native Indian chief as a king started in 1608 when Chief Powhatan, the father of Pocahontas, was crowned as a king (see picture of the coronation Powhatan Wars). King James 1 of England saw the Indians as subservient to his rule but the powerful chief "was sent a crown, with brilliant trappings and regalia, for the solemn coronation of Powhatan." His family were referred to with royal titles such as Princess Pocahontas. Cockacoeske was the wife and Indian chief and following his death was recognized by the Colonial Government as "Queen of Pamunkey". Metacom was another powerful Indian Chief who was referred to as a king. Metacom was believed to have been given the nickname of King Philip by the Puritans, because of his haughty mannerisms, similar to the hated Catholic King Philip II of Spain. Metacom or King Philip as the colonists called him, became leader of the Wampanoag Confederacy in 1662. He was the second son of Chief Massasoit and was also known as Metacomet and Philip of Pokanoket. The Wampanoag were sometimes referred to as the Pokanoket, from the name of their principal village.

Specific Causes of the King Philip's War
What were the specific causes of the King Philip's War? The specific causes of the King Philip's War at a local level were:

  • Bonds built between the first colonists, see the Pilgrim Fathers, were broken with the death of Metacom's father, Chief Massasoit

  • Trade declined between the Native Indians and the Colonists. The Indians ran out of goods to trade and only had their land to bargain with

  • Livestock trampled over Indian cornfields

  • The colonists adopted 'heavy handed' tactics with the Native Indians

  • Metacom (King Philip) was humiliated by the summons to Taunton and the requirement to sign a new peace agreement and surrender guns

  • A series of forts and an increasing number of towns were built antagonising the indigenous tribes

  • The betrayal by John Sassamon and his subsequent murder antagonised both sides

The Significance and Effects of the King Philip's War
The effects and significance of the King Philip's War in history is that:

  • The notion that Indians and whites could not live together peaceably was emphasised

  • The defeat of the Indians resulted in the languages, culture, religion, beliefs and ceremonies of the conquered people to fall into decline, to the point of extinction, after so many were killed or sold into slavery

  • The fur trade in the area virtually disappeared

  • The victory by the colonists was extremely costly both in economic and personal terms but it opened up the area for more colonists and settlers

History Timeline of the King Philip's War
This short History Timeline of the King Philip's War provides fast facts and information about the history, years & dates, key events and famous people who fought in the King Philip's War.

History Timeline of the King Philip's War
This short History Timeline of the King Philip's War provides fast facts and information about the history, years & dates, key events and famous people who fought in the King Philip's War.

  • 1621: Background Info: Metacomet or King Philip was the son of Massasoit who had negotiated peace with the Pilgrims in 1621. Peace followed and during this time the Algonquian exchanged Indian land for English guns, liquor, and blankets
  • 1661: The death of Chief Massasoit.
  • 1662: Metacom (King Philip) becomes sachem and leader of the Wampanoag Confederacy. Metacom distrusted the colonists and was alarmed at the number of new towns that were being established by the colonists. Livestock trampled over Indian cornfields
  • 1671: Metacom (King Philip) was humiliated by a summons to Taunton and required to sign a new peace agreement that included the surrender of Indian guns
  • 1674: December: Wassausmon was a 'praying Indian' who converted to Christianity and taken the name John Sassamon. In 1674 betrays King Philip by informing Plymouth Colony Officials of his planned attacks on Colonial Settlements. His betrayal starts King Philip's War
  • 1675: June 8: Three Wampanoag Indians were tried for the murder of John Sassamon and executed
  • 1675: King Philip is incensed by the executions which he sees as an encroachment of his tribal authority
  • 1675: June 20: King Philip makes a sudden raid on the border settlement of Swansea
  • 1675: June 28: Settlers send a Military Expedition to retaliate for the raid
  • 1675: July 8: Settlements of Middleborough and Dartmouth are attacked. Other tribes become involved in the hostilities
  • 1675: July 14: Settlements in Plymouth Colony are attacked
  • 1675: August / September: Many other settlements are attacked
  • 1675: September 18: Battle of Bloody Brook
  • 1675: October 5: Town of Springfield is destroyed and half the inhabitants are killed
  • 1675: November 2: Governor Josiah Winslow leads Militia in a reprisal against the Narragansett Tribe
  • 1675: December 16: Great Swamp Fight in which the main Narragansett fortified village in Rhode Island is attacked by the colonists
  • 1676: March 12: Major attack on Plymouth Plantation
  • 1676: March 26: An incident called Nine Men's Misery occurs in Rhode Island in which nine colonists were tortured by the Narragansett Indian tribe during King Philip's War
  • 1676: March 26: Providence is completely destroyed
  • 1676: May 18: Captain William Turner of the Massachusetts Militia lead 150 men against the Narragansett and their chief, Canonchet, is killed
  • 1676: June / July: Indian defeats prompt the desertion and surrender of some tribes allied to Metacom (King Philip). King Philip's wife and son are captured and imprisoned
  • 1676: August 12: Metacom (King Philip) is betrayed by an Indian informant in the service of Captain Benjamin Church revealing his hiding place at Mt. Hope in Rhode Island where he was killed.
  • 1676: The body of Metacom (King Philip) was beheaded and quartered, his head was displayed on a pole for 25 years at Plymouth
  • 1676: After King Philip's death in 1676, Indian resistance collapses and the bloody conflict called King Philip's War comes to an end
Metacom (King Philip)
Powhatan Wars
The Indian Wars
Native Indian Tribes Index

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