History Timeline 1600s

Picture above: Pocahontas, Source: World Noted Women, D. Appleton and Company, 1883, Wikipedia Commons. Right: Pocahontas Saving the Life of Captain John Smith, New England Chromo. Lithograph Company, 1870. Courtesy Library of Congress.

Jamestown

Pre-Revolution Timeline - The 1600s

Settlement



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  • Timeline

  • 1675 Detail

    June 20, 1675 - Beginning of King Philip's War in New England with Metacom Indian forces attacking colonial settlements due to encroachment on the land. Considered the costliest war for European Settlements in relation to population with Indian success during first year halted later when their alliances fell apart. Twelve towns destroyed.

    King Philip's War


    He wasn't really a King, although prior to the start of his war against English colonists in New England, Metacomet, the Wampanoag chief whose father was friendly with the Mayflower pilgrims, took the name as tribute. However, when he became chief in 1662 of the Pokanoket (a tribe within the Wampanoag Confederacy), there was a change of mind. Some of that initial change was prompted by the idea that his brother, the current chief, who died of an illness after being arrested and released by the English, had been poisoned. It is not known whether that was true. Tensions increased during his first ten years as chief. A peace treaty engaged in 1671 caused colonists to think the Indians should give up their guns; not all agreed.

    Friendly relations with the Confederacy and Plymouth Colony had been good during his father's and brother's reign, but the distrust by King Philip due to the above and the continuing expansion of the colony and English citizens, was to be no longer tolerated. By this time, there were one hundred and ten towns in New England with eighty thousand residents, including Plymouth and the Massachusetts Bay Colony, still separate until 1691. The Indian tribes were losing ground; estimates of their population had dwindled to between ten and twenty thousand. Of this number, it is thought that there were only one thousand Wampanoags left.

    Rumors began to float that King Philip wanted to start a war. He was brought to court, but with no proof, was dismissed. When an Indian convert who was a mediator between the sides was murdered, three Wampanoags were hanged for that act in Plymouth Colony on June 8, 1675. There would be retaliation for that.



    Timeline of King Philip's War


    June 20, 1675 - Band of Pokanokets attack settlements outside Plymouth Colony town of Swansea. Within five days, they had destroyed the town and killed several citizens.

    Account in the History of King Philip's War, Mather - "June. 24. (Midsummer-day) was appointed and attended as a day of solemn Humiliation throughout that Colony, by fasting and prayer, to intreat the Lord to give success to the present expedition respecting the Enemy. At the conclusion of that day of Humiliation, as soon as ever the people in Swanzy were come from the place where they had been praying together, the Indians discharged a volly of shot whereby they killed one man & wounded others. Two men were sent to call a Surgeon for the relief of the wounded, but the Indians killed them by the way: and in another part of the town six men were killed, so that there were nine english men murthered this day."

    June 28, 1675 - Colonists destroy the Wampanoag town of Mount Hope (Bristol, Rhode Island) in retaliation.

    July 8, 1675 - King Philip, now with allies in the Podunk and Nipmuck tribes, attack Middleborough and Dartmouth. Six days later, they attacked Mendon.

    August 2, 1676 - Attack on Brookfield, Massachusetts, begins with an initial ambush by the Nipmuck, then siege against remaining colonists for two days until driven off by colonial reinforcements.

    August 9, 1676 - Attack against Lancaster.

    September 9, 1676 - New England Confederation, including the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Plymouth Colony, New Haven Colony, and Connecticut Colony declare war. Colonies of Rhode Island and Providence attempt to stay neutral.

    September 12, 1676 - Battle of Bloody Brook occurs between militia of the Massachusetts Bay Company and Nipmuck, who ambush party bringing harvest back from Deerfield to Hadley. Fifty-seven colonists killed.

    October 5, 1675 - Attack on Springfield causing burning of almost all of town buildings, is eventually thwarted by alerted militia of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

    Account in the History of King Philip's War, Mather - "In the mean while, when the English had any ingagement with the Indians, wounded Indians came home to the Narragansets, especially after the fight at Hatfield, Octob. 19th. about fourty wounded men were seen crossing the woods towards the Narragansets : also some (at least two Indians) from amongst themselves, came to the English, and told them that the Narra gansets were resolved (if they could) to destroy the English : but they were loth to begin to fall upon them before winter, but in the Spring when they should have the leaves of trees and Swamps to befriend them, they would doe it : wherefore it was judged necessary to send out Forces against them, and preparations were made accordingly."

    November 2, 1675 - Great Swamp fight occurs when Plymouth Colony Governor Josiah Winslow attacks Narragansett tribe (neutral to this point although assisting Wampanoags) in several towns, driving them into a large fort (South Kingston, Rhode Island) in a frozen swamp. Attack against fort on December 19, 1675 with one thousand men. Estimated casualties six hundred Narragansett with seventy colonists killed and one hundred and fifty wounded.

    December 1675 - Metacomet, King Philip, retreats into New York, enraging traditional rival, the Mohawk, who would side with the colonists against King Philip, causing a return back to New England.

    February 10, 1676 - Lancaster is raided by one thousand five hundred Indian troops under King Philip, with more than thirty citizens killed or captured, including Mary Rowlandson. She would be held for eleven weeks and ransomed back for L20.

    March 12, 1676 - High point of the Indian Confederacy when they attacked Plymouth Plantation, deep into colonial territory.

    March 29, 1676 - Town of Providence burned to the ground.

    April 21, 1676 - Attack on Sudbury, Massachusetts with thirty militia killed.

    May 18, 1676 - Battle of Turner's Falls with Captain William Turner and one hundred and fifty militia attacking an Indian fishing camp. Colonial victory with one to two hundred Indian casualties against forty militia casualties.

    June 12, 1676 - Colonists defeat an attack against Hadley with Mohegan allies, driving attackers north into New Hampshire.

    Account in the History of King Philip's War, Mather - "June 12. The Enemy assaulted Hadly, in the morning, Sun an hour high, three Souldiers going out of the Town without their Arms, were disswaded therefrom by a Serjeant, who stood at the Gate, but they alleadging that they intended not to go far, were suffered to pass, within a while the Serjeant apprehended, that he heard some men running ; and looking over the Fortification, he saw twenty Indians pursuing those three men, who were so terrified, that they could not cry out ; two of them were at last killed, and the other so mortally wounded, as that he lived not above two or three dayes ; wherefore the Serjeant gave the Alarme. God in great mercy to those Western Plantations had so ordered by his providence, as that Connecticut Army was come thither before this onset from the enemy. Besides English, there were near upon two hundred Indians in Hadley, who came to fight with and for the English, against the common enemy, who was quickly driven off at the South end of the Town ; whilst our men were pursuing of them there, on a sudden a great Swarm of Indians issued out of the bushes, and made their main assault at the North end of the Town, they fired a Barn which was without the Fortifications, and went into an house, where the inhabitants discharged a great Gun upon them, whereupon about fifty Indians were seen running out of the house in great haste, being terribly frighted with the Report and slaughter made amongst them by the great Gun."

    August 12, 1676 - Plymouth colony troops and allies under Captain Benjamin Church and Captain Josiah Standish track King Philip, Metacomet, and kill the chief at Mount Hope. Pocasset chief Anawan captured and killed, a main captain to Metacomet, on August 28, 1676, effectively ending King Philip's War.

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    After the War


    Casualties of the war included one thousand colonists and three thousand Indian warriors and tribe members of the Wampanoags, Nipmucks, Podunks, Narragansetts, and Nashaway. In many cases, this effectively eliminated those tribes as organized bands. Many of the remaining tribe members, up to one thousand, were sold into slavery and sent to the Caribbean. Other members who escaped, joined tribes to the west and north. By the end of King Philip's War, the population of the New England tribes is estimated to have been reduced by 40-80 percent. In relation to the proportion of the population, King Philip's War is the deadliest war in American history.

    For the colonists, the effect of the war was devastation to many towns in southern New England, including the burning of Providence. For some, the experience spawned literature. Mary Rolandson, captured for eleven days, wrote the book, "The Sovereignty and Goodness of God: Being a Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson," in 1682, which sold out its four printings.

    Quotes, Mary Rowlandson - "On the tenth of February 1675, came the Indians with great numbers upon Lancaster: their first coming was about sunrising; hearing the noise of some guns, we looked out; several houses were burning, and the smoke ascending to heaven. There were five persons taken in one house; the father, and the mother and a sucking child, they knocked on the head; the other two they took and carried away alive ..."

    ... I had often before this said that if the Indians should come, I should choose rather to be killed by them than taken alive, but when it came to the trial my mind changed; their glittering weapons so daunted my spirit, that I chose rather to go along with those (as I may say) ravenous beasts, than that moment to end my days; and that I may the better declare what happened to me during that grievous captivity, I shall particularly speak of the several removes we had up and down the wilderness."

    Source: Drawing depicting the capture of Mrs. Rolandson during the King Philip's War between colonists and New England tribes, 1857, Harper's Monthly. Courtesy Library of Congress. Image below: Montage of two images, (left) Metacom, i.e. King Philip, chief of the Pokanoket, 1881, variant of Paul Revere engraving, 1772, and (right) Goffe rallying men of Hadley in King Philip's War, 1883, illustration in The Romance and Tragedy of Pioneer Life, August L. Mason and Jones Brothers and Company. Courtesy Library of Congress. Info source: "The Sovereignty and Goodness of God: Being a Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson," 1682, Mary Rowlandson. Courtesy Gutenberg Project; "A Brief History of the War with the Indians in New-England (1676): An Online Electronic Text Edition," Increase Mather, 1676; Library of Congress; Historofmassachusetts.org; Wikipedia.


    King Philip's War



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