King Philip’s War

  • Grades: 6–8, 9–12

King Philip's War (167576), the most destructive Indian war in New England's history, was named for Philip (Metacom), son of Massasoit and sachem (chief) of the Wampanoag tribe of Plymouth Colony from 1662. Philip deeply resented white intrusion and domination. After maintaining peace with the colonists for many years, he became a leader in open resistance. Fighting broke out at the frontier settlement of Swansea in June 1675, after which the conflict between Indians and whites spread rapidly across southern New England, involving the colonies of Plymouth, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and, to a limited extent, Rhode Island. Some tribes, including the Narragansett and Nipmuck, became active on Philip's side; others gave valuable assistance to the whites. Indian raiding parties burned many New England towns and killed or captured hundreds of colonists. Eventually, colonial forces imposed even greater destruction upon the Indians, until finally all resistance was crushed. Philip himself was trapped and killed in August 1676.

Douglas Edward Leach

Bibliography: Bourne, Russell, The Red King's Rebellion (1990); Church, Thomas, The History of King Philip's War (1989); Leach, Douglas, Flintlock and Tomahawk (1958; repr. 1966); Lepore, Jill, The Name of War: King Philip's War and the Origins of American Identity (1998); Roman, Joseph, King Philip: Wampanoag Rebel (1992); Schultz, Eric B., and Tougias, Michael J., King Philip's War: The History and Legacy of America's Forgotten Conflict (1999).

  • Subjects:
    Native American History, Colonial and Revolutionary America
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