King Philip’s War, 1675-1676
King Philip’s War of 1675-1676 is one of the wars of Colonial American that has gone to the back of the history books. Also known as Metacom’s Rebellion, this was a last-ditch effort by Southern New England’s Native Americans to drive out English settlers. In American history, the Civil War remains the deadliest war. However, King Philip’s War can take the title of the deadliest in terms of per capita losses. Pokunoket chief Metacom, or King Philip by the settlers, was the leader of this Native American uprising that lasted around fourteen months.
While unsure of all the events that caused the war, we do know one reason. The rapid growth of settlers in the 1670s started to force Native Americans out of their lands. Once this happened, the relationship between the settlers and Native Americans became extremely rocky. In trying to keep as much peace as possible, some settlers met with King Philip and demanded that his forces surrender their arms. King Philip agreed and all went well until one day when a Christian Native American, who was the informer for the settlers was murdered. In response, the settlers tried and executed three Native Americans.
The action taken to this response was to attach the settlers. On June 24, 1675, the tribe attacked through a series of raids of English settlements. An unknown number of colonists were murdered during this time. In response, the colonists destroyed Native American villages. Within months, all the colonies and several Native American tribes were at war. The war raged on with an unknown amount of casualties. Eventually, King Philip’s wife and son were captured. Not too long after that, in August of 1676, King Philip’s secret hiding place was discovered. A Native American, who was on the English side, captured the King and assassinated him. His head was then publicly displayed on a stake in Plymouth.
The war did several things for the colonists and Native Americans. First, the settlers and Native Americans’ relationship was never the same. Many Native American tribes moved out of the New England area. The war was extremely costly for the settlers and over one-tenth of New England’s military-age population died during the war. On the plus side, the war united the settlers of New England unlike any event before. This was because England refused to send troops or help with the war. Therefore, the settlers had to work together. This action was one of the first acts which laid the groundwork for American identity.