Thursday, August 12, 2010

First to Fight

A little know fact but to maybe the Native American community but today is the anniversary of the end of what is traditionally known as the first Indian war here in the America's by the assassination of the leader of the Indian revolt. The year was 1676 but the fighting started between loose bands of Indians and British Colonists (living in what is now Rhode Island) a year earlier. The exact cause of the fighting is still in dispute and claims of murder and cattle killings abound. But what is known is that Colonists put to death Indians who were incriminated in the murder of a native convert who was sympathetic to the English. It made no sense but the English needed to make a statement, thinking the Indians would return to their villages. However, the popular leader of the Indians, known as Metacom used these events to bolster his cause to unite the many Indian tribes and rise up against the white pestilence English. It ended when Metacom was killed or more properly assassinated ending the bulk of the fighting that threatened to end the Eastern colonization of North America. Known as "King Phillip's War" for Metacom who was the leader of the Pokanoket Indians and successfully rallied the Wampanoag Federation of Indians.

King Phillip was the name applied by the English to Metacom who's father helped the original Plymouth Pilgrims survive their first winter. This favor was returned with the bloody fighting that ensued some 55 years later. There were massacres on both sides most notable among them was the "Great Swamp" massacre conducted by the English against the Narragansett Indians. More than 500 native's were killed, most were women and children. Another shame is that Indians taken prisoner by the English were either executed or taken to Bermuda and sold as slaves.

Hard fighting lasted a mere 18 months however it was two more years before an actual treaty was signed. This little know war set the stage for future relations with the Indians and is generally considered the reason why so many Indian Tribes would ally themselves with the French during what became known as the French and Indian War.

The English would never fully trust the Indians nor would the Indians trust the English in their dealings together.

There were other wars with the natives here on the East Coast (the fighting with the Powhatan or the Pequot pre-date this war) but this one had the momentum and organization between Tribes to have an actual impact to colonization in what is known as New England (Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

However it failed. Today you can go to a casino in Connecticut operated by what remains of one of these tribes. Most of the other tribes have since become extinct.

More here and here.

BT: Jimmy T sends.

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