Military History Online -- "King Philip's War"

Lady Jane, January 28 2013

A drawing of Metacomet by Paul RevereA drawing of Metacomet by Paul Revere

King Philip's War was the most devastating event in the entire colonial history of New England. Running from 1675-1676, it ended with the near-annihilation of the New England Indians and killed almost 2% of the colonist population. An extensive article on King Philip's War has been written by Walter Giersbach for Military History Online.

"King Philip" was in reality a Wampanoag chief named Metacomet (or Metacom). The initial controversy involved the Wampanoag's killing of an Indian Christian convert named John Sassamon. When the colonists arrested and executed the alleged perpetrators in June 1675, the Wampanoags began to attack the colonial villages in retaliation. For the next year and a half a vicious guerilla war ensued, ending with the total defeat of the Wampanoag and their Indian allies.

Metacomet's luck ran out on August 12, 1676 -- the ultimate fate of his body being rather gruesome.

"Captured, King Philip was taken and destroyed, and there was he (like as Agag was hewed in pieces before the Lord) cut into four quarters, and is now hanged up as a monument of revenging Justice, his head being cut off and carried away to Plymouth, his Hands were brought to Boston."

Metacomet's family and many other surviving Indians were subsequently sold into slavery in the Caribbean, where they likely died soon thereafter.

From a military standpoint, the war foreshadowed the Revolutionary War which would begin almost exactly a century later. By necessity the colonists adapted the guerilla tactics of the Indian tribes in these wars. Their descendants would later use the same tactics against the British Army.

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