King Philip’s War
King Philip’s War lasted from 1675 to 1676. It was the bloodiest conflict between American colonists and Indians in the 17th century New England. By 1600, colonial settlers no longer depended on the Indians for survival; therefore they pushed into Indian Territory in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. To protect their lands, the Wampanoag chief, King Philip, also known as Metacom organized a federation of tribes, which in 1675 destroyed several frontier settlements.
King Philip’s War was the beginning of the development of a greater American identity; the conflicts suffered by the colonists gave them a distinct identity than that of the subjects of the English crown. The first Thanksgiving feast took place in 1621. This celebration marked the partnership of the Native Americans and the colonists. That year, Massasoit signed a treaty with the Pilgrim governor promising to give aid against enemies; they maintained 40 years of peace. However after Massasoit died in 1661, this peace began to deteriorate.
The population of the colonial settlers grew rapidly and soon they outnumbered the Indians. Therefore, Europeans and the Indians frequently fought overland. When Metacom became sachem he was amid Plymouth Colony’s demands for land. He was humiliated several times, and forced to admit guilt and surrender. He then soon became angry at the colonists because they forced him not to sell Wampanoag without seeking their council first. Benjamin Church is considered the father of American ranging.
He was the captain of the first Ranger force in America. Church was commissioned by the Governor of the Plymouth Colony Josiah Winslow to form the first ranger company for King Philip’s War. He played a unique and crucial role in King Philip’s War because he developed friendship with Native Americans and worked to understand and learn from those who lived near his frontier home. Church designed his force primarily to emulate Indian patterns of war. Toward this end, he endeavored to learn to fight like Indians from Indians.
Philip and his followers went to New York hoping to find recruit and supplies. However Edward Andros, the governor of New York feared that the war might spread to his colony, therefore, he formed allies with the Mohawks who were enemies of Wampanoag. The Mohawks attacked Philip’s forces, and he returned to the New England colonies. On Aug. 12, 1676, a Wampanoag informer named Alderman killed King Philip. Philip was beheaded and quartered, and his head was displayed on a pole in Plymouth for more than 20 years.