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Metacom

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Metacom

Metacomet[pronunciation?] (ca. 1639 – August 12, 1676), also known as King Philip or Metacom, or occasionally Pometacom, was a war chief or sachem of the Wampanoag Indians and their leader in King Philip's War, a widespread Native American uprising against English colonists in New England.

Biography

Metacomet was the second son of Massasoit. He became a chief in 1662 when his brother Wamsutta (or King Alexander) and his father Massasoit died. Wamsutta's widow Weetamoo (d. 1676), sachem of the Pocasset, was Metacomet's ally and friend for the rest of her life. Metacom married Weetamoo's younger sister Wootonekanuske. No one knows how many children they had or what happened to them, but Wootonekanuske and one of their sons were sold to slavery in the West Indies. Also, no one knows what King Philip was like. Some considered him as a strategic leader and he both impressed and scared the settlers, but other people beg to differ.

At the beginning he sought to live in harmony with the colonists. As a sachem, he took the lead in much of his tribes' trade with the colonies. He adopted the European name of Philip, and bought his clothes in Boston, Massachusetts.

But the colonies continued to expand. To the west, the Iroquois Confederation also was fighting against neighboring tribes in the Beaver Wars, pushing them west and encroaching on his territory. Finally, in 1671 the colonial leaders of the Plymouth Colony forced major concessions from him. He surrendered much of his tribe's armament and ammunition, and agreed that they were subject to English law. The encroachment continued until hostilities broke out in 1675. Metacom led the opponents of the English, with the goal of stopping Puritan expansion.

King Philip's War

Main article: King Philip's War

Metacomet used tribal alliances to coordinate Native American efforts to push European colonists out of New England. Many of the native tribes in the region wanted to push out the colonists following conflicts over land use, diminished game as a consequence of expanding European settlement, and other tensions.

As the colonists brought their growing numbers to bear, King Philip and some of his followers took refuge in the great Assowamset Swamp in southern Massachusetts. He held out for a time, with his family and remaining followers.

Hunted by a group of rangers led by Captain Benjamin Church, he was fatally shot by a praying Indian named John Alderman, on August 12, 1676, in the Miery Swamp near Mount Hope in Bristol, Rhode Island. After his death, his wife and nine-year-old son were captured and sold as slaves in Bermuda. Philip's head was mounted on a pike at the entrance to Fort Plymouth, where it remained for more than two decades. His body was cut into quarters and hung in trees. Alderman was given Metacomet's right hand as a reward.

Representations

Legacy


Numerous places are named after Metacomet:

See also

  • List of early settlers of Rhode Island

Footnotes

References

External links

  • The Royal Gazette article: The struggle to honour Bermuda’s Native American heritage.
  • Rootsweb: New England Indians. Bermuda Reconnection Festival 2002 Photo Album.
  • Rootsweb: Edward Randolph on the Causes of the King Philip's War (1685).
  • Rootsweb: St. David's (Bermuda) Indian Committee.
  • Pokanoket/Wampanoag Constitution. With History.
  • US History.com: King Philip's War, 1675–76.
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  • King Philip's Biography
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