Great Native American Chiefs

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Metacomet (aka King Philip)

Chief: Metacomet (aka King Philip)

Born: c.1638 in Massachusetts

Died: August 12, 1676 in the Miery Swamp near Mount Hope in Bristol, Rhode Island

Nationality: Wampanoag

Metacomet was a Wampanoag whose tribe sought to live in harmony with the colonists at first. He became sachem (chief) in 1662, after the deaths of his father and older brother. As a leader he took the lead in his tribe’s trade with the colonists. In time, he took the name King Philip to honor the relations between the colonists and his father and even purchased European style apparel in Boston. As sachem for several years, Metacomet witnessed increased contact and encroachment by white settlers. Much of this contact resulted in humiliations of his people. He is known for King Philip’s War (1675-1678.)

The expansion of the colonies pushed the Native American tribes further west at the same time, the Iroquois Confederation was fighting neighboring tribes in the Beaver Wars encroaching into his territory. Major concessions were forced upon Metacomet’s tribe in 1671 by the colonial leaders of the Plymouth Colony.  Open hostilities broke out in 1675, leading to King Philip’s War. The ultimate goal of the Native Americans was to stop Puritan expansion. The conflict lasted until 1678.  Metacomet was assassinated on August 12, 1676 by an Native American named John Alderman. Afterwards, his wife and son were sold to Bermuda as slaves.

Resources about Metacomet (King Philip):

Metacomet. (n.d.) In Wikipedia. Retrieved March 1, 2016 from Wikipedia.

Stratton, Billy J. Buried in Shades of Night: contested voices, Indian captivity, and the Legacy of King Philip’s War. Tucson, The University of Arizona Press, 2013.

Warren, Jason W. Connecticut Unscathed: Victory in the great Narragansett War, 1675-1676. Norman, University of Oklahoma Press, 2014.