King Philip's War

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.
Save to active project

King Philip's War

King Philip's War, 1675–76, the most devastating war between the colonists and the Native Americans in New England. The war is named for King Philip, the son of Massasoit and chief of the Wampanoag. His Wampanoag name was Metacom, Metacomet, or Pometacom. Upon the death (1662) of his brother, Alexander (Wamsutta), whom the Native Americans suspected the English of murdering, Philip became sachem and maintained peace with the colonists for a number of years. Hostility eventually developed over the steady succession of land sales forced on the Native Americans by their growing dependence on English goods. Suspicious of Philip, the English colonists in 1671 questioned and fined him and demanded that the Wampanoag surrender their arms, which they did. In 1675 a Christian Native American who had been acting as an informer to the English was murdered, probably at Philip's instigation. Three Wampanoags were tried for the murder and executed. Incensed by this act, the Native Americans in June, 1675, made a sudden raid on the border settlement of Swansea. Other raids followed; towns were burned and many whites—men, women, and children—were slain. Unable to draw the Native Americans into a major battle, the colonists resorted to similar methods of warfare in retaliation and antagonized other tribes. The Wampanoag were joined by the Nipmuck and by the Narragansett (after the latter were attacked by the colonists), and soon all the New England colonies were involved in the war. Philip's cause began to decline after he made a long journey west in an unsuccessful attempt to secure aid from the Mohawk. In 1676 the Narragansett were completely defeated and their chief, Canonchet, was killed in April of that year; the Wampanoag and Nipmuck were gradually subdued. Philip's wife and son were captured, and he was killed (Aug., 1676) by a Native American in the service of Capt. Benjamin Church after his hiding place at Mt. Hope (Bristol, R.I.) was betrayed. His body was drawn and quartered and his head exposed on a pole in Plymouth. The war, which was extremely costly to the colonists in people and money, resulted in the virtual extermination of tribal Native American life in S New England and the disappearance of the fur trade. The New England Confederation then had the way completely clear for white settlement.

See G. M. Bodge, Soldiers in King Philip's War (1891, 3d ed. 1906, repr. 1967); G. W. Ellis and J. E. Morris, King Philip's War (1906); J. T. Adams, The Founding of New England (1921, repr. 1963); D. E. Leach, Flintlock and Tomahawk (1958, repr. 1966); R. Bourne, The Red King's Rebellion (1990); J. Lepore, The Name of War (1998); D. R. Mandell, King Philip's War (2010).

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

King Philip's War
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?