kids encyclopedia robot

King Philip's War facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
King Philip's War
Part of the American Indian Wars
Indians Attacking a Garrison House.jpg
An artist's rendition of Indians attacking a garrison house
Date June 20, 1675 – April 12, 1678
Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine
Result Colonial victory
New England pine flag.svg New England Confederation
Commanders and leaders
c. 3,400 c. 3,500
Casualties and losses
c. 3,000 c. 1,000

King Philip's War (sometimes called the First Indian War, Metacom's War, Metacomet's War, Pometacomet's Rebellion, or Metacom's Rebellion) was an armed conflict in 1675–78 between Indian inhabitants of New England and New England colonists and their Indian allies. The war is named for Metacomet, the Wampanoag chief who adopted the name Philip because of the friendly relations between his father Massasoit and the Mayflower Pilgrims. The war continued in the most northern reaches of New England until the signing of the Treaty of Casco Bay in April 1678.


Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor, by William Halsall
Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor
Massasoit statue plymouth 2007
Massasoit statue overlooking the site of Plymouth Rock

When the Puritans left England, they came to live in America near the Indians. The Pilgrims who arrived on the Mayflower and founded Plymouth Plantation worked hard to become friends with the Indians around Cape Cod. They traveled long distances to make peace with Massasoit, chief of the Wampanoag tribe.

Massasoit had maintained a long-standing alliance with the colonists. Massasoit's son Metacomet (c. 1638–1676) became tribal chief in 1662. His older brother, who became chief after Massasoit, died shortly after his father died. As more Puritans moved to America, the need for land increased. This caused the Puritans to take over Indian land. Metacomet, or "King Philip" as he was called in English, was angry that the Pilgrims were taking Indian lands and did not keep the peace between the Wampanoags and the colonists as his father had.

By 1675, the early efforts at friendship failed. The colonists insisted that the peace agreement in 1671 should include the Indians giving up their guns. Historically, people who are forced to give up their guns are usually tyrannically ruled by the ones who took their guns (Ottoman Empire - 1911; Soviet Union - 1929; China - 1935; Germany - 1938; Cambodia - 1956; Guatemala - 1964; Uganda - 1970).

The war

Philip King of Mount Hope by Paul Revere
King Philip (Metacomet) of Mount Hope by Paul Revere

Governors Josiah Winslow, John Leverett, and John Winthrop, Jr. sent militia to burn villages throughout Rhode Island territory, ending with the attack on the Narragansetts' main fort called the Great Swamp Fight. An estimated 150 Narragansetts were killed, including women and children, and the Indian coalition was then taken over by Narragansett sachem Canonchet. The Narragansetts had remained neutral; however, several individual Narragansetts helped the Indian raiding parties, so the colonial militia thought they had violated the peace treaties and attacked them as well.

King Philip brought together a force of Indian raiding parties and attacked the Puritans. They pushed back the colonial frontier in Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, and Rhode Island colonies, burning towns as they went, including Providence in March 1676.

Colonial militia and Indian raiding parties fought over Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Maine. By the end of the war, the Wampanoags and their Narragansett allies were almost completely destroyed. Metacom fled to Mount Hope where the militia finally killed him. About 3,000 other Indians died during King Philip's War. 500 Indians were also taken prisoner and made slaves.

Historical context

King Philip's War is considered by many to be the deadliest war in the history of American colonization. It was the first time the colonists felt that they had an American identity, separate from England. They had won a war without the help of Britain's government or military.

King Philip's War joined a list of uprisings and conflicts between various Indian tribes and the French, Dutch, and English colonial settlements of Canada, New York, and New England.

Throughout the Northeast, many Indians died because of epidemics of smallpox, spotted fever, typhoid, and measles. Plymouth Colony was founded in 1620 with help from local Indians, especially Squanto and Massasoit.

More colonies were founded and the colonists continued to spread throughout the territories of the several Algonquian-speaking tribes in the region.

Interesting facts about King Philip's War

  • King Philip's older brother died as a captive in Plymouth Colony, making Philip chief at age 24.
  • King Philip (Metacomet) was named after the Ancient Greek King Philip of Macedonia.
  • The Nipmuck, Podunk, Narragansett, and Nashaway tribes sided with the King Philip and the Wampanoag.
  • The Mohegan and Pequot tribes sided with the colonists.
  • The war began when a band of Wampanoags attacked and destroyed the village of Swansea, where three Wampanoags had been hung for murder.
  • One in 10 soldiers on both sides was killed.
  • After Metacomet (King Philip) was killed, his body was cut into pieces and hung on four trees. The man who killed him kept his head and one hand. He charged people money to see them.

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Guerra del rey Felipe para niños

kids search engine
King Philip's War Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.