King Philip's War was the most devastating conflict between Europeans and Native Americans in the 1600s. In this incisive account, award-winning author Daniel R. Mandell puts the war into its rich historical context.
The war erupted in July 1675, after years of growing tension between Plymouth and the Wampanoag sachem Metacom, also known as Philip. Metacom's warriors attacked nearby Swansea, and within months the bloody conflict spread west and erupted in Maine. Native forces ambushed militia detachments and burned towns, driving the colonists back toward Boston. But by late spring 1676, the tide had turned: the colonists fought more effectively and enlisted Native allies while from the west the feared Mohawks attacked Metacom's forces. Thousands of Natives starved, fled the region, surrendered (often to be executed or sold into slavery), or, like Metacom, were hunted down and killed.
Mandell explores how decades of colonial expansion and encroachments on Indian sovereignty caused the war and how Metacom sought to enlist the aid of other tribes against the colonists even as Plymouth pressured the Wampanoags to join them. He narrates the colonists' many defeats and growing desperation; the severe shortages the Indians faced during the brutal winter; the collapse of Native unity; and the final hunt for Metacom. In the process, Mandell reveals the complex and shifting relationships among the Native tribes and colonists and explains why the war effectively ended sovereignty for Indians in New England. This fast-paced history incorporates the most recent scholarship on the region and features nine new maps and a bibliographic essay about Native-Anglo relations.
Daniel R. Mandell is a professor at Truman State University. He is the author of the Lawrence W. Levine Award-winning book Race, Tribe, History: Native Americans in Southern New England, 1780-1880, also published by Johns Hopkins.