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Colonial America

King Philip's War

King Philip's War is sometimes called the First Indian War. It took place between 1675 and 1678.

Who fought in King Philip's War?

King Philip's war was fought between the English colonists of New England and a group of Native American tribes. The main leader of the Native Americans was Metacomet, chief of the Wampanoag peoples. His English nickname was "King Philip." Other tribes on the side of the Native Americans included the Nipmuck, Podunk, Narragansett, and Nashaway peoples. Two Native American tribes, the Mohegan and the Pequot, fought on the side of the colonists.

Where was it fought?

The war was fought throughout the Northeast including Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Maine.

Battle of Bloody Brook by Unknown
Leading up to the War

For the first 50 years after the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth in 1620, the English colonists had a fairly peaceful relationship with the local Native Americans in New England. Without the help of the Wampanoag people, the Pilgrims would have never survived the first winter.

As the colonies began to expand into Indian territory, the local tribes became more concerned. Promises made by the colonists were broken as more and more people arrived from England. When the chief of the Wampanoag died while in captivity in Plymouth Colony, his brother Metacomet (King Philip) became determined to drive the colonists out of New England.

Major Battles and Events

The first major event of the war was a trial in Plymouth Colony that resulted in the execution of three Wampanoag men. Metacomet had already been preparing for war, but it was this trial that caused him to first attack. He attacked the city of Swansea, burning the town to the ground and killing many of the settlers. The war had begun.

Over the course of the next year, both sides would mount attacks against each other. The colonists would destroy an Indian village and then the Indians would respond by burning down a colonial settlement. Around twelve colonial towns were completely destroyed during the fighting.

One particularly bloody battle is called the Great Swamp Fight which took place in Rhode Island. A group of colonial militia attacked the home fort of the Narragansett tribe. They destroyed the fort and killed around 300 Native Americans.

Benjamin Church
by Unknown
End of the War and Results

Eventually, the greater numbers and resources of the colonists allowed them to take control of the war. Chief Metacomet tried to hide in the swamps in Rhode Island, but he was hunted down by a group of colonial militia led by Captain Benjamin Church. He was killed and then beheaded. The colonists displayed his head at Plymouth colony for the next 25 years as a warning to other Native Americans.


The war was devastating for both sides. Around 600 English colonists were killed and twelve towns completely destroyed with many more towns suffering damages. The Native Americans had it even worse. Around 3,000 Native Americans were killed and many more were captured and shipped off to slavery. The few Native Americans left were eventually forced off their lands by the expanding colonists.

Interesting Facts about King Philip's War
Activities To learn more about Colonial America:

Colonies and Places
Lost Colony of Roanoke
Jamestown Settlement
Plymouth Colony and the Pilgrims
The Thirteen Colonies

Daily Life
Clothing - Men's
Clothing - Women's
Daily Life in the City
Daily Life on the Farm
Food and Cooking
Homes and Dwellings
Jobs and Occupations
Places in a Colonial Town
Women's Roles
William Bradford
Henry Hudson
James Oglethorpe
William Penn
John Smith
Roger Williams

French and Indian War
King Philip's War
Mayflower Voyage
Salem Witch Trials

Timeline of Colonial America
Glossary and Terms of Colonial America

Works Cited

History >> Colonial America

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