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Metacom And His Impact On The State Of Rhode Island

1574 words - 6 pages

Metacom had many names. He was Metacom to some, Metacomet to others, Sachem by the people of his tribe, and King Phillip by the white colonists of the Colonial Era in American history. He was the leader of the Wampanoag tribe that resided in the Southeastern Massachusetts from 1662 to 1675. Metacom is most widely known for being the initiator of King Phillip's war, a conflict between the Indians of the region and the white colonists in the New England region. Metacom's actions and the resulting King Phillip's war shaped the relationship between white colonists and Native Americans for the next three hundred and fifty years.Metacom was born in 1638 as a member of the Wampanoag tribe of Massachusetts. Metacom's father, Massasoit, was the Sachem, or leader, of the Wampanoag time during the early negotiations of peace with European settlers. During Massasoit's reign both sides experienced a state of piece, briefly broken up by the Pequot War of 1636 to 1637 . After Massasoit's death in 1661, Metacom's older brother Wamsutta, known as Alexander by the English, stepped into the role of Sachem. Wamsutta, like his father, directed his actions towards maintaining peace between the Wampanoag tribe and the White Colonists in the Southeastern New England region. In 1662, Wamsutta died; Metacom believed he was poisoned by Plymouth colonists but did not retaliate . Metacom became the new Sachem of the tribe. Metacom had the difficult task of keeping up peaceful relations with the neighboring colonists as well as taking action in the best interest of his tribe.The Wampanoag tribe was built of many villages and towns, which were nestled between the Plymouth Colony, Rhode Island, and the Massachusetts Bay Colony . In order to maintain his political power, Metacom sold tracts of land to various colonists in the region. Metacom and the Wampanoag tribe, like many other Native Americans of that time period, did not have possessions or the ideology of ownership. They sold land to satisfy the neighboring colonists. Colonists constantly argued over land borders and ownership of Native American land throughout the Wampanoag tribe territory. The tribe was also angered by colonial attempts to influence their politics .In 1671 Metacom was brought into Massachusetts under the accusation of planning an uprising. Metacom gave in to the much more powerful Europeans who forced his tribe to disarm and forced him to pay a fine. Over the next several years, Metacom attempted to forge a military alliance against the white colonists. Metacom was able to unite the Nipmuck, Sakonnet, and Pocasset tribes in an uprising against white colonists in the region. The Narragansetts, major enemies of the Wampanoag tribe, later joined the fight against the colonists because the colonists were attacking Narragansett villages. John Sassamon, a Christian Indian who served as an informer, who told the English of Metacomet's plan for an uprising and was found murdered, was the spark of King Phillip's...

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