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Timeline / Colonizers and Resistance / AD 1675: Metacomet assassinated; King Philip’s War begins

AD 1675: Metacomet assassinated; King Philip’s War begins

In the Northeast, colonists are aggressively encroaching on Wampanoag land and trying to establish settlements. Metacomet (also known as King Philip of Wampanoag) works with neighboring Wampanoags, Narragansetts, Nipmucks, Mohegans, and Podunks and leads a military action against the English. They respond violently, capturing and assassinating him. King Philip’s War begins.

After assassinating Metacomet, the colonists mutilate his body, mount his skull on a pole, and send his hands to Boston for display. Through contacts among mercenaries in the English shipping fleet, the colonists sell 500 Wampanoags into slavery. Among the enslaved are Metacomet’s widow and son. Many are sent to the West Indies, where they die.

Land and Water, Native Rights

Depiction of Metacomet, also known as King Philip of Wampanoag, by American silversmith and engraver Paul Revere. From The Entertaining History of King Philip’s War, 1772, by Benjamin Church. Church was a military officer during the colonial era and largely responsible for the assassination of Metacomet.

Courtesy Granger Collection, New York