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Unread 07-22-2008, 03:45 PM
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Default Early Indian War: King Philip's War in 1675

From the Shrapnel Games July 2008 Newsletter:

"Recently the United States celebrated its independence with the Fourth of July holiday. The American War of Independence is one of many well known conflicts on the North American continent, which include other
notable wars: the Civil War and the War of 1812. There have also been many lesser known conflicts that have spilled blood upon the New World. One such bloody affair was King Philip's War in 1675.

While remembered as a war it was actually essentially a series of savage attacks between the Native Indian population and the early European settlers fought in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The conflict roots dated back to the late 1650s. For many years the natives and the settlers lived in an uneasy peace, protected mostly by the fact both groups leaders had a working relationship. But men die, and with them the brotherhood that they managed to form. Between 1657 and 1660 both sides lost their leaders, and with each successive new leader the ties of cohabitation began to strain.

Two issues primarily laid the groundwork for the conflict to erupt: land and religion. The colonists needed land and resources. Unfortunately the land and resources available were already settled by the native tribes. Laws were enacted to help protect the native lands but were hardly enforceable.

Religion played a part in the fact that the colonists actively pursued
converting the natives to Christianity, and indeed had managed to convert several hundred. Many more did not want to convert, and felt insulted by the colonists desire to spread their gospel.

In 1662 the local Indian tribe (the Wampanoag) had their leader, Wamsutta taken into custody by the Plymouth Court. In their custody he grew ill and died, straining the already fragile relationships between the Indians and the colonists. Wamsutta's brother, called Metacom in his native tongue and known as Philip to the settlers, then took the mantle of leadership of the Wampanoag tribe. It was under his rule that war eventually broke out, hence the name the conflict became known in history as.

An uneasy peace continued until 1675, when open fighting broke out. The Wampanoags, along with several other tribes, began a murderous rampage against colony settlements. Not all Native Americans sided with them, and many natives-especially those that had converted-fought on the side of the settlers.

The war was an especially bloody one. Unlike the wars that were fought back in the Old World, this was a war of complete annihilation. Both sides saw their back against the wall. For the Indians, they had to drive the colonists off their land and the only way to ensure that was to kill every man, woman, and child, burn their towns down, and take their stores and goods. For the colonists there was no turning back. The Indians had to be eradicated unless the settlers intended to scurry back across the Atlantic. There were no traditional battle lines, no set piece battles, it was a conflict of hit and run raids and guerrilla skirmishes.

Militarily the Native Americans had an advantage in the fact that most of them were equipped with flintlocks, while the settlers often had only matchlocks and pikes. In fact, it was King Philip's War that "modernized" the continental forces, as flintlocks became a requirement as the matchlock was abandoned, something that did not happen in Europe until almost twenty-five years later.

The war ended a year after it began, thanks to Philip's death during combat. Interestingly he was felled by an Indian allied with the settlers. The toll of the war was awful, with almost a third of the settlers wiped out and an untold number of Indians. From the perspective of the number of deaths compared to the number of inhabitants, King Philip's War was the worst war on North American soil to ever be fought.

The aftermath saw a change in the military structure of the colonies, with the transition to the flintlock and the need for strongly armed and able militias. For the natives the biggest change was the acceptance that the colonists were there to stay and for the survival of the native population they would have to adapt to the newcomers."
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Unread 07-22-2008, 04:58 PM
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How was it that the natives had flintlocks and the colonists didn't? That seems odd.
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Unread 07-22-2008, 05:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KG_Soldier View Post
How was it that the natives had flintlocks and the colonists didn't? That seems odd.

The natives went to Gander Mountian........
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