Metacomet

From Academic Kids

Metacomet (died August 12, 1676), also known as King Philip or Metacom, was a war chief or sachem of the Wampanoag Indians and their leader in King Philip's War. Metacomet was the second son of Massasoit, the chief who had befriended the Pilgrims in 1621. He became chief in 1662 when his brother Wamsutta (or King Alexander) died.

At first he sought to live with the colonists. As a sachem, he took the lead in much of his tribes trade with the colonies. He adopted the European name of Philip, and bought his clothes in Boston. But the colonies continued to expand. To the west, the Iroquois Confederation continued expanding, pushing hostile tribes east, thereby encroaching on his territory.

Finally, in 1671 the colonial leaders of the Plymouth Colony forced major concessions from him. He surrendered much of his tribe's armament and ammunition, and agreed that they were subject to English law. The encroachment continued until actual hostilities broke out in 1675. Metacomet hurried to catch up with his warriors, to lead them in the uprising that bore his name, King Philip's War.

When the war eventually turned against him, he took refuge in the great Assowamset Swamp in southern Rhode Island. Here he held out for a time, with his family and remaining followers. Hunted by a group of rangers lead by Captain Benjamin Church, he was fatally shot by Praying Indian John Alderman, on August 12, 1676 on Mt. Hope in Bristol, Rhode Island. After his death, his wife and eight year old son were captured and sold as slaves in the Caribbean.

A ship in the United States Navy was named Metacomet in his honor.

The 19th century play Metamora was an adaptation of his life story.

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