King Philip's War - Aftermath


The war in the south largely ended with Metacom's death. Over 600 colonists and 3,000 Native Americans had died, including several hundred native captives who were tried and executed; others were enslaved and sold in Bermuda. The majority of the fatalities for both Native Americans and the New England colonials resulted from disease, which was typical of all wars in this era. Native Americans enslaved and transported to Bermuda included Metacom's son (and, according to Bermudian tradition, his wife). Numerous Bermudians today claim ancestry from the Native American exiles. Members of the sachem's extended family were placed for safekeeping among colonists in Rhode Island and eastern Connecticut. Other survivors joined western and northern tribes and refugee communities as captives or tribal members. On occasion, some of the Indian refugees returned to southern New England. The Narragansett, Wampanoag, Podunk, Nipmuck, and several smaller bands were virtually eliminated as organized bands, while even the Mohegan were greatly weakened.

Sir Edmund Andros, appointed by James II as governor of New York, negotiated a treaty with some of the northern Indian bands in Maine on April 12, 1678, as he tried to establish his New York-based royal power structure in Maine's fishing industry. Andros was arrested and sent back to England at the start of the Glorious Revolution in 1689. In this revolution, James II (1633–1701, reigning 1685-1688), a Catholic and younger brother to Charles II, and a strong believer in the Divine right of kings, was forced to flee to France in 1688 by the Protestant Parliamentarian forces. James II's appointments to the various colonial governors were replaced.

For a time, King Philip's War seriously damaged the mostly second- and third-generation English colonists' prospects in New England. But with their successful governments and towns, low death rate, and their extraordinary population growth rate of about 3% a year (doubling every 25 years), they repaired all the damage, replaced their losses, rebuilt the destroyed towns, and continued to establish new towns within a few years.

The colonists' successful defense of New England with their own resources brought them to the attention of the British royal government. Before King Philip's War, the colonies had been generally ignored, considered uninteresting and poor English outposts. The English authorities soon tried to exploit the colonies and their resources for the authorities' own gain—beginning with the revocation of the charter of Massachusetts Bay in 1684 (enforced 1686). At the same time, an Anglican church was established in Boston in 1686, ending the Puritan monopoly on religion in Massachusetts. The legend of Connecticut's Charter Oak stems from the belief that a cavity within the tree was used in late 1687 as a hiding place for the colony's charter as Andros tried unsuccessfully to revoke its charter and take over the militia. In 1690, Plymouth's charter was not renewed; its residents were forced to join the Massachusetts government. The equally small colony of Rhode Island, with its largely Puritan dissident settlers, maintained its charter—mainly as a counterweight and irritant to Massachusetts. The Massachusetts General Court (the main elected legislative and judicial body in Massachusetts) was brought under nominal British government control, but all members except the Royal Governor and a few of his deputies continued to be elected in the various towns, as was their practice over the prior 40 years. The "top" of the government was nominally under British government control, but the vast majority in the government continued on as before with elected local and representative legislative and judicial bodies. Only land-owning males could vote for most officials, but their suffrage was both wider and more universal than in nearly all other countries of this era.

Nearly all layers of government and church life (except in Rhode Island) remained "Puritan", and only a few of the so-called "upper crust" joined the British government-sponsored Anglican church. Most New Englanders continued to live in self-governing and mostly self-sufficient towns, and attended the "Puritan" Congregational or dissident churches that they had already set up by 1690. As the population increased, new towns, complete with their own churches, militias, etc. were nearly all established by the sons and daughters of the original settlers; they were in nearly all cases modeled after the original settlements. Few people lived outside of an established town. The many trials and tribulations between the British crown and British Parliament for the next 100 years made self-government not only desirable but relatively easy to continue in New England. The squabbles that the New Englanders had with the British government would eventually lead to Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill by 1775, a century and four generations later. When the British were forced to evacuate Boston in 1776, only a few thousand of the more than 700,000 New Englanders of the time went with them.

King Philip's War joined the Powhatan wars of 1610–14, 1622–32 and 1644–46 in Virginia, the Pequot War of 1637 in Connecticut, the Dutch-Indian war of 1643 along the Hudson River and the Iroquois Beaver Wars of 1650 in a list of ongoing uprisings and conflicts between various Native American tribes and the French, Dutch, and English colonial settlements of Canada, New York, and New England.

The military defeat of the Native Americans meant that most of Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island land was nearly completely open to colonial settlement. Localized conflict continued for decades in Maine, New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts. In response to King Philip's War, which stemmed from New England expansion onto native land, the five Indian tribes in the region of Acadia created the Wabanaki Confederacy to form a political and military alliance with New France to stop the New England expansion. During the next 74 years, six colonial wars between New France and New England, along with their respective native allies, took place, starting with King William's War in 1689. (See the French and Indian Wars, Father Rale's War and Father Le Loutre's War.) The conflict was over the border between New England and Acadia, which New France defined as the Kennebec River in southern Maine. In response to King Philip's War and King William's War (1689–97), many colonists from northeastern Maine and Massachusetts temporarily relocated to larger towns in Massachusetts and New Hampshire to avoid Wabanaki Indian raids.

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