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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Historical Events & Eras > American Age of Discovery, Colonization, Revolution, & Expansion > American Colonial Era

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American Colonial Era 1660-1763 The growth of North American colonies, often with a change in native & national control.

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  #1  
Old 29 Sep 04, 14:27
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Post The Pequot War 1636-7

By the 1620s the Pequots, inhabiting the Connecticut River Valley, were the dominant native power in the fur and wampum trade. The confederation had conquered eastern Long Island and the Connecticut River. This placed them in the doubly advantageous position to control both the production and trade of wampum on the coast, and the fur trade on the Connecticut. Deep commercial and political rivalries divided the Algonquian tribal groups, as a result of the increased fur trade. The Pequots were especially disliked by their neighboring tribes, mainly the Narragansetts whom were their main rival, because of their monopoly in the fur trade of the Connecticut River Valley. The Connecticut River was one of the best beaver producing regions in New England, and between 1614-32 the Dutch enjoyed a monopoly of the fur trade there with the Pequots as their main trading partners.

By the 1630s the English were actively engaged in trading in Long Island Sound to the dismay of Dutch officials. Along the Connecticut river there was an alliance of Native groups opposed to Pequot control and expansion in the area. In 1631, Wahginnicut the sachem of this band of “River Indians”, traveled to Boston in order to form an alliance with the English, and invite them to trade with his people on the Connecticut River. The Boston officials declined the offer, but the English at Plymouth were more interested. Plymouth colony sent Edward Winslow to explore the Connecticut River Valley, and then began trade, when William Holmes sailed to the Connecticut.

The English soon began to intrude upon the Dutch monopoly on the Connecticut, and in 1635 John Oldham founded Wethersfield. Soon there was a migration from Massachusetts Bay, as the English established Hartford and Windsor as fur trading posts in the Connecticut River Valley. These English squatters soon came to drain the area of it’s resources, and undermine Pequot control, by trading with the smaller alliance of Native groups in the area. In 1633 the Pequots had killed several Narragansetts on their way to trade with the Dutch at trading post called the House of Good Hope. As a result, the Dutch captured the Pequot sachem Tatobem, and after collecting a ransom in wampum, murdered him. During the winter of 1633-4, John Stone, an Englishman, along with seven others were killed by Pequots while ascending the Connecticut River. The Pequots had mistaken Stone and his companions for Dutchmen, and had killed them in retaliation for their sachem’s murder. After discovering their mistake, the Pequots sent a party to Massachusetts Bay in 1634 to seek friendship and an alliance with the English, as they could no longer trade with the Dutch. To compensate for Stone’s death, they offered the English wampum and furs, and all the rights to the Connecticut River. However, the English also wanted Stone’s killers, but the Pequots claimed they were already dead. Negotiations broke down, and the Pequots were left to try to assert control over the Connecticut River Valley on their own.

The culmination of these conflicts and misunderstandings, was the bloody Pequot War of 1636-7. At the English massacre of the Pequots at Fort Mystic in May 1637, the Pequot peoples were scattered and systematically hunted down and killed. By the end of the war, the Pequot tribe, one of the two most powerful Native confederations in southern New England, was completely destroyed. After the Pequots were destroyed, English emigration increased to the Connecticut River Valley, as there was no longer any Native resistance to worry about.

The quick defeat of the Pequots, and swift conclusion of the war, intimidated many of the Native groups in southern New England. Many tribes, including the Massachusett, Nipmucks, Agawam and Nashua soon submitted to the Massachusetts Bay government. And soon afterward, the English began to attempt to Christianize many of the Algonquians. As many as 20% of New England Natives may have accepted Christianity by the last quarter of the 17th century. With uncontested English dominance over the fur trade in the Connecticut River Valley after the Pequot War, trade entered what some have called the “golden age” of the fur trade in New England.
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  #2  
Old 29 Sep 04, 18:39
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Goon,

As always great info. I had heard a little about this war on a PBS series that tried to recreate the life of these early English settlers......
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Old 29 Sep 04, 20:05
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The Battle of Fort Mystic
26 May 1637

Mystic, or Missituk, was the site of the major battle of the War. Under the leadership of Captain John Mason from Connecticut and Captain John Underhill from Massachusetts Bay Colony, English troops, with the help of Mohegan and Narragansett allies, burned the village and killed the estimated 400-700 Pequots inside. Mason's order to his soldiers and Narragansett allies was "Let us burn them." The settlement, comprised mostly of women and cildren, was desimated. Two Englishmen were killed, with 20-40 wounded. An estimated thirty or forty Pequots escaped. The ones who were captured were sold into slavery in Boston, meeting their fates in the plantations of the Bermuda.

The battle turned the tide against the Pequots and broke the tribe's resistance. Many Pequots in other villages escaped and hid among other tribes, but most of them were eventually killed or captured and given as slaves to tribes friendly to the English. The English, supported by Uncas' Mohegans, pursued the remaining Pequot resistors until all were either killed or captured and enslaved. After the War, the colonists enslaved survivors and outlawed the name "Pequot."


This contemporary engraving of the Pequot war shows the dawn raid on the Indian fort at Mystic, Connecticut, on May 26, 1637. The text in the upper left hand corner of the engraving reads: "The figure of the Indians fort or Palizado in New England And the maner of the destroying It by Captayne Underhill And Captayne Mason." A contemporary account reads: "Many were burnt in the fort, both men, women, and children. Others forced out,...twenty and thirty at a time, which our soldiers received and entertained with the point of the sword. Down fell men, women, and children; those that scaped us fell into the hands of the Indians that were in the rear of us."
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Old 18 Oct 04, 15:12
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This is a series of events that I had no previous knowledge of. I do think that it displayed the sort of general dishonesty that Europeans showed towards the native peoples. I know that attempts at conversion to Christianity were commonplace - in fact, the was among the primary objectives of many voyages to and colonization of the New World. It is, to me, surprising that the native peoples were not more militant - certainly they had the numbers and, though outgunned, the firearm skills of general settlers was probably suspect. The native peoples should surely have been able to inflict many crushing defeats on the settlers and trading companies.
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Old 18 Oct 04, 18:00
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hogdriver
It is, to me, surprising that the native peoples were not more militant - certainly they had the numbers and, though outgunned, the firearm skills of general settlers was probably suspect. The native peoples should surely have been able to inflict many crushing defeats on the settlers and trading companies.
Hogdriver, check out this thread about King Philip's War 1675-6. Early Indian/European relations in New England were dominated by commerce and were quite peaceful, as opposed to some of the southern colonies. By the 1660s the New England fur trade was virtually over and relations fell apart from there. In the summer of 1675, the New England Indians did indeed "inflict many crushing defeats on the settlers." Most of the English towns and villages were in ashes and the colonists had their backs against the sea. Ironically, if not for the Mohawks, inflicting a disaterous defeat on Philip and his allies in New York, Philip may have driven the English out of New England.
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Old 26 Dec 08, 22:46
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>> the help of Mohegan and Narragansett allies, <<

That is the key. The use of one tribe against the other. It was the same in Mexico and Peru. No, a handful of Conquistadores did not alone conquer the Incas.

>> The settlement, comprised mostly of women and cildren, <<

Because most of the warriors were off expecting an attack, but the attack came from an unexpected direction.

As the bodies burned, "It was a sweet sacrifice and we gave thanks to the Lord". John Winthrop.

Too bad King Philip lost.
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Old 25 May 09, 22:45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kirasjeri View Post
>> the help of Mohegan and Narragansett allies, <<

That is the key. The use of one tribe against the other. It was the same in Mexico and Peru. No, a handful of Conquistadores did not alone conquer the Incas.
Exactly. That is what Europeans in the south and the north did. They made promises to certain tribes so they would ally with the europeans against the larger tribes. Once the larger tribes were beaten and decimated or voluntarily re-located, the Europeans would often go back on their promises, either sooner or later.
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Old 24 Jul 09, 20:47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hogdriver View Post
This is a series of events that I had no previous knowledge of. I do think that it displayed the sort of general dishonesty that Europeans showed towards the native peoples. I know that attempts at conversion to Christianity were commonplace - in fact, the was among the primary objectives of many voyages to and colonization of the New World. It is, to me, surprising that the native peoples were not more militant - certainly they had the numbers and, though outgunned, the firearm skills of general settlers was probably suspect. The native peoples should surely have been able to inflict many crushing defeats on the settlers and trading companies.
When New England was first settled by the Englishmen many of the Native Peoples had been killed in a great die-off a few years before the settlers came. Apparently the early English coasting explorers carried some plague with them, likely small pox, and the tribes just died in horrific numbers. When the Pilgrims came to Plymouth, they found "Old Fields" and old abandoned villages. It took some time for the Native Peoples to gain strength in numbers again after such a catastrophe.

The pilgrims came in 1620s and King Phillip's War happened in 1670s--50 years later. So there were two generation's worth of time to regain some numbers of fighting men.

The Pilgrims of Plymouth were always a kinder and gentler people than the Puritans of Massachusetts Bay, and also they had to try to pay off their debts to their financers in England. One way to do that was through trade. The Puritans brought their own money and way of life with them. They did not have to be so nice in their dealings with the Indians. (Sad to say, but I am descended from from both groups and I find that I don't care too much for the Puritans, and I do find the Pilgrims a more admirable group.)
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Old 24 Jul 09, 21:38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jannie View Post
When New England was first settled by the Englishmen many of the Native Peoples had been killed in a great die-off a few years before the settlers came. Apparently the early English coasting explorers carried some plague with them, likely small pox, and the tribes just died in horrific numbers. When the Pilgrims came to Plymouth, they found "Old Fields" and old abandoned villages. It took some time for the Native Peoples to gain strength in numbers again after such a catastrophe.

The pilgrims came in 1620s and King Phillip's War happened in 1670s--50 years later. So there were two generation's worth of time to regain some numbers of fighting men.

The Pilgrims of Plymouth were always a kinder and gentler people than the Puritans of Massachusetts Bay, and also they had to try to pay off their debts to their financers in England. One way to do that was through trade. The Puritans brought their own money and way of life with them. They did not have to be so nice in their dealings with the Indians. (Sad to say, but I am descended from from both groups and I find that I don't care too much for the Puritans, and I do find the Pilgrims a more admirable group.)
One of the big die-offs occurred around 1615 as I recall as Dutch traders and Portugese fisherman were interacting with the indians off Cape Cod. Various diseases like small pox were likely transmitted by them as well as by later Englishmen. This is a very interesting area of history. A great read is "Mayflower" by Philbrick. If you have not already read it, do so. It does paint Benj. Church as a hero, the same man whose grandson by the same name proved a traitor to the cause of the Revolution.
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