Not all Wampanog chiefs were friendly to the whites.
In 1675 Metacomet launched an attack against the
Puritans over land disputes. Metacomet, also known
as King Phillip, attacked to assert his claim on the land
the whites were attempting to occupy. What else did
Metacomet do to help America?
Metacomet was a Wampanoag chief in the mid 1600s. In 1675 he launched an attack on
the Puritans of Massachusetts Bay Colony over land claims.
The size of the Massachusetts Bay colony grew in the 1640s and 1650s. To accommodate
the growing population, the colonists moved further west into Wampanoag territory to
find resources. Because the Europeans were moving onto their land, depleting resources,
and forcing the Wampanoags further inland, Matcomet, also known as King Philip, and
his fellow warriors attacked to defend their traditional homeland and assert their rights.
This drawing shows an artist’s take on a meeting between Metacomet and the colonists.
Wood, S. N. (c. 1911). [King (Metacomet) Philip, Sachem of the Wamponoags, d. 1676, full
length, standing at treaty table with whie men]. Library of Congress: Prints &
Native Americans and Europeans had different beliefs about how land should be used. The
Native Americans believed that people had a special relationship with the land and did not own
it, but instead simply used it responsibly. In contrast, the Europeans believed land was meant to
be used, exploited, and owned by people. So, when the Europeans saw how Native Americans
used the land, they believed that they could take it because the Native Americans did not “own”
Vinckeboons, J. (1639). Pascaert van Nieuw Nederlandt Virginia, ende Nieuw-Engelandt verthonendt
alles wat van die landin by See, oft by land is ondect oft Bekent. Library of
Congress: American Memory, Map Collections: 1500-2004.
By owning the land and introducing new farming techniques, the Europeans changed the
layout of the land and its ecosystems. For instance, beavers, large bears, cougars,
panthers, and other animals once thrived in New England . But a combination of ecosystem
change and hunting (for skins like those seen here) severely decreased the population of
these animals and sometimes led to outright extinction.
Keystone View Company. (c1899). Laliberte's fur parlor--the finest in the world, Quebec, Canada.
Library of Congress: Prints & Photographs, Sterograph Cards.
This painting, created in the mid 1800s, shows what an artist imagined Plymouth ,
Massachusetts to look like in 1620. The artist depicts a rocky, hilly terrain complete with large
trees and vegetation. According to the studies of environmental historians like William
Cronon, this was not far from the truth. Massachusetts in the 17 th century was a densely
N. Currier. (1838-1856). Landing of the pilgrims at Plymouth 11th Dec. 1620. Library of
Congress: Prints & Photographs, Popular Graphic Arts.
This is a picture of Massachusetts in the 1900s. Years of invasive farming techniques
changed the physical layout of the land. Much of what was once dense forest became,
over time, a flatter land that was more suitable to the agricultural needs of the area’s
Dick, S. (1938). New England hurricane. Onion field near Hadley, Massachusetts. Library of
Congress: Prints & Photographs.