King Philip's War
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But then came King Philip’s War, when things fell apart. What went wrong?
What I saw in doing this book was how much the personal commitment of the leaders matters. Diplomacy is hard work, especially when there are such cultural differences. The tragedy of the story is that with the second generation, they lose that appreciation so quickly.
King Philip’s War is the war that American history has forgotten. We start with the Pilgrims and in most histories leapfrog to the American Revolution. New England had changed radically in 55 years. As more and more English survived, land became a big part of this. Land had gone into English hands in a huge way. From the native perspective, they said, “What good was this alliance? We’ve lost our birthright.” And with the leaders not liking each other much, it leads to war.
This was an extraordinarily brutal conflict when you look at the percentage of the populations killed, more than twice as bloody as the Civil War.
You can say the English won, but one-third of the towns in New England were burned and abandoned, and they would pay for the war for decades. Until then they had remarkable independence from the mother country, but afterward they had to throw themselves on the mercy of England. You could say this created the tensions that would erupt 100 years later in the American Revolution.
For Indians who were not killed or forced to leave the region, many were captured and crowded on ships, sent to the West Indies and sold as slaves.