book report: Mayflower; part 3 Indian death toll

Here are some astonishing calculations regarding casualties from King Philip's War in Philbrick's excellent book, Mayflower.
In terms of the percentage of population killed, the English had suffered casualties that are difficult for us to comprehend today. During the forty-five moths of World War II, the United States lost just under 1 percent of its adult male population; during the Civil War the casualty rate was somewhere between 4 and 5 percent; during the fourteen months of King Philip's War, Plymouth Colony lost close to 8 percent of its men.

But the English losses appear almost inconsequential when compared to those of the Indians. Of a total Native population of approximately 20,000, at least 2,000 had been killed in battle or died of their injuries; 3,000 had died of sickness and starvation, 1,000 had been shipped out of the country as slaves, while an estimated 2,000 eventually fled to either the Iroquois to the west of the Abenakis to the north. Overall, the Native American population of southern New England had sustained a loss of somewhere between 60 and 80 percent. Philip's local squabble with Plymouth Colony had mutated into a regionwide was that, on a percentage basis, had done as much as the plagues of 1616-29 to decimate New Englands' Native population. p.332

I need to unpack these numbers a bit. Out of 20,000 Indians, 8,000 were lost, which is not 60- to 80 percent, but perhaps, he means 60 percent of the men died. No matter what, it's tragic.


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