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KING PHILIP (c. 1639-1676)

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Originally appearing in Volume V21, Page 390 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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KING PHILIP (c. 1639-1676), chief sachem of the Warnpanoag Indians in America, and the son of Massasoit (d. 1662)—as the English, mistaking this title (great chief) for a proper name, called Woosamequin (Yellow Feather)—who for forty years was the friend and ally of the English colonists at Plymouth. To Massasoit's two sons, Wamsutta and Metacomet, the English gave the names respectively of Alexander and Philip. Alexander succeeded his father as sachem, and in the same year, while in Marshfield, whither he had gone to explain certain alleged unfriendly acts toward the English, was taken ill; he died on his way home. Philip, who succeeded Alexander, suspected the English of poisoning his brother. The English had grown stronger and more numerous, and had begun to meddle in the internal affairs of the Indians. In 1667 one of Philip's Indians accused him to the English of attempting to betray them to the French or Dutch, but this charge was not proved. In 1671 the Plymouth authorities demanded that the Wampanoags should surrender their arms; Philip consented, but his followers failed to comply, and measures were taken to enforce the promise. Philip thereupon went before the general court, agreed to pay an annual tribute, and not to sell lands or engage in war with other Indians without the consent of the Plymouth government. In 1674, when three Wampanoags were executed at Plymouth for the alleged murder of Sassamon, an Indian convert who had played the part of informer to the English, Philip could no longer hold his followers in check. There were outbreaks in the middle of June 1675, and on the 24th of June the massacre of whites began. There was no concerted movement of the various tribes and the war had not been previously planned. The Nipmuck Indians rose in July; the tribes along the Connecticut river in August; those in the present states of Maine and New Hampshire in September and October, and the Narragansets in December, when (on the 19th) they were attacked and seriously crippled, in what is now the township of South Kingstown, Rhode Island, by the English (under Governor Josiah Winslow of Plymouth), who suspected their loyalty. The colony of Connecticut took quick measures of defence, guarded its frontier, maintained its affiance with the Mohegans, and suffered little injury. Massachusetts and Plymouth were slower in acting and suffered great loss. Rhode Island raised no troops, and suffered severely. Early in the autumn Philip .went nearly as far west as Albany in an unsuccessful attempt to get aid from the French and the Mohawks and supplies from the Dutch traders. At Deerfield on the 18th of September about 6o English were killed and the settlement was abandoned. In the spring of 1676 it became evident that the Indian power was waning. The warriors had been unable to plant their crops; they were weaker numerically and more poorly armed than the English, and the latter had also made an alliance with the friendly Naticks and the Niantics. On the 1st of August 1676 Philip's wife and nine-year old son were captured, and on the 11th of August an Indian traitor guided the English to the sachem's hiding place in a swamp at the foot of Mount Hope (in what is now the township of Bristol, Rhode Island), where early the next morning he was' surprised, and while trying to escape was killed by an Indian. The head of Philip was sent to Plymouth and set on a pole in a public place, where it remained for a quarter of a century; his right hand was given to his slayer, who preserved it in rum and won many pennies by exhibiting it in the New England towns. The struggle was now over in southern New England, but it continued along the north-eastern frontier till the spring of 1678, and nearly every settlement beyond the Piscataqua was destroyed. In the colonies of Plymouth, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut six hundred men (or about 9% of the fighting population),' besides many women and children, had been killed; thirteen settlements had been completely destroyed, and about forty others were partly burned. Plymouth had incurred a debt greater than the value of the personal property of her people. The Indians suffered even worse: in addition to the large number of men, women and children slain, great numbers, among them the wife and son of Philip, were sold into slavery in the Spanish Indies and the Bermudas. Many others migrated from New England to New York; and the few remaining Indians, feeble and dispirited, were no longer a power to be reckoned with. Philip was an Indian patriot and statesman, not a warrior; he united the tribes in their resistance to the colonists, but was not a great leader in battle. See George M. Bodges, Soldiers in King Philip's War (Leominster, Mass., 1896); John Gorham Palfrey, History of New England, vol. iii. (Boston, 1864) ; and especially George W. Ellis and John E. Morris, King Philip's War (New York, 1906). See also Entertaining Passages Relating to King Philip's War (Boston, 1716; new edition, edited with notes by H. M. Dexter, Boston, 1865), the account by Colonel Benjamin Church (1639-1718), one of the principal leaders of the English, of the warfare in south-eastern New England, in which he took part; it is one of the most famous and realistic accounts of early Indian warfare.the domination of the rapacious Alice Perrers. Philippa was the patron and friend of Froissart, who was her secretary from 1361 to 1366. Queen's College, Oxford, was not, as is stated in Skelton's version of her epitaph, founded by her, but by her chaplain, Robert of Eglesfield. Her chief benefactions were made to the hospital of St Katharine's by the Tower, London. See Agnes Strickland, Lives of the Queens of England, vol. i. In addition to the account given in his Chroniques, Froissart wrote a formal eulogy of her, which has been lost.
End of Article: KING PHILIP (c. 1639-1676)
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