Metacom and His Impact on the State of Rhode Island

Essay by asesinodeldiosHigh School, 11th gradeA+, October 2009

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Metacom had many names. He was Metacom to some, Metacomet to others, Sachem by the people of his tribe, and King Phillip by the white colonists of the Colonial Era in American history. He was the leader of the Wampanoag tribe that resided in the Southeastern Massachusetts from 1662 to 1675. Metacom is most widely known for being the initiator of King Phillip's war, a conflict between the Indians of the region and the white colonists in the New England region. Metacom's actions and the resulting King Phillip's war shaped the relationship between white colonists and Native Americans for the next three hundred and fifty years.

Metacom was born in 1638 as a member of the Wampanoag tribe of Massachusetts. Metacom's father, Massasoit, was the Sachem, or leader, of the Wampanoag time during the early negotiations of peace with European settlers. During Massasoit's reign both sides experienced a state of piece, briefly broken up by the Pequot War of 1636 to 1637 .

After Massasoit's death in 1661, Metacom's older brother Wamsutta, known as Alexander by the English, stepped into the role of Sachem. Wamsutta, like his father, directed his actions towards maintaining peace between the Wampanoag tribe and the White Colonists in the Southeastern New England region. In 1662, Wamsutta died; Metacom believed he was poisoned by Plymouth colonists but did not retaliate . Metacom became the new Sachem of the tribe. Metacom had the difficult task of keeping up peaceful relations with the neighboring colonists as well as taking action in the best interest of his tribe.

The Wampanoag tribe was built of many villages and towns, which were nestled between the Plymouth Colony, Rhode Island, and the Massachusetts Bay Colony . In order to maintain his political power, Metacom sold tracts of land to various colonists...