Pequot War (American Indians Ready Reference)
Article abstract: The first major conflict between Native Americans and New England settlers.
As suggested by their name (from pekawatawog, “the destroyers”), the Pequots were once the most formidable tribe in New England. Part of the Eastern Algonquian language family, the Pequots, by the dawn of the seventeenth century, were well established in what is now Connecticut. Their powerful sachem (principal chief) was the venerable Sassacus, who was born near what is now Groton. In spite of many years of experience, Sassacus faced, in his seventies, the biggest crisis in his people's history. Although the Pequots had a virtual hegemony over their adjacent nations—as the leader of the Mohegans, Uncas was married to the daughter of the Pequot chief—the Pequots had trouble coping with the impact of the European powers in the Connecticut Valley. The Pequots found themselves caught between the Dutch moving eastward from New Netherlands and the English moving westward from the Massachusetts Bay Colony and Connecticut. European competition for control over trade on the Connecticut River proved to be a destabilizing factor in intertribal relationships.
(The entire section is 1319 words.)
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Pequot War (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: At issue: English supremacy over Pequot Indians in southern New England. Result: English victory; execution of Pequot combatants, enslavement of Pequot noncombatants by English and their Indian allies, and temporary obliteration of the Pequot as a political and social entity.
The Pequot War was the outgrowth of intertribal disputes that after 1622 increasingly centered on control of trade with nearby European colonies (New Netherlands, Massachusetts, Plymouth, and Connecticut). Each tribe sought regional hegemony and a monopoly on the fur trade. In 1633, the Dutch erected a trading post in Pequot territory. Disregarding their promise of free access, the Pequot slew rival Narragansett attempting to trade there. The Dutch retaliated by seizing and murdering the Pequot sachem (principal chief), Tatobem. As retribution, the Pequot killed an English trader, Captain John Stone, and his crew, supposedly believing they were Dutch.
Finding themselves at war with the Dutch and the powerful Narragansett, the Pequot turned to the Massachusetts Bay Colony for assistance in negotiating peace. Not content with offers of land and a trading monopoly, the Puritans demanded excessive tribute and surrender of Captain Stone’s murderers. A temporary peace ensued, but the 1634 treaty signed by Pequot ambassadors was later rejected by the tribal council. Massachusetts colonists soon established...
(The entire section is 905 words.)