Wampanoag (American Indians Ready Reference)
The Wampanoag, also known as the Pokanoket, spoke the Massachusetts language, one of the five Eastern Algonquian languages spoken in southern New England. The Wampanoag, like all southern New England groups, have deep historical roots. Archaeologists point to the evolution of prehistoric cultures from the Paleo-Indian cultural time period of some twelve thousand years ago up through the historic cultural time period of 1500 c.e. and the beginning of European exploration and trade along the Atlantic coast. The Wampanoag are best known for this latter contact period when Europeans began to document their visits to the native peoples via diaries, letters, and books. In 1620, the English colonists known as the Pilgrims landed in present-day Plymouth, Massachusetts. There began the now famous relationship between the Indians and colonists and there occurred the celebration of the first Thanksgiving.
The most important seventeenth century Wampanoag figures included the supreme sachem Massasoit and his sons and successors Wamsutta (Alexander) and Metacomet (King Philip). These sachems signed treaties, and they traded and bartered lands with the Pilgrims. Toward the end of the century, they were also fighting with the Pilgrims. The supreme sachems were...
(The entire section is 672 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!