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Mary Rowlandson was an American colonist in very early colonial times.  She was born in the 1630s and died in 1711.  She is famous largely for having written one of the first “captivity narratives” in American literary history.

Rowlandson was captured by Native Americans during “King Phillip’s War.”   This was a war in New England between Native Americans and the colonists that occurred in the 1670s.  During that war, Rowlandson and her three children were taken prisoner and held for ransom.  She was held for about 11 weeks.  After she had been released, Rowlandson eventually wrote a narrative of her experience.  This narrative was extremely popular at the time.  It was popular because the colonists were intensely interested in what life might be like among the Native Americans.

Thus Rowlandson was important as the author of one of the first captivity narratives in the American colonies.