What conflict did the Pilgrims have with the natives? 

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mrkirschner | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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The Wampanoag native people lived in the area that is now called New England when the Pilgrims came to the New World.  This native group lived in the area for thousands of years, but their populations were decimated by disease even before the Pilgrims arrived.  When the Pilgrims settled in 1620, the population was around 2,000.  Despite these low numbers, the Wampanoag had a significant numbers advantage over the settlers.

For this reason, and because of the religious conviction of the Pilgrims, the early relationships between the two were amicable.  The natives saw the Pilgrims as potential allies or protectors as they were vulnerable to other tribes because of the epidemic.  The Pilgrims benefited because the tribes helped them to adapt to this new land.  The two parties entered into a treaty that broke down in 1662.  Cultural differences played a significant role in the hostilities between the two.

Metacomet was chosen as leader of the Wampanoag in 1662, and this led to a tense situation between the English and the Native Americans.  The tribes had grown tired of being pressured to sell their land in uneven agreements.  The resulting tension led to what has been dubbed King Philip’s War.  The war started in 1675, lasted until 1678 , and is one of the deadliest conflicts in American history.  


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