What was the King Philip's War? When & Why did it happen??

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saintfester eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Between 1628 and 1640 there was a great wave of English Immigration in and around New England. Towns such as Hartford, Springfield and Northampton were founded on and near Indian land, encroaching on traditional territory at an uncomfortable rate.

Although peace had been maintained since the arrival of the pilgrims in 1620, it became increasingly difficult for the Indians to maintain this peace. The English demanded more and more land in exchange for guarantees of friendships, but decades of this had drained the natives of whatever extra land they had. In addition to this, diseases had wracked their feeble tribes, weakening them and making them feel vulnerable.

Adding to this growing tension was the leader of the Pokanoket’s, a chief named Metacomet, who tried unsuccessfully to negotiate with the English in the wake of his brother’s mysterious death. When the English rebuffed his attempt to get them to stop buying up native land, he was convinced that the English had murdered his brother, and he began planning for war. The conflict that he helped start became known as King Phillips War after his adoptive Christian name.