Why did Pessicus and the Narragansetts submit to the authority of Charles I?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The primary reason for the submission of the Narragansett to Charles I was to gain "his Majesty's royal protection."

These criteria are discussed in the primary document Submission of the Chief Sachem of the Narragansett to Charles I. The treaty evolved from a lengthy period of unrest between the Narragansett and Pequot tribes. In 1636, the Narragansett were able to defeat the Pequot with the help of the English. The Mohegans, who were a branch of the Pequot, later captured the chief sachem of the Narragansetts, Miantinomy.

Then in 1644, Miatinomy's brother, Pessicus, signed a formal submission to King Charles I of England. In his submission, he made clear that he was submitting

our selves, peoples, lands, rights, inheritances, and possessions whatsoever, in our selves and our heirs, successively forever, unto the protection, care, and government of that worthy and royal prince, Charles, King of Great Britain and Ireland, his heirs and successors forever, to be ruled and governed according to those ancient and honorable laws and customs established in that so renowned realm and kingdom of Old England.

The Narragansett increasingly found themselves in conflict both with European colonists, whose ever-increasing expansion threatened Narragansett lands, and with other Native tribes. Seeking protection from King Charles I was their attempt to align themselves with the power of the Crown, hoping that the King's influence would bring them much-longed-for stability and prosperity.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial