To be sure, King Philip’s War devastated New England. Some writers have estimated that it took the colonies decades to recoup the losses suffered in a
single year of fighting. Whole towns had to be rebuilt and resettled. This may be true, but the region’s native peoples fared far worse after the war. An
estimated 3,000 Native Americans, of a population of 20,000, lost their lives in battle or English massacres. Those who survived faced harsh retribution
from the English, who mistrusted even those Native Americans who had fought alongside them during the war.
Almost as interesting as the events of King Philip’s War are the volumes of literature about it. While it was still occurring, Puritans struggled to discern
God’s will in the progress of the conflict, and spilled a lot of ink on the subject. Some of the veterans, notably Benjamin Church, published their accounts
after the war. Mary Rowlandson, captured at Lancaster, wrote perhaps the most famous of the Native American captivity narratives, The Soveraignty and
Goodness of God.
King Philip’s War took on a mythic importance in the United States in the nineteenth century. Through the play Metamora; or, the Last of the
Wampanoags, Americans reconstructed the events of 1675 1676 to serve a variety of purposes, including the justification of Native American removal in
the antebellum period.
The lasting significance of King Philip’s War has also been subject to various interpretations. Between 1990 and 2000, four monographs appeared on the
conflict. King Philip’s War has been viewed as the initial shot in a long war between Anglo-Americans and Native Americans. It also has been viewed as
an American first, where both combatants and noncombatants were annihilated.
See also: Connecticut; Massachusetts; Military and Diplomatic Affairs (Chronology); Military and Diplomatic Affairs (Essay);
Native American-European Conflict; War.
Bourne, Russell. The Red King’s Rebellion: Racial Politics in New England, 1675 1678. New York: Atheneum, 1990.
Drake, James D. King Philip’s War: Civil War in New England, 1675 1676. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1999.
Lepore, Jill. The Name of War: King Philip’s War and the Origins of American Identity. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1998.
Malone, Patrick M. The Skulking Way of War: Technology and Tactics Among the New England Indians. Lanham, MD: Madison, 1991.
Schultz, Eric B., and Michael J. Tougias. King Philip’s War: The History and Legacy of America’s Forgotten Conflict. Woodstock, VT: Countryman Press, 1999.
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