King Philip’s War

Brief History


Painting by Russell Buzzell, "Wheeler’s Surprise" (August 2, 1675). 2013.

Painting by Russell Buzzell, “Wheeler’s Surprise.” 2013.


Over 340 years have passed since the beginning of King Philip’s War and it still remains one of the most significant series of events in American history. The legacy of this devastating war lives on in the memory of regions Native and non-Native peoples alike.

The conflict that became known as King Philip’s War lasted over two years and consisted of nearly one hundreds engagements beginning in the spring of 1675 through 1678. Major battles were fought between Native groups allied with the Wampanoag Sachem Metacom (also known as King Philip) and English-allied colonial forces with the present-day States of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York. While many indigenous peoples including the Narragansett, Wampanoag, Nipmuc, and Pocumtuck battled English colonial forces, others such as the Mohegan and Pequot fought on their behalf. King Philip’s War was not only a war between Native Americans and English colonists in New England, but it also served as an opportunity for Native advisories to settle old scores.

English victory in the war resulted in the depopulation of New England’s Native peoples, increased European settlement in the region, and surviving Native communities experienced a loss of political and economic independence in the years that followed.