When the process of colonization of America began in the seventeenth century by the English, the objective was to have peaceful relations with the natives. The same English laws demanded that they be treated as equals and that they not be considered slaves, urging them to maintain friendly relations. However, the quarrels between the tribes were constant and the settlers generally did not intervene. Pequot war definition
Eventually, these conflicts became more violent and repeated, which gave rise to the Pequot War , since from attacking natives, the Pequot began to attack the settlers and although in the first instance the latter maintained an indifferent attitude, they would soon seek a way to do their own justice.
What was the Pequot War?
They were warlike conflicts between one of the native tribes that populated North America at the time of the colony, the Pequot, and the English . The Pequot were a tribe whose name originally meant “destroyer.” These populated the regions near the tributaries of the Thames and Connecticut rivers. Their life was very simple, they were dedicated to hunting and fishing, as well as the cultivation of cereals such as corn. In addition, they were skilled merchants, becoming one of the most powerful native populations.
However, members of this tribe began to commit some crimes against the English. Assassinations and kidnappings occurred on different occasions without any kind of retaliation from the settlers. However, everything would change with the murder of John Oldham in the town of Block Island. Pequot war definition
Causes of the Pequot War
- The arrogance of the Native Americans of the Pequot tribe who broke alliances with neighboring tribes , finding enemies among their own natives due to differences that they could not resolve peacefully.
- The invasion of the settlers into the territory of the Pequot tribe .
- The struggle for control of trade was also a trigger for the conflict. Before the arrival of the English in the 1630s, the Pequot Indians were the leading merchants, controlling the market for furs and wampum. But the English changed that order by becoming the competition of the Pequot.
- During the year 1633 there was an imminent outbreak of hepatitis A, smallpox and bubonic plague among the inhabitants of the Pequot tribe . These diseases were unknown to them, as they had been transmitted by settlers. As a result, the native population was practically reduced by 50% and racial hatred increased. Pequot war definition
- Over time a harsh and high tax regime was imposed on the natives as an incentive not to attack them, a practice that the natives did not tolerate.
- Death by native hands of English merchant John Oldham in the Block Island region .
Where and when did the Pequot War take place?
It took place between 1636 and 1638 in Massachusetts Bay in the Connecticut region when English settlers along with native allies from the Mohegan and Narragansett tribes began attacking the Pequot tribe in retaliation for the death of John Oldham. . John Endecott was commissioned to investigate those who had participated in the murder of the merchant and demand the death of those responsible, however, the Pequots claim they had no role in the matter, which led to a fierce attack that began this war.
- The world of the Native Americans changed radically with this war, which although it was short, had a relevant effect on their culture, since in a very few years, practically their heritage along with their descendants had disappeared.
- It was the first confrontation between the Europeans and the natives of North America, so the latter experienced the military methods of the old world .
- In the case of the English, they realized the power they had to exterminate and dominate those who they considered to be uneducated, godless and complete savages.
- The small group of Pequot Indians who managed to survive the war fled or were expelled from New England . Others could be accepted by other tribes and forced to serve as slaves.
- The Pequot tribe disappeared as a political entity . Pequot war definition
Who was the Winner
The victors after almost two years of cruel bloodshed were the English along with the native tribes that joined in their support, such as the Niantic, Mahegan and Narragansett . At the end of the war, only a total population of 1,500 natives of Pequot origin remained. The last attack that the English made against him was surprising and decisive. It is estimated that there were more than 600 victims including children and women who were burned or killed.