The Pequot War was a culmination of many disputes between the Native Americans and the Colonists in the New England region. These conflicts included disputes over dishonest traders, livestock damaging Native’s crops, property disputes, colonists over-hunting the region and the selling of alcohol to Indians. The colonists also believed in their god-given right to settle the new world and believed that it was their obligation to convert these pagan “barbarians” to Christianity.
The Pequots were also weakened by two events prior to the war. After sachem Wopigwooit died, sachem Uncas broke off from the Pequots and formed his own tribe, the Mohegans, who were hostile to the Pequots. The Pequots were also weakened by a smallpox epidemic in 1633. Between these two events the Pequots lost about half of their population.
On July 20, 1636, the Pequots killed a dishonest trader, John Oldham. A ninety man Massachusetts’s militia headed by John Endicott landed on Block Island and killed fourteen Indians and burned the village to the ground. Endicott demanded compensation from the Pequots at Saybrook. The Pequots fled their village and attacked Fort Saybrook in Connecticut.
No other tribes would agree to fight alongside the Pequots. They sided with the Colonial forces due to past events and the Narragansett and many smaller tribes remained neutral in the war.
On May 26, 1637, a military force commanded by John Mason and John Underhill destroyed the Pequot village near New Haven, Connecticut. Over five hundred Natives were killed. On July 28 the Pequot leader, Sassacus, was captured and executed by the Mohawk tribe, who sided with the English.
The Pequot War destroyed the Pequots. The Pequot people were killed, sold into slavery in the West Indies, or assimilated into nearby tribes. Almost all Pequot villages had been destroyed. By the year 1910 only sixty-six full-blooded Pequots were known to exist. Many English colonial settlements were also destroyed. Although the colonists only lost about a fifth as many people as the Pequots did, this still was a large loss for the colonies.
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