Haughty Plymouth settlers labeled the Wampanoag sachem (or chief), Metacom, King Philip. Lied to, encroached upon, evangelized, and dragged into Pilgrim courts as his father had been, Metacom felt he’d put up with enough.
Philip’s Wampanoag warriors were catalysts for the conflict while his personal diplomacy sparked a general uprising. He was not the overall operational commander that many histories make him out to be, for most tribes acted independently. In fact, the Naraganset sachem, Canonchet, probably played a more important military role than did Metacom.
Both sides practiced grim warfare with little or no quarter given. Killing and torture of noncombatants was commonplace on both sides. As Indian casualties mounted, alliances weakened. Thanks to men like Benjamin Church, the Colonials adapted to new world battle tactics and, one by one, their enemy sachems were captured and killed. By late summer of 1676, the rebellion had collapsed, except for the Abnaki who continued to fight on in Maine through 1678.
King Philip’s War did not evict the Colonials; rather it destroyed the military power of the most prominent New England Indian Nations. On the other hand, Metacom did manage to halt colonial expansion for several years and because of the war’s enormous expense he invited more heavy-handed royal involvement in the colonies. Rancor also increased between the colonists and the French who supplied the rebellious natives with weapons. These then, were the seeds of both the French & Indian and Revolutionary conflicts, sown on the bloody New England soil of King Philip’s War.
- King Philip's War fan