The Pequot War (1637 to 1638)

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pequot war

During the early formation of America, there were several battles fought between Native Americans and white settlers. The first of those battles took place in 1837 and 1638. It was known as the Pequot war because it involved the Pequot tribe. They lived in southeastern Connecticut, near the Thames River. In 1630, Sassacus was their chief, and he had pushed the tribe to the Connecticut River in the west. They had several skirmishes with the colonists who were settled there, which led to an incident on July 20, 1636 in which the Pequots killed John Oldham, who was a trader living in that area.

On August 24, 1637, an order was given to punish the Indians by then Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony, John Endicott. Shortly thereafter, on May 26, 1637, the Pequot War’s first battle was fought. That battle occurred when a Pequot stronghold near what is now New Haven, Connecticut was attacked by a group of New England settlers led by John Underhill and John Mason. When the forts in the stronghold were burned, around 500 Pequot tribe members were killed, including children and women. Some survived and split into smaller groups. One of those groups, led by Chief Sassacus, escaped, but was captured on July 28 near what is now Fairfield, Connecticut. Some of the group members died on that date, while others were simply held captive and enslaved. Some of the enslaved Pequots were sent to the West Indies, while others were forced to serve the colonists. Sassacus and a few others escaped again, but the Mohawk Indians killed many of them. Those Pequots that remained after that wound up being absorbed into other tribes across New England.