17th-century Massacre in Connecticut was New England’s ‘Jamestown’

A violent conflict between English colonists and Native Americans almost 400 years ago grew into a war that ended with the near extermination of an entire Indian tribe.

The attack on Puritan colonists in 1637 at Wethersfield, Connecticut, was smaller in scale than the Jamestown attack in Virginia in 1622 — just nine settlers were killed, while hundreds were killed in Jamestown. But the Wethersfield conflict grew into the Pequot War in New England, and it resulted in the Mystic River Massacre in May 1637; during that massacre, an army of colonists and their Native American allies killed about 500 people and effectively wiped out the Pequot tribe.

You can read more and watch a video in the Fox News web site at: https://fxn.ws/2TZEaws.

My thanks to newsletter reader Ritchie Hansen for telling me about this story.

Comment: I do have one quibble with the video. The opening shows an Indian teepee. Teepees were never used by the Eastern Native Americans, such as those in Connecticut, although they were common in the Western Plains. Teepees were used mostly by the Cheyenne, Sioux, Arapaho, Kiowa, Crow, Ogala Lakota, and some Northern Blackfoot Indians, none of which were in eastern North America.


After nearly 400 years, we still don’t get Indian history right.


Maybe because it isn’t taught in the curriculum. Neither is the fact that the Spanish explored and settled the Southwest in the 1500s


Wado (“thank you”) for your quibble. From a Cherokee Nation citizen.


Think of the teepee as being an instantly recognizable symbol. Try looking up Micmac wigwam or Sami tent – not a unique Plains Indian solution. Where did the Micmac live? Also, look up what the Pequots’ Indian neighbors thought of them.


That kind of error negates the whole program for me.


If you’re ever in Connecticut I highly recommend a visit to the Mashantucket Pequot Museum. It is a fabulous museum, and there is at least one film that provides a context for the Pequot War that isn’t told from the perspective of the colonizers. It left me in tears for the native people, and ashamed of the actions of my colonial ancestors.


According to an account by Captain John Underhill of Massachusetts: “…many were burnt in the Fort, both men, women, and children, others forced out, and came in troopes to the Indians, twentie, and thirtie at a time, which our souldiers received and entertained with the point of the sword; downe fell men, women, and children, those that scaped us, fell into the hands of the Indians, that were in the reere of us; it is reported by themselves, that there were about foure hundred soules in this Fort, and not above five of them escaped out of our hands.”
Underwood viewed the attack as God’s work: “Thus did the Lord judge among the Heathen, filling the Place with dead Bodies!” He praised God for “burning them up in the fire of his Wrath, and dunging the Ground with their Flesh: It was the Lord’s Doings, and it is marvellous in our Eyes!”
– The History of the Pequot War, John Underwood
Also see:
New England Frontier: Puritans and Indians 1620-1675, Alden Vaughan, 3rd edition,1995.


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