New Worlds, Old Wars: The Anglo-American Indian Wars 1607-1678 (Century of the Soldier) (Paperback)
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From the moment English settlers arrived in the New World, they encountered the native population, principally due to disputes over land ownership. To assert their rights to the country, which the English had been granted by their king without the consent of the local tribes, the English relied on their more modern weaponry. However, the settlers soon found that bows and arrows along with superior tactics and marksmanship by the Amerindians (once they had obtained muskets), made the fighting far more balanced than the settlers anticipated.
In the first war fought in Virginia (made famous by several interventions of the Powhatan princess Pocahontas), the English were almost driven out of America. They only survived thanks to reinforcements that met the fleeing settlers just before sailing back to England. Besieged behind the wooden walls of Jamestown, the English lost far many more people to disease and starvation than were killed in Amerindian attacks.
By 1635, several of the new rival colonies including the Dutch, cast covetous eyes over the broad reaches of the Connecticut River. Rather than negotiate a deal with the Pequot (the dominant native tribe), the English used a pretext to march upon the unsuspecting major Pequot settlement at Mystic where they massacred the men, women and children. They continued to pursue and slay any survivors they chanced upon.
In 1675, threatened by land grabs, the Wampanoag leader, King Philip, rose up against the colonists and destroyed several villages. The English in turn, marched against their one-time allies, the much larger Narragansett tribe and once again, massacred them in their secluded swampland fort.
With most outlying settlements razed to the ground, the English were forced to adopt Amerindian tactics and in Benjamin Church they found a man who adapted and adopted native fieldcraft to become the founder of 'The Rangers'. Church managed to track down and kill Philip and his death brought the war in most of New England, to an end. However, in Maine, the Abenaki continued to fight and to win, driving most of the settlers out of their coast-hugging townships. Many of the Abenaki were tricked into surrender and sold into slavery but by 1678, a treaty was signed that returned land to the Abenaki and the English agreed to pay tribute to the Amerindians. The failure to honor these arrangements led to six more wars between the two sides.
In the end, the seemingly endless supply of new settlers and replacement weaponry meant the English were destined to win over the land and exterminate the tribes. But while the numbers were more evenly matched, the outcome of these wars was very much in doubt.