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American-Indian Wars

November 17, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

From the moment English colonists arrived in Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607, they shared an uneasy relationship with the Native Americans (or Indians) who had thrived on the land for thousands of years. At the time, millions of indigenous people were scattered across North America in hundreds of different tribes. Between 1622 and the late 19th century, a series of wars known as the American-Indian Wars took place between Indians and American settlers, mainly over land control.

Colonial Period Indian Wars

On March 22, 1622, Powhatan Indians attacked and killed colonists in eastern Virginia. Known as the Jamestown Massacre, the bloodbath gave the English government an excuse to justify their efforts to attack Indians and confiscate their land.

In 1636, the Pequot War over trade expansion broke out between Pequot Indians and English settlers of Massachusetts Bay and Connecticut. The colonists’ Indian allies joined them in battle and helped defeat the Pequot.

A series of battles took place from 1636 to 1659 between New Netherlands settlers in New York and several Indian tribes (Lenape, Susquehannocks, Algonquians, Esopus). Some battles were especially violent and gruesome, sending many settlers fleeing back to the Netherlands.

The Beaver Wars (1640-1701) happened between the French and their Indian allies (Algonquian, Huron) and the powerful Iroquois Confederacy. The fierce fighting started over territory and fur trade dominance around the Great Lakes and ended with the signing of the Great Peace Treaty.

King Philip’s War

King Philip’s War (1675-1676), also known as Metacom’s War, began after bands of Indians led by Wampanoag Chief Metacom (later called King Philip) grew frustrated with their dependence on the Puritans and attacked colonies and militia strongholds throughout Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

The attacks ignited a series of battles for power along the Connecticut River Valley between Metacom’s warriors and a large colonial militia and their Mohawk allies. The war ended with Metacom’s beheading and the near decimation of the Native Americans in his coalition.

Queen Anne’s War

Queen Anne’s War (1702-1713) occurred between French and English colonists and their respective Indian …read more


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