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The Pequot War

For several years the tribe had been engaged in a desultory war with the Narragansetts, arising from a quarrel, in 1632, respecting the boundary of their respective do mains. Sassacus at once perceived the necessity or policy of healing this breach, and procuring the assistance of his powerful neighbors in the anticipated struggle. He therefore sent ambassadors to Canonicus, charged with proposals of treaty, and of union against the usurping English. A grand council of the Narragansett sachems was called, and the messengers, according to Morton, “used many pernicious arguments to move them thereunto, as that the English were strangers, and began to overspread their country, and would deprive them thereof in time, if they were suffered to grow and increase;” that they need not “come to open battle with them, but fire their houses, kill their cattle, and lie in ambush for them,” all with little danger to themselves. The Narragansetts hesitated, and would not improbably have acceded to the proposals but for the intervention and persuasion of their friend Roger Williams. His influence, combined with the hope, so dear to an Indian heart, of being revenged upon their old adversaries, finally prevailed. Miantonimo, with a number of other chiefs and warriors, proceeded to Boston; was received with much parade; and concluded a treaty of firm alliance with the English, stipulating not to make peace with the Pequots, without their assent. Meantime, during this same year (1637), the Pequots had commenced hostilities by attacking the settlers on the Connecticut. They lay concealed about the fort at Saybrook, ready to seize any of the little garrison who should be...

Pequot Tribe

Pequot Indians (contr. of Paquatauog, ‘destroyers.’- Trumbull). An Algonquian tribe of Connecticut. Before their conquest by the English in 1637 they were the most dreaded of the southern New England tribes. They were originally but one people with the Mohegan, and it is possible that the term Pequot was unknown until applied by the eastern coast Indians to this body of Mohegan invaders, who came down from the interior shortly before the arrival of the English. The division into two distinct tribes seems to have been accomplished by the secession of Uncas, who, in consequence of a dispute with Sassacus, afterward known as the great chief of the Pequot, withdrew into the interior with a small body of followers. This body retained the name of Mohegan, and through the diplomatic management of Uncas acquired such prominence that on the close of the Pequot War their claim to the greater part of the territory formerly subject to Sassacus was recognized by the colonial government. The real territory of the Pequot was a narrow strip of coast in New London County, extending from Niantic River to the Rhode Island boundary, comprising the present towns of New London, Groton, and Stonington. They also extended a few miles into Rhode Island to Wecapaug River until driven out by the Narraganset about 1635. This country had been previously in possession of the Niantic, whom the Pequot invaded from the north and forced from their central position, splitting them into two bodies, thenceforth known as Eastern Niantic and Western Niantic. The Eastern Niantic put themselves under the protection of the Narraganset, while the western branch...

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