Dr. David S. Weed, Coordinator, Sowams Heritage Area Project
The Untold Story of Massasoit and the Colonists
Few people know that a treaty in March of 1621 between Massasoit of the Pokanoket Tribe and the leaders of the Plymouth Colony set in place a fifty year period of peaceful relations. That treaty not only provided for mutual protection against known enemies, it also ensured that both parties prospered economically.
A breakdown in those relationships, however, followed Massasoit’s death in 1661 and led to the devastating two-year King Philip War and the eventual colonial domination of the land. The initiation and duration of the peace is unique among the colonial patterns of interaction across the New World, while the impact of this clash of cultures continues to this day.
Learn about current efforts to establish a Sowams Heritage Area in East Bay Rhode Island and nearby Massachusetts that identifies over fifty locations that reveal the early history of Massasoit’s tribe, the locations where the King Philip War began and ended, and how the English nearly exterminated the native people who had lived in the area for over 10,000 years.