Today, the small town of Bristol, Rhode Island, hardly seems like a war zone.  The southern portion’s coast, overlooking Newport, boasts scenic views of Narragansett Bay and Fall River that show off the beauty of New England.  Amidst this quiet forest, however, lies the history of one of the bloodiest conflicts of the colonial period.  On land that is now an anthropology museum owned by Brown University, Metacom[1] launched a war against English colonists that now bears his name.   From June 1675 until the following August, the colonies of New England were engaged in a violent conflict with a coalition of native tribes, led by Metacom, or as he was called by the English, Philip.  After Philip’s death and the war’s conclusion, the native presence in southern New England was greatly reduced.  Most of the survivors were sold into slavery, forced to live in a “praying town” of Christian Indians, or moved to reservations.[2]  Not all native peoples disappeared, but they were reduced to a memory in the eyes of the colonists rebuilding their lives in the aftermath of the struggle.

[1] King Philip was the name given to Metacom by the English colonists.  He is referred to by both names in historical documents; in this paper I will try to refer to him as Metacom, except when discussing white’s representations of him, as they usually employ the names Philip or King Philip.

[2] Eric B Schultz and Mike Tougias, King Philip's War: The History and Legacy of America's Forgotten Conflict (Woodstock, VT: Countryman Press, 1999), 74.