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King Phillip and the First Indian War *

King Phillip is not really a king and this is not really the First Indian War, but it is certainly the worst in the 17th century. King Phillip is chief of an American Indian tribe and he is sick of the encroachment of New England colonists. Recently, several of his tribe were put to death after being convicted of the murder of Christian Indians. He attacks several colonies, burning everything to the ground and massacring the inhabitants in a hail of bullets or hacking them to death with hatchets. The New England colonists have been at war with one tribe or another since they have arrived. It has never come out well for the Indians. This will be the bloodiest war in New England's history in terms of per capita deaths. One-in-ten men of the Massachusetts Bay colony will be dead within a year which is the actual meaning of the word "decimated"... every tenth man killed. However, by the end of this war the Indian tribe will be virtually wiped out and King Phillip will be hunted down and shot by a "Praying Indian," one of the Indians who had converted to Christianity. [1] [2]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
King Phillip's real name was Metacomet, and his name shows up one way or another in popular literature, film and he even has street names and a golf course named after him, though I doubt they realize who he was. A lot of what we know of this terrible attack comes from Mary Rowlandson who wrote a narrative of her experience being held captive along with her children. She was eventually released but her six-year-old daughter didn't survive the experience. In researching this episode in American history, I noted an opinion piece in the New York Times that suggested a parallel between King Phillip's attack and the 9-11 attack on the World Trade Center. That idea doesn't work for me. For one thing, one-in-ten people in New York did not die in the attack. There was some similarity in the reaction to the attack. The response was all-out. Indians were not killed for being Indians but one probably fared better as a Christian Indian. [3]

Bacon's Rebellion and the Burning of Jamestown

Nathanial Bacon is a government official who has organized 500 volunteers to fight off the Indians along the frontier because his uncle, Governor William Berkeley, has not addressed the problem. In fact, the Governor seems to have lost control of the colony. He is over 70 years old and hard of hearing. People must shout at him to make themselves understood. Governor Berkeley has refused to endorse Nathaniel's improvised army so Nathaniel marches into Jamestown and sets fire to the town. It's a full blown rebellion and the slaves have joined in. This rebellion falls apart shortly after Nathanial contracts dysentery and dies. The rebel leaders are rounded up and hanged. King Charles the 2nd hears of the rebellion but doesn't realize that the fighting is over. He sends troops to Virginia and after a lot of shouting (because the Governor still can't hear a thing) Berkeley returns to England to clear his name. He will die before he ever reaches the King. [4] [5] [6] [7]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Too many historians are looking to Bacon's Rebellion as one of the first slave rebellions and attempting to draw lessons from it. In fact, we are attempting to draw a lesson from these facts right now! The problem is that the facts have been distorted so much that it is difficult to figure out why things happened the way that they did. Complaints of Indian attacks on the frontier just don't explain the burning of Jamestown. Unfair taxes are mentioned and even though slaves join the rebellion, calling it a slave rebellion seems unjustified although it did scare the slave owners. The Governor tried to force farmers away from tobacco crops in order to diversify the Virginia economy, but the switch required a large capital investment. It was a risk with a big short-term downside and a small long-term payoff. Berkley was a rich man so he could cover that bet, but his fellow colonists could not. I think they grabbed any excuse to give this governor the boot and because they did, Virginians tied themselves to a tobacco/slave economy.

Science High Lights *

* Ole Roemer makes the first estimate of the speed of light by timing the eclipse of the moons of Jupiter and noticing that there is a ten minute delay when the Earth is furthest from Jupiter than when it is closest. Scientists use his observations to come up with a number. Given the instruments of the day, it's not precise but a good first try. [8]
* Antonie Philips makes a better microscope and discovers microorganisms which is calls animalcules (like molecules, only they are animals!). [9]
* Jacopo Riccati is the mathematician who produces the Riccati Equation! (Explaining why this is important is beyond my ability but I took calculus in college and I recognize it. No doubt my professor is grateful.) [10]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1676, Wikipedia.

See Also


* The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
  1. King Philip's War - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 13 November 2015. “The war is named for the main leader of the Native American side, Metacomet, who had adopted the English name 'King Philip' in honor of the previously-friendly relations between his father and the original Mayflower Pilgrims. The war continued in the most northern reaches of New England until the signing of the Treaty of Casco Bay in April 1678.”
  2. "America’s Guardian Myths", The New York Times (OPINION), September 7, 2007. Retrieved on 13 November 2015. “In one year, one of every 10 white men of military age in Massachusetts Bay was killed, and one of every 16 in the Northeastern colonies. Two-thirds of New England towns were attacked and more than half the settlements were left in ruins. Settlers were forced to retreat nearly to the coast, and the Colonial economy was devastated.” 
  3. (1682) Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson. Retrieved on 13 November 2015. “When we are in prosperity, Oh the little that we think of such dreadful sights, and to see our dear friends, and relations lie bleeding out their heart-blood upon the ground. There was one who was chopped into the head with a hatchet, and stripped naked, and yet was crawling up and down. It is a solemn sight to see so many Christians lying in their blood, some here, and some there, like a company of sheep torn by wolves, all of them stripped naked by a company of hell-hounds, roaring, singing, ranting, and insulting, as if they would have torn our very hearts out; yet the Lord by His almighty power preserved a number of us from death, for there were twenty-four of us taken alive and carried captive.” 
  4. Bacon's Rebellion - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 13 November 2015. “On July 30, 1676, Bacon and his army issued the 'Declaration of the People of Virginia'. The declaration criticized Berkeley's administration in detail. It accused him of levying unfair taxes, appointing friends to high positions, and failing to protect frontier settlers from Indian attack.”
  5. Tarter, Brent (2011). "Bacon's Rebellion, the Grievances of the People, and the Political Culture of Seventeenth-Century Virginia". The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography (Virginia Historical Society) 119 (1): 2-41. http://www.jstor.org/stable/41059478. Retrieved November 11, 2015. "Berkeley's deafness made his initial discussions with the commissioners difficult. They had to shout at him to be heard, and like many hearing-impaired people, he probably shouted at them, too, unaware of how he sounded to them. They acted as if angry with each other even before they were.". 
  6. Jamestown Interpretive Essays - Sir William Berkeley. Virtual Jamestown (2015). Retrieved on 15 November 2015. “Berkeley's economic visions failed because he never accepted Stuart colonial policy, especially the navigation system which was designed to regulate trade between England and her colonies, and he chose to ignore as much of it as possible. Royal indifference and the patronage of power friends at court shielded him, but by the 1670s, death or retirement removed most of his supporters. Although Charles II and his younger councillors had no investment in Berkeley, they chose not to remove him until Nathaniel Bacon gave them a reason.”
  7. Dysentery - definition of. medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com (2015). Retrieved on 15 November 2015. “An inflammatory disorder of the lower intestinal tract, usually caused by a bacterial, parasitic, or protozoan infection and resulting in pain, fever, and severe diarrhea, often accompanied by the passage of blood and mucus.”
  8. Ole Rømer - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 15 November 2015. “By trial and error, during eight years of observations Rømer worked out how to account for the retardation of light when reckoning the ephemeris of Io.”
  9. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 15 November 2015. “Most of the 'animalcules' are now referred to as unicellular organisms though he observed multicellular organisms in pond water. He was also the first to document microscopic observations of muscle fibers, bacteria, spermatozoa, and blood flow in capillaries (small blood vessels).”
  10. Riccati equation - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 15 November 2015. “In mathematics, a Riccati equation in the narrowest sense is any first-order ordinary differential equation that is quadratic in the unknown function.”

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