MARCH 29*, 1676


During King Philip’s War (1675-78), named for Wampanoag leader Metacomet (with the English name of Philip), about one-third of the towns of New England towns were destroyed.  Underlying causes for the war include the wave of migration, differing conceptions of agreements regarding land, power politics among competing tribes, and the deaths of both Metacomet’s father, Massasoit, Wampanoag leader and friend of the settlers, and his elder brother, Wamsutta, in 1661 and 1662, respectively.  Metacomet, unlike Massasoit, did not strive for peace.  When the Native Americans approached Providence, its residents had already departed for Aquidneck Island.  Roger Williams and about 30 men remained.  As the natives set the town ablaze, Williams asked them why they were burning and killing.  They mentioned support that Rhode Island had given to colonies assaulting them.  According to Williams, “We parted and they were so civil that they called after me and bid me not go near the burned houses.”

Source:  Fred Zilian, “Despite Roger Williams’ Efforts, Providence Burns in 1676,” Providence Journal, 3/29/2016.  Retrieved 6/25/2019,
Engraving:  Artist unknown, 19th Century.  California State Library.  Public Domain in U.S.:  Pre 1/1/1925.  Public Domain elsewhere where copyright term is author’s life plus 70 years or less.
*   Some sources place the date as March 27, 1676.

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