Rare map of New England, illustrating the Theater of King Philip's War.
The map is quite fascinating, in that it is a large, hand colored (as is the only other known example in the American Geographical Society), wood cut map, done with a high degree of skill and decorative quality. The American Geographical Society dated their copy (which is on linen), as having been issued some time between 1678 and 1902. Based upon the paper and the style of the image, we believe it could not have been issued prior to 1800 and that a more likely dating is in the latter part of the 19th Century.
King Philip's War (1675-1678) was an armed conflict between Native American inhabitants of present-day New England and English colonists and their Native American allies. 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.
Metacom (c. 1638-1676) was the second son of Wampanoag chief Massasoit, who had coexisted peacefully with the Pilgrims. Metacom succeeded his father in 1662 and reacted against the European settlers' continued encroaching onto Wampanoag lands. At Taunton in 1671, he was humiliated when colonists forced him to sign a new peace agreement that included the surrender of Indian guns. When officials in Plymouth Colony hanged three Wampanoags in 1675 for the murder of a Christianized Indian, Metacom's alliance launched a united assault on colonial towns throughout the region. Metacom's forces enjoyed initial victories in the first year, before the alliance began to fall apart. By the end of the conflict, the Wampanoags and their Narragansett allies were almost completely destroyed.
The war was the single greatest loss of life to occur in seventeenth century Puritan New England and is considered by many to be the deadliest war in the history of European settlement in North America in proportion to the population. In a year, twelve of the region's towns were destroyed and many more damaged, the colony's economy was all but ruined, and its population was decimated, losing one-tenth of all men available for military service. More than half of New England's towns were attacked by Native American warriors.