Pequot War

     20 July 1636 - 28 July 1637

    On 20 July 1636, a trader by the name of John Oldham was murdered by the Pequot Indians who inhabited the region lying between the Pequot (Thames) River and the present western boundary of Rhode Island.

    To revenge Oldham's murder, a force was assembled by John Endecott of the colony of Massachusetts-Bay. On 24 August, Endecott and his men undertook a punitive expedition against the Pequot.

    Through the following spring the Indians made sporadic attacks on the Euro-American settlers in the region.

    Another force was assembled under the command of Captain John Mason. That force was composed of men from the colony of Connecticut. Mason attacked the main Pequot village which stood near the present-day town of Stonington, Connecticut. On 28 May 1637. Mason's force destroyed the Pequot village and slaughtered the Indians. A few of the Pequot who escaped Mason's attack were found and slaughtered near the present-day town of New Haven on 28 July 1637.

    A result of the Pequot War was the development, in 1643, of the New England Confederacy. It was discovered, during the Pequot War, that the military action of the Euro-Americans was uncoordinated and haphazard. Delegates from the colonies of Plymouth Plantation, Massachusetts-Bay, Connecticut and New Haven met together in the spring of 1643 to discuss a course of action to remedy the situation and be prepared for the future.

    On 19 May 1643, the four colonies signed a pact comprised of twelve articles of confederation. Known officially as the United Colonies Of New England, the union was more commonly known as the New England Confederacy. Eight commissioners (two from each colony) formed a board, empowered to declare war as they felt necessary and to adjudicate interstate quarrels. The confederacy was a step in the right direction for the colonies, but was discontinued in 1684. Even still, it would serve as a pattern for the unification of the colonies in the 1770s when rebellion against the mother country was fermenting.