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Native Americans in New Hampshire


Cocheco river
Cocheco river

For 50 years the settlers and Native Americans in New Hampshire maintained friendly relations. Even when most of New England was involved in King Philip’s War (1675-1676) between settlers and native people led by the Wampanoag chief Philip, New Hampshire native groups tried to remain neutral. But as white settlements increased, so did tensions. The Europeans introduced livestock that often ruined crops in the Native Americans’ fields, and disputes arose over access to traditional hunting and fishing grounds.

These conflicts turned to bloodshed from 1689 to 1760, when New Hampshire became a battleground between France and England in their struggle for control of North America. During a series of wars, the European powers formed alliances with rival native groups. The Algonquian-speaking native people of New Hampshire, increasingly displaced from their lands by English settlers, fought with the French against the English settlers and the Iroquois, the Algonquian peoples’ traditional enemy.

For New Hampshire, by far the most destructive raids of the wars occurred in King William’s War (1689-1697). Native people attacked settlements at Cocheco River in Dover and Oyster River (later Durham) in 1689, burning houses, killing more than 20 settlers in each raid, and taking many more captive.

The constant threat of attack during this period and during Queen Anne’s War (1702-1713) affected every aspect of life for New Hampshire settlers. Expansion into new areas all but stopped, food production dropped, and nearly every white family suffered a loss; almost 300 settlers were killed. White settlers responded by burning native crops and villages and offering a bounty on natives’ scalps. After several attacks by colonists in the 1720s, including an incident known as Lovewell’s War, most of the surviving native peoples moved out of the New Hampshire region. "New Hampshire" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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