King Philip's War, sometimes called the First Indian War, Metacom's War, Metacomet's War, or Metacom's Rebellion, was an armed conflict between Native American inhabitants of present-day New England and English colonists and their Native American allies in 1675–78. The war is named for the main leader of the Native American side, Metacomet, known to the English as "King Philip". 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, but then the Native American alliance began to unravel. By the end of the conflict, the Wampanoags and their Narragansett allies were almost completely destroyed. Metacom anticipated their defeat and returned to his ancestral home at Mt. Hope, where he was killed in battle.
The war was the single greatest calamity to occur in seventeenth-century Puritan New England and is considered by many to be the deadliest war in American history. In proportion to the population, the resulting war was one of the bloodiest in American history. In the space of little more than 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.
King Philip's War began the development of a greater American identity, for the colonists' trials, without significant English government support, gave them a group identity separate and distinct from that of subjects of the king.