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Native Americans
The Pequot War



The Pequot War
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 7 to 9
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.83

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    destabilize, killing, manpower, ransom, further, epidemic, tension, apology, hostage, privateer, burning, cutting, maintain, attempt, trader, threat
     content words:    New Amsterdam, Native American, John Stone, Captain John Oldham, Block Island, Captain John Endicott, Massachusetts Bay Co, Fort Saybrook, West Indies


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The Pequot War
By Mary Lynn Bushong
  

1     The Dutch of New Amsterdam could feel the tension in the air in 1633. An epidemic of small pox had swept through the Native American tribes of the Northeast and caused tension everywhere. One of the hard hit peoples was the Pequot.
 
2     The Pequot name meant "the destroyers." They were thought to have moved from further north into southern Connecticut, eliminating the other tribes in their way. Even when the Europeans arrived, they were still trying to expand their territory. Small pox slowed the Pequot's efforts down by cutting their numbers in half, but it also helped to destabilize the balance of power in the area. Suddenly, there were many fewer of this aggressive people, and the colonists took advantage of that.
 
3     For years the Pequot had been some of the main traders of animal skins with the Dutch. The trading alliances to control furs were complicated, and there were many players. In an attempt to maintain control, the Pequots attacked another group of natives who had arrived at Hartford to trade. This angered the Dutch. They took a Pequot chief hostage to make them behave. After the Pequot paid ransom to get him back, the Dutch executed the chief. The Pequot vowed to get even.
 
4     In 1634, a privateer trader named John Stone was killed along with his crew by the Pequot. Then two years later, Captain John Oldham was killed by the Niantic (Pequot allies) as he came to Block Island. Several of his crew were also killed and the ship looted. The killing of a privateer required an apology. The killing of a good man required reprisals.

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