Squanto also helped the colonists negotiate a peace treaty with the nearby Wampanoag tribe, led by the chief Massasoit. These were very lucky breaks for the colonists.
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The first Virginia settlement had been wiped out before they could establish themselves. Thanks to the good will of the Wampanoag, the settlers not only survived their first year but had an alliance with the Wampanoags that would give them almost two decades of peace. John Winthrop, a founder of the Massahusetts Bay colony considered this wave of illness and death to be a divine miracle. So as God hath thereby cleared our title to this place, those who remain in these parts, being in all not 50, have put themselves under our protection.
The deadly impact of European diseases and the good will of the Wampanoag allowed the settlers to survive their first year.
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But the peace that produced the Thanksgiving Feast of meant that the Puritans would have 15 years to establish a firm foothold on the coast. Until there were no more than settlers in New England, scattered in small and isolated settlements. But their survival inspired a wave of Puritan invasion that soon established growing Massachusetts towns north of Plymouth: Boston and Salem. For 10 years, boatloads of new settlers came. Some settlers argued that the land belonged to the Indians. These forces were excommunicated and expelled.
In short, the colonists decided they did not need to consult the Indians when they seized new lands, they only had to consult the representative of the crown meaning the local governor. The colonists embraced a line from Psalms The European immigrants took land and enslaved Indians to help them farm it. By there were about British settlers. They pushed out from the coast and decided to remove the inhabitants. The Puritans saw this religious colony as a model of a social and political order that they believed all of Europe should adopt. The Puritan movement was part of a sweeping revolt within English society against the ruling feudal order of wealthy lords.
Only a few decades after the establishment of Plymouth, the Puritan Revolution came to power in England. They killed the king, won a civil war, set up a short-lived republic, and brutally conquered the neighbouring people of Ireland to create a larger national market. The famous Puritan intolerance was part of a determined attempt to challenge the decadence and wastefulness of the rich aristocratic landlords of England. The Puritans wanted to use the power of state punishment to uproot old and still dominant ways of thinking and behaving. The new ideas of the Puritans served the needs of merchant capitalist accumulation.
The extreme discipline, thrift and modesty the Puritans demanded of each other corresponded to a new and emerging form of ownership and production. From the beginning, the Puritan colonies intended to grow through capitalist trade—trading fish and fur with England while they traded pots, knives, axes, alcohol and other English goods with the Indians.
The New England were ruled by a government in which only the male heads of families had a voice. Women, Indians, slaves, servants, youth were neither heard nor represented. The Puritan fathers believed they were the Chosen People of an infinite god and that this justified anything they did. They were Calvinists who believed that the vast majority of humanity was predestined to damnation. This meant that while they were firm in fighting for their own capitalist right to accumulate and prosper, they were quick to oppress the masses of people in Ireland, Scotland and North America, once they seized the power to set up their new bourgeois order.
The Massachusetts colony north of Plymouth was founded when Puritan stockholders had gotten control of an English trading company. The king had given this company the right to govern its own internal affairs, and in the stockholders simply voted to transfer the company to North American shores—making this colony literally a self-governing company of stockholders! In short, the Puritan movement developed as an early revolutionary challenge to the old feudal order in England.
They were the soul of primitive capitalist accumulation. And transferred to the shores of North America, they immediately revealed how heartless and oppressive that capitalist soul is. In the Connecticut Valley, the powerful Pequot tribe had not entered an alliance with the British as had the Narragansett, the Wampanoag, and the Massachusetts peoples.
At first they were far from the centers of colonization.
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Then, in , the British stole the land where the city of Hartford now sits—land which the Pequot had recently conquered from another tribe. That same year two British slave raiders were killed. The colonists demanded that the Indians who killed the slavers be turned over. The Pequot refused.
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They were joined by a thousand Narragansett warriors. Battle, as such, was not his purpose. Massacre can accomplish the same end with less risk, and Mason had determined that massacre would be his objective. The colonist army surrounded a fortified Pequot village on the Mystic River. At sunrise, as the inhabitants slept, the Puritan soldiers set the village on fire. It was conceived they thus destroyed about at this time. It was a fearful sight to see them thus frying in the fire…horrible was the stink and scent thereof, but the victory seemed a sweet sacrifice, and they gave the prayers thereof to God, who had wrought so wonderfully for them.
But…sometimes the Scripture declareth women and children must perish with their parents…. We had sufficient light from the word of God for our proceedings. Over captives were taken. After consulting the bible again, in Leviticus , the colonial authorities found justification to kill most of the Pequot men and enslave the captured women and their children. Only Pequot remained alive and free. In the official number of Pequot living in Connecticut was Some of the war captives were given to the Narragansett and Massachusetts allies of the British.
Even before the arrival of Europeans, Native peoples of North America had widely practiced taking war captives from other tribes as hostages and slaves. The remaining captives were sold to British plantation colonies in the West Indies to be worked to death in a new form of slavery that served the emerging capitalist world market.
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And with that, the merchants of Boston made a historic discovery: the profits they made from the sale of human beings virtually paid for the cost of seizing them. The slave trade, first in captured Indians and soon in kidnapped Africans, quickly became a backbone of New England merchant capitalism. A couple years later, Kieft ordered the massacre of the Wappingers, a friendly tribe.
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