Monday, March 22, 2010

Massacre 1622

Friday, March 22, 1621/22 the Powhatan under the leadership of Opechancanough entered the homes of the Virginia Colonists unarmed and bearing produce, ostensibly to sell to the settlers. Once inside the homes, the native inhabitants of the land grasped whatever weapons were at hand and slew the occupants of the houses.

The history books refer to this as "The Indian Massacre of 1622."

The Great Chief Wahunsunacock was also known as Powhatan. Thus he went by the name of the confederation of Indians over whom he ruled. Powhatan had become convinced that the white man did not come to their land with peaceful ends in view, but rather to subjugate the land and its peoples. He made every attempt to maintain positive relationships with the settlers; but clearly this was not going to end well.

Wahunsunacock died in 1618. His brother Opechancanough solidified his claim to tribal leadership and took a more bellicose stance toward the settlers. He believed that if the English were soundly defeated in a foray they would withdraw and return to their homeland; for this is, after all, the way any "civilized" Indian group would behave upon being defeated in battle. The colonists stayed, thus proving this thinking to be in gross error. The English brought reprisals upon the Indians and it was 22 years before the Algonquins again attacked the whites.

Reference to the attack of 1644.
Image: detail from John Smith's Map of Virginia, 1612


Lin said...

Bummer story, Vanilla. I won't be answering the door today.

vanilla said...

Not really a terribly uplifting account, was it, Lin?

Let's hope things are better than they were 400 years ago.