Sunday, June 30, 2013

1622: Indians Massacre White Men

Powhatan died in April of 1618, leaving his second brother
Itopatin in possession of his empire, a prince far short of the parts of Oppechancanough, who by some was said to be his elder brother, and then king of Chickahomony; but he having debauched them from the allegiance of Powhatan, was
disinherited by him. This Oppechancanough was a cunning and a brave prince, and soon grasped all the empire to himself. But at first they jointly renewed the
peace with the English, upon the accession of Itopatin to the crown. But the real double-cross was in March of 1622 when the Indians schemed to kill and massacre all white christians. The Englishmen had become familiar with the Indians, "eating, drinking, and sleeping amongst them; and the use of our arms--nowing at all times, when and where to find our people, whether at home, or in the woods, in bodies, or disperst, in condition of defence, or indefensible."  When one of the Indian war captains was justly killed, Oppenchancanough took affront and he revengefully laid the plot of a general massacre of the English, to be executed on the 22nd day of March in 1622, a little before noon, at a time when the men were working on their plantations, disperst and unarmed.  "This hellish contrivance was to take effect upon all the several settlements at one and the same instance, except on the Eastern Shore, whither this plot did not reach. The Indians had been made familiar with the English, as to borrow their boats and canoes to cross the river in, when they went to consult with their neighboring Indians upon this execrable conspiracy. And to color their design the better, they brought presents of deer, turkies, fish and fruits to the English the evening before. The very morning of the meassacre, they came freely and unarmed among them, eating with them, and behaving themselves with the same freedom and friendship as formerly, till the very minute tey were to put their plot in execution.  Then they fell to work all at once everywhere, knocking the English unawares on the head, some with their hatchets, which they called tomaawks, others with hoes and aes of the English themselves, shooting at those who escaped the reach of their hands; spariing neither age nor sex, but destroying man, woman, and child, according to their cruel way of leaving none behind to bear resentlemtn." Source: The History of Virginia by Robert Beverley.

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