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The Pequot were the a tribe of Native Americans who inhabited much of Connecticut in the 17th century, speaking a variety of the Algonquian language. The tribe was virtually eliminated in the Pequot War of 1637. Modern remnants survive as the Mashantucket Pequots and the Paucatuck Pequots.

This article uses the term tribe to describe various bands of Indians. The groups in New England were not that formally organized. What we now view as a tribe was a village or collection of villages adhering to a sachem or other leader. These alignments shifted as leaders arose and populations rose or fell.

Table of contents
1 Origin
2 The Pequot War
3 Modern history
4 Further reading
5 External link


The Pequot and the Mohegan were one tribe that migrated toward central and eastern Connecticut sometime around 1500, probably from the upper Hudson River Valley. Sometime after that and before contact with Europeans, they had split into the two warring groups. The Pequot became the dominant tribe in central and eastern Connecticut, collecting tribute from other tribes. The group probably numbered about 6,000 in 1620, but smallpox and wars had reduced this to 3,000 by 1637.

The Pequot War

Main article:
Pequot War

In 1637 difficulties between the English settlers of Connecticut and Massachusetts and the Pequot became open warfare. The Mohegan and the Narragansett sided with the English. Perhaps 1,500 Pequot were killed, in specific battles or hunted down. Most of the rest were captured and distributed as slaves or household servants. Some few escaped to be absorbed by the Mohawk or on Long Island. Of those enslaved, most were awarded to the allied tribes but some were sold to plantations in the West Indies. The Mohegan particularly treated the hostages and their descendents so badly that the English in Connecticut later removed them. Two reservations were founded by 1683 and remain in some form to this day.

Modern history

By the 1910 census the entire Pequot population reached a low of 66. It has since grown. The 600 Paucatuck or eastern Pequot have a reservation called 'Lantern Hill'. They are recognized by Connecticut but not the United States government. The 350 Mashantuckett or western Pequot gained federal recognition in 1983 and have a reservation near Ledyard.

''See also: Pequot War, Mashantucket Pequots

Further reading

External link