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Program 10: The Frontier Wars

Frontier Wars 1675 - 1759 : King William's War

King Williamís War

While local grievances still plagued the relations between colonial Anglos and Native Americans in Maine, King Williamís War grew largely out of the Glorious Revolution in England and the subsequent conflicts between England and France.

In Maine, there are overlapping claims to land between the Kennebec and St. Johnís Rivers which intensifies the French and English conflicts. In April 1688, Gov. Edmond Andros (who had been appointed by King Charles II, a notorious adversary to the Massachusetts Bay Colony) raided the French/Penobscot establishment at present-day Castine. Andros intended to force Castine himself, a Frenchman, to acknowledge and submit to English authority in the region. As a result, Castine, who had been neutral, began to oppose the English.

In the meantime, a number of Saco-area Indians killed English cattle that had been allowed to graze on and destroy their crops. At this point, an Englishman from Saco named Blackman seized approximately twenty local Natives and sent them as hostages to Boston which only served to heighten tensions.

When Andros returned to Maine in the fall, he tried unsuccessfully to defuse the situation. Fearing more problems, Andros set up a series of forts and fortified garrisons from Pemaqiud to Wells to defend English colonialists.

In the Spring of 1689, Massachusetts leaders got word that King Charles II, had been replaced by King William. They seized Gov. Andros and sent him back to England. The defense system that Andros had established collapsed as many of the officers were seized or dismissed and soldiers left en masse for Massachusetts.

Maineís English settlers suddenly faced combined French and Indian forces intent on sweeping them out of the region. In 1689, the Pemaquid Fort fell and though Falmouthís Ft. Loyal survived a serious assault, there were no longer any English communities to the east of Falmouth. In1690, Ft. Loyal was captured and destroyed, rolling settlements back to Wells. Then, in February 1692, York was decimated in a major raid. Soon afterward, Wells faced a similar attackóbut managed to hold on. That event and the rebuilding of the fort at Pemaquid (even though it was to be captured again in 1696) seemed to stem the tide of violence.

The war degenerated into a long series of local Tribal and English raids into the largely deserted areas beyond Wells. The bloodiest of all the wars, King Williamís War was also the most devastating for the Naives who suffered severe losses and displacement from which they would never wholly recover.

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