Society of Colonial Wars

in the State of Ohio

Ohio Society of Colonial Wars
:: Colonial Wars

1643 - 1645

   ||    Kieft's War, aka the Wappinger War   ||    Dutch vs. Lenape tribes

Conflict between Dutch settlers and Natives in the colony of New Netherland.

Named after Director of New Netherland Willem Kieft, who ordered an attack directly against the wishes of the colonists and his advisory council.

The Directors of the Dutch West India Company were unhappy that New Netherlands had never been profitable, and put Kieft in charge to reduce costs and increase profits. Kieft's main plan was to solicit tributes from the local tribes, by force if necessary. He seized on any available excuse to try and attack the local tribes. He used the theft of a pig, which was later shown to be by a fellow colonists, to raid a village, killing several, and a single murder to try and justify a war of extermination. To try and gather support he convened a popularly elected council only to, dissolve the council, and ban them from meeting when they disagreed with him. Eventually, he decided to attack camps of refugee Weckquaesgeek and Tappan natives, who were fleeing the expansionist Mahican and Mohawk tribes in the north, even though the company had previously guaranteed the natives protection and sanctuary.

25 Feb 1643 Pavonia Massacre
 Kieft sent 129 Dutch soldiers to attack the refugees, killing 120 natives, many women and children. A settler described the Massacre in his journal, saying:
 "Infants were torn from their mother's breasts, and hacked to pieces in the presence of their parents, and pieces thrown into the fire and in the water, and other sucklings, being bound to small boards, were cut, stuck, and pierced, and miserably massacred in a manner to move a heart of stone. Some were thrown into the river, and when the fathers and mothers endeavored to save them, the soldiers would not let them come on land but made both parents and children drown..."
 The soldiers were greatly rewarded by Kieft, who achieved his goal of war, for in response, the native tribes of the areas united against the settlers, who were forces to evacuate to the safety of New Amsterdam.

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