Penn Library

CULTURAL READINGS: Colonization & Print in the Americas

Submission manuscript
Rosenbach Museum & Library
Submission by Indian tribes, 1642

Manuscript: June 22, 1643.


In this formal declaration of submission, two minor chiefs, Pomham and Sacononoco, relinquished their sovereignity over their "subjects, land, and estates" at Shawomet. That the pair had few subjects was of little concern to the Massachusetts Bay Colony, because the land was what the English were really after. The land was arguably not the chiefs' to surrender, since it had already been sold by another chief of ostensibly superior jurisdiction to a faction of whites hostile to the Bay Colony. Pomham's subsequent anticolonial role in King Philip's War casts doubt on the extent of his "submission" to the English.

Reeling from the effects of epidemic disease and outnumbered by whites, many other tribes in eastern New England signed similar documents in order to obtain protection from Indian enemies or access to badly-needed European goods.

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