The Pequot War significance in history was that it tipped the balance of military power to the English, instead of the Dutch, opening the way to New England’s settlement by the British in the New World.

Pequot War Significance

Each colony negotiated with the Indians, who were all too happy to sell land—a commodity that they enjoyed in great abundance, particularly considering the sparseness of the North American population at the time. “In return,” writes legal scholar James Warren Springer, “the white man offered metal knives, hoes, and other implements of rare value to a neolithic society; in lieu of these the Indian might ask for cloth, clothing, jewelry, and other luxuries to brighten his life. The native often took the initiative in such transactions, for he coveted the white man’s goods as keenly as the settler yearned for more land.”


The Puritans recognized Indian hunting and fishing rights on lands that the Indians had sold to them. In fact, it would have been foolish for the Puritans not to allow hunting rights to the Indians, since they themselves were not hunters, and recognition of Indian hunting rights on Puritan lands meant that the Indians could acquire the beaver skins that the
Puritans were so anxious to have. And although disputes occasionally arose, New England courts frequently ruled in favor of
Indian litigants who alleged that agreed-upon boundaries were not being observed. The colonists did believe that deserted or desolate land could be occupied by whoever discovered it, but this idea was never used to dispossess Indians of their lands; such land was even returned to Indian owners who later presented themselves.

Self-government is non-negotiable

The colonists were wary of joining intercolonial confederations, unless for practical purposes, and if the unions were limited and did not infringe on each colony’s self-government. In 1643, the Confederation of New England was formed in case of conflict with the Indians. Even so, Massachusetts established the principle that each colony held a veto over the actions of the Confederation.

Cite This Article
"Pequot War Significance" History on the Net
© 2000-2022, Salem Media.
December 8, 2022 <https://www.historyonthenet.com/pequot-war-significance>
More Citation Information.