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Massasoit, Wampanoag Sachem

Massasoit's fair dealing with the Pilgrims allowed the colony of Massachusetts Bay to survive.

Massasoit statue in Plymouth MA.
Massasoit (1580-1661)


Among New England's most powerful Indian rulers, Massasoit (1580-1661), also called Ousamequin ("Yellow Feather"), was sachem (chief) of the Wampanoag people when the Pilgrims landed in Plymouth in 1620.

Massasoit was born in the village of Pokanoket, near present-day Bristol RI.

By signing a treaty with the Pilgrim settlers of Plymouth in 1621, and by faithfully observing its provisions, Massasoit guaranteed that the fledgling colony of Massachusetts Bay would survive.

Luckily for the Pilgrims, the treaty kept the Wampanoags neutral during the Pequot War of 1636.

Plymouth founding father Edward Winslow, and Roger Williams (founder of Providence RI), were among Massasoit's friends and admirers.

Until his death in 1661, Massasoit remained a friend an ally of the Pilgrims.

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