Here’s more from Planting an Empire on a pivotal moment in America’s racial history:
“Moving quickly from farm to farm, and frequently taking up tools and weapons readily at hands in colonists’ homes and fields along a one-hundred-mile stretch of the James River, warriors killed the English regardless of age or gender, burned fields and buildings, and slaughtered livestock. Employing many of the tactics that Dale had used before the 1614 truce, Indians killed 347 colonists, nearly one-third of the English population, and forced survivors to seek refuge in a handful of fortified settlements.
Yet even this brutal assault and the months of warfare that followed failed to dislodge the English. In fact, Opechancanough’s attack, which the English perceived as unprovoked, strengthened their resolve to occupy tidewater lands and establish themselves as overlords of the Chesapeake region. Ironically, the “great Massacre” removed the one constraint that had kept the English from pressing the advantage provided by their supply of weapons and growing numbers. Up until 1622, a persistent imperative to cast the Virginia as a godly mission to Christianize and civilize Native Americans dictated at least a veneer of humane treatment and moral behavior. Now the Company’s leaders abandoned all efforts to proselytize and ceased any negotiation for permission to settle in Indian territory. Instead, the colonists’ “first worke” henceforth would be “expulsion of the Salvages to gaine the free range of the countrey,” and they quickly reverted to Dale’s methods of subjugating the countryside through raids that destroyed villages and crops as well as people. …”
The 1622 attack on Jamestown was a turning point.
We’ve forgotten how common race war used to be in the past. The 1662 attack on Jamestown was the first race war. It was a White genocide. There were many others examples like King Philip’s War, Pontiac’s Rebellion, the Fort Mims Massacre and the Yamasee War which were seared into the minds of our ancestors and shaped the way they thought about race and identity.
In the video below, we learn an interesting story about Massasoit and the first Thanksgiving in New England which is remembered as this hackneyed story of racial harmony. Massasoit’s son was Metacom better known as King Philip who attempted to drive the Puritans into the sea. Similarly, the story of Pocahontas in Virginia is used to build a narrative of racial harmony. After Powhatan died in 1618, his brother Opechancanough attempted to exterminate the English in 1622.
Update: I just read about how the Powhatans launched a second devastating attack in 1644.
Note: Again, watch the Jill Lepore video. The Puritans in New England attempted to make multiculturalism work. They had these Indians towns full of Christian Indians. It was a source of pride for them that they weren’t like the cruel Spanish. Skip to 4:00.