Colonial Expansion and the Transition of Land

Colonial Expansion and the Transition of Land

When the British colonists landed in North America at the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts, they lived peacefully with Native Americans for about 60 years before tensions escalated into King Philip’s War. King Philip’s War resulted from the resentment of colonial expansion and almost ended the colonial presence in the area. Ultimately, the Native Americans were forced off their ancestral land and extensive colonial expansion began to be promoted.


5 - 8


Geography, Human Geography, Social Studies, U.S. History, Storytelling

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Ideas for Use in the Classroom

Introduce the lesson by summarizing the traditional tale of Thanksgiving, or of cooperation and friendship between Native Americans and English colonists. Show students the maps of Wampanoag Territory and the New England colonies in 1677, and have them report out how the area changed after the English colonists arrived.

Explain that the Wampanoag are part of the Algonquin people and among the first of the Native Americans to encounter those colonists. Therefore, the interaction between them was the first attempt of both groups to live together peacefully, and for a while, they succeeded.

Show the map “Growth of Colonial Settlement,” displaying it next to the first two maps, to show historical order. Introduce the idea of using maps as a storytelling device. As a class, outline the story of the European/Native American interaction in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, using information from the maps. Then have students state their predictions of what happened between the Wampanoag and the colonists that led to colonial expansion.

Were their predictions correct? Use the articles below to explain the conflicts that took place between the Wampanoag and the colonists and that led to King Philip’s War. Describe the major events of the conflict, pointing out the locations in the conflicts and noting the range of territory involved.

Media Credits

The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit. The Rights Holder for media is the person or group credited.

Tyson Brown, National Geographic Society
National Geographic Society
Production Managers
Gina Borgia, National Geographic Society
Jeanna Sullivan, National Geographic Society
Program Specialists
Sarah Appleton, National Geographic Society, National Geographic Society
Margot Willis, National Geographic Society
Clint Parks
Roza Kavak
Last Updated

January 22, 2024

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