Wampanoag means “eastern people.”
In 1600 the Wampanoag were as many as 12,000 with 40 villages divided roughly between 8,000 on the mainland and another 4,000 on the offshore islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. The three epidemics which swept across New England between 1614 and 1620 were especially devastating to the Wampanoag with mortality in many mainland villages (i.e. Patuxet) reaching 100%.
When the Pilgrims landed in 1620, fewer than 2,000 mainland Wampanoag had survived. The island Wampanoag were protected somewhat by their relative isolation and still had 3,000. At least 10 mainland villages had been abandoned after the epidemics, because there was no one left. After English settlement of Massachusetts, epidemics continued to reduce the mainland Wampanoag until there were only 1,000 by 1675.
published by One Small Candle (Plymouth)
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