How did the English Powhatan wars end?

Copper Indian badge, 1662

Copper Indian badge, 1662

The spread of settlement strained relations again by 1644. On April 18, Opechancanough launched a second major uprising, killing more than 400 colonists. Indian resistance was short-lived, however. Again, English retaliatory raids destroyed villages and cornfields, and the Indians hid in the forests. In 1646, the English captured Opechancanough and took him to Jamestown, where he was shot and killed. The remaining Powhatan people were defeated.

In 1646, Necotowance, Opechancanough’s successor, made a formal peace treaty with the Virginia government. The Indians had to pay an annual tribute to Virginia officials and withdraw from the James-York peninsula. All native messengers entering this English territory had to wear a special striped coat or face death. The Powhatan people experienced confinement to land north of the York River by the middle of the 17th century, losing critical access to traditional hunting and fishing grounds. A 1656 law required Indians to carry a pass or ticket whenever they wanted to hunt or fish or forage within the colonial designated areas. A 1662 law made them wear silver or copper badges inscribed with their tribe’s name whenever they entered these areas. Settlers were forbidden to encroach on designated Indian lands, but planters paid little heed as they ventured farther and farther north. For self-preservation, smaller tribal groups merged with larger ones, losing their independent identity.