Metacomet, also known as King Philip, was the leader of the Wampanoag Indians during King Philip's War, which led to the destruction of many of the New England tribes. He was the son of Chief Massasoit, the sachem that welcomed the Pilgrims to Plymouth Rock, and the brother to Alexander.
In the spring of 1660, Metacomet's brother, Wamsutta, appeared before the court of Plymouth to request that he and his brother be given English names. The court agreed, and Wamsutta had his name changed to Alexander, and Metacomet's was changed to Philip. The two were probably influenced to take these actions by the Christian convert from the Wampanoag tribe, John Sassamon.
Both John Sassamon and Alexander died, leaving Metacomet in charge without any buffer with the colonists. The colonists had been rapidly expanding their land and pushing into the natives' territory. There was much tension between the two sides, and it eventually boiled over into a three-year struggle known as King Philip's War.
As the colonists brought their growing numbers to bear, Metacomet and some of his followers took refuge in the great Assowamset Swamp in southern Massachusetts. He held out for a time with his family and remaining followers.
Hunted by a group of rangers led by Captain Benjamin Church, he was fatally shot by a praying Indian named John Alderman on August 12, 1676, in the Miery Swamp near Mount Hope in Bristol, Rhode Island. After his death, his wife and nine-year-old son were captured and sold as slaves in Bermuda. Philip's head was mounted on a pike at the entrance to Plymouth, where it remained for more than two decades. His body was cut into quarters and hung in trees. Alderman was given Metacomet's right hand as a reward.