The Nipmuc Tribe had been around for centuries and had evolved. However, they would be decimated with diseases that would lead to a sharp drop in population.
Smallpox wiped out many of the Native Americans from 1617–1619, 1633, 1648–1649, and 1666. Influenza, typhus, and measles also afflicted the Native Americans throughout the period. The colonists, such as the writings of Increase Mather, attributed the decimation of the Native Americans to God's providence in clearing the new lands for settlement.
The Nipmuc, at the time of contact, was a fairly large grouping, subject to their more powerful neighbors who provided protection, especially against the Pequot, Mohawk, and Abenaki tribes that raided the area. The colonists depended initially on the Native Americans for survival in the New World, and the Native Americans rapidly began to trade their foodstuffs, furs, and wampum for the copper kettles, arms, and metal tools of the colonists.
Puritan settlers arrived in large numbers from 1620–1640, the 'Great Migration' which increased pressure to procure more land. Since the colonists had conflicting colonial and royal grants, the settlers quickly depended on Indian names on land deeds to mark legitimacy. This would not work out well.
The early colonists depended on the Natives for support. The natives helped them with agriculture and knowledge of the local economy. The colonists would usually offer protection with their advanced weapons. The protection would often be from other tribes that the natives were hostile to.
The colonists also wanted to convert the natives to Christianity but did not start this until after the Pequot War. Reverend John Eliot began to translate the Bible into the language of various tribes located in Massachusetts.
The experiment also began with the settlement of the Native Americans on the 'Indian plantations' or 'Praying towns.' The Native Americans were instructed in English farming methods, culture, and language but administered by Indian preachers and councilors often descended from the chiefly families.
The Native Americans melded Indian culture and English ways but were mistrusted by both the colonists and their non-converted brethren. The remnants of the plantations were sold off, and by the end of the 19th century, only the Cisco homestead in Grafton remained in possession of direct descendants of Nipmuc landholders. List of Indian Plantations (Praying towns) associated with the Nipmuc.
King Philips War
The Massachusetts Bay Colony passed many different pieces of legislation that alienated the non-converted Indians. This would continue to cause friction that would lead to the King Philip War. The Nipmuc would join the Wampanoag chief Metacomet and participate in the rebellion against the colonists.
The war would destroy many English towns, but it would not be the colonists who were the most at risk. The most at risk were the Native Americans who had moved to the Praying Towns and had converted to Christianity. This divided some of the natives as some would join the English while others would join the Native Americans.
The Native Americans lost the war, and survivors were treated as a common enemy. Some were executed, and some were sold into slavery in the West Indies.
The Nipmuc would return to their Praying Towns.
The Nipmuc people would begin to merge with others in the culture. This would commonly occur between African-American men and Native American-women since there was a gender disparity between the two ethnicities.
The Nipmuc people lost their land due to many reasons, such as Disease, Emigration, Intermarriage, War, and Conversion to Christianity.
By the 19th century, only a handful of pure-blood Native Americans remained, and Native Americans vanished from state and federal census records but are listed as 'Black,' 'mulatto', 'colored,' or 'miscellaneous' depending on their appearance.
The Nipmuc people would eventually be recognized by the state but not the Federal Government.