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Treaty of Casco (1678) brought to a close the war between the eastern Indians and English settlers. There is no surviving copy of the treaty or the proceedings. Historians are forced to rely on a summary by Jeremy Belknap in his 1784 History of New Hampshire [1]



Most of Maine's English settlers were scattered among in settlements strung out along the coast or lower rivers. The Wabanaki north and east of the Kennebec River formed alliances with the French through the fur trade. By 1670 Indian frustration with trade abuses, land encroachments, rum dealing, and free-roaming English livestock in their cornfields had increased.


In 1678 the provincial government of New York, which controlled Maine between 1677 and 1686, signed the Treaty of Casco.[2] The treaty sought to re-establish the friendly relations between the Indians and settlers that had characterized the northern settlements previous to the outbreak of King Philip's War in 1675. Based on the terms of the accord, all captives were to be surrendered without ransom. The treaty also recognized English property rights, but stipulated that the English should give the Indians one peck of corn annually for each family settled on Indian lands, with the exception of Maj. Phillips of Saco, a great proprietor, who was required to give a bushel for each Native American family. This land use tax symbolized continuing Abenaki sovereignty over Maine. The treaty also provided for closer government regulation of the fur trade.[3]

The Pokanoket tribe was prevented from signing the Treaty by an English bounty placed on the lives of every Pokanoket over the age 14. [4] Some argue that the Treaty of Casco included the Pokanoket Tribe in absentia, drawing on other landmark court rulings which rely on statutes concerning the "operation of law".

The Treaty included establishing Fort Charles at Pemaquid.[5]

Unfortunately, settlers refused to abide by the terms of the Treaty of Casco. Traders continued unfair practices. Settlers placed nets across the Saco River, preventing fish from migrating upriver to the Wabanaki villages, and livestock ruined Indian corn. Negotiations and further treaty attempts, including the Treaty of Casco (1703) were not successful and confrontations continued.[6]



  1. ^ Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 13(1873–5):341; Jeremy Belknap, The History of New-Hampshire (Philadelphia: Robert Aitken, 1784), 1:158–9
  2. ^ "Settlement and Strife", Maine Historical Society
  3. ^ Maine Historical Society, Maine History Online, "1668-1674: Settlement and Strife", p. 3 of 4,
  4. ^ As a result of the bounty, the Pokanokets fled, many were executed or forced to sign contracts of indentured servitude, and the survivors went into hiding, identifying themselves by using the general term Wampanoag, which included dozens of tribes. Some original Pokanokets fled North to continue their fight against the colonists. Despite the bounty, many attended Church services to gather and continue to foster their culture and Royal Line, which continues until the present day.
  5. ^ Story of Pemaquid
  6. ^ Maine Historical Society, Maine History Online, "1668-1674: Settlement and Strife", p. 3 of 4,



  • Pokanoket Tribe - official site of the modern day tribe and headship of the Royal House of the Seven Crescents of the Pokanoket/Wampanoag Nation and tribe.

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