The History of Exploration of Sowams and New England

Starting with Leif Erickson’s exploration of the Newfoundland coast in 1,000 A.D., Europeans have been traveling to the coast of New England and Canada in search of fish, furs, and other resources as well as a route to China. At least twenty explorers’s found their way to North America from England and recorded their journeys. While the Pokanoket Tribe, living in Sowams around present-day Warren, RI, benefited from trade for European goods, by 1617, tribes along the coast began to suffer from a series of infectious diseases that killed as many as ninety percent of their population. The English Separatists who landed at Patuxet (Plymouth) in December, 1620 established the first permanent settlement in New England, though several earlier attempts where made that lasted about a year. Click here for a 20-minute video that details each of the explorations in sequence.

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