The Sowams Heritage Area

By admin On August 31, 2023 Edit This

A Steering Committee comprised of a coalition of Pokanoket leadership; town planners; representatives of tourism entities, historical societies, and museums; and other volunteers is leading a feasibility study to consider development of a new National Heritage Area in MA and RI. The public is invited to learn more and become involved through by attending a public input session October, 3:00 p.m. on the 17th at the White Church in Swansea or on the 18th at 7:00 p.m. at Hope and Main, 691 Main Street in Warren. Go to Sowams.org for more information.

Click here or on the map below for interactive links to 53 Sowams locations and their descriptive pages.

Click here for a nine-minute flyover video of the Sowams Heritage Area.

Sowams was a rich land, described as a “garden” by Miles Standish and prized by the Native tribes for its rich soil, abundant wildlife and access to the water that provided their food. A treaty in 1621 between the Pokanoket Tribe and the Plymouth Colony set in place a fifty year period of peaceful relations. A breakdown in those relationships, however, followed Massasoit’s death in 1661 and led to the devastating two-year King Philip War and the eventual colonial domination of the land.

Over the next 150 years, the towns of Barrington, Bristol, East Providence, Providence, Rehoboth, Seekonk, Somerset, Swansea, and Warren were laid out in what was once Sowams, and nearly all traces of its original inhabitants were erased. What followed were years of continual development, the growth of towns, and the gradual loss of much of the original natural abundance that the colonist first encountered.

This web site is designed to identify the vestiges of that land prior to development and the evidence of the first steps in 17th century colonial occupation that transformed the Sowams Area into what we have today.

We invite you to explore the many remaining locations that can be identified and described on this site that still give evidence of Sowams in the 17th century and some of the important events that began the transformation of the land. We hope that your increased awareness of the history of this region will help you to appreciate not only what we once had but also what we still have that is essential to protect.

To learn more, simply click on any of the menu options at the top of each page and explore over 500 pages related to the 17th century history of the Sowams Heritage Area.

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