Uncas, Sachem, 1590 - 1683

Uncas, son of Owaneco I and Mekunump, was the sachem of the Mohegan Indians during most of the 17th century. Uncas claimed paternal and maternal descent from Pequot and Narragansett sachems. In 1626, he married the daughter of Tatobaum, the ruling Pequot sachem. Despite this alliance, relations between the Mohegans and Pequots deteriorated quickly. The Pequot leadership forced Uncas and some of his deputies to flee their tribal territory to Narragansett protection, and Uncas responded by courting English support. During the Pequot War, Uncas served Connecticut forces as a guide through Pequot country and was present at the Mystic fort massacre. After the war, he maintained a firm friendship with John Mason, who, in turn, became the Mohegan's guardian. Like his contemporaries at Narragansett and Niantic, Uncas sought to extend his jurisdiction over Pequot country by strategic marriage alliances, military offensive—especially against the Narragansett—and skillful diplomacy. He was successful, for a time, in securing a portion of Pequot captives and a good portion of Pequot land. He was often called to account for himself before the Commissioners of the United Colonies and the General Court at Hartford. Uncas had a number of children Owaneco, Attawanhood, John, Ben, and at least one daughter.  Because of Fennimore Cooper's anachronistic The Last of the Mohicans (1826), he survives in the historical imagination as the prime example of the disappearing Native American. Michael L. Oberg, Uncas, First of the Mohegans (New York: Cornell University Press, 2003). Charles Orr, History of the Pequot war; the Contemporary Accounts of Mason, Underhill, Vincent and Gardener (Cleveland, 1897).

c. 1590
c. 1683