Contact with Europeans probably occurred at an early date, perhaps as soon as John Cabot in 1497, but they were

Face Painting Ceremony

first mentioned specifically by Captain John Smith when he explored the coast of New England in 1614. Disaster struck immediately afterwards in the form of three separate epidemics that swept across New England between 1614 and 1617 destroying 3/4 of the original native population. No organized groups of the Massachusett are known to have survived after 1800.