Wampanoag people, Wopanaak in the Wampanoag language, are a Native American tribe. Wampanoag people today are enrolled in two federally recognized tribes, the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) of Massachusetts, or four other tribes, recognized by the state of Masschusetts. In the beginning of the 17th century, at the time of first contact with the English, the Wampanoag lived in southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island, as well as within a territory that encompassed current day Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. Their population numbered in the thousands due to the richness of the environment and their cultivation of corn, beans and squash. Three thousand Wampanoag lived on Martha's Vineyard alone. From 1616 to 1619 the Wampanoag suffered an epidemic of what researchers now believe was leptospirosis, a bacterial infection also known as Weil's syndrome or 7-day fever. It caused a high fatality rate and nearly destroyed the society.
Contributions by Jackson06, Sewerrat, and Miskwito.