The Massachuset was a confederacy of related tribes, such as the Massachuset proper, the Nauset, the Niponuc, and the Wampanoag. They were a relatively small tribe which only numbered around 3,000 people in early colonial times. The tribe was broken up into bands, each ruled by a separate sachem, or sub-chief. Diseases, mainly small pox, introduced by the whites, and wars with neighboring tribes diminished the Massachuset’s numbers considerably by 1618. Many of the Massachuset’s villages were empty by the time settlers moved into the area. In the 1640’s, the Massachuset no longer existed as a separate, independent tribe. Many of the survivors were moved into mission villages where they eventually blended into everyday colonial life.They occupied more than twenty villages near the Charles and Neponset rivers, in eastern Massachusetts to the eastern shore of the Narragonseth Bay in Rhode Island. Boston and it’s suburbs were once Massachuset. The Massachuset spoke the Algonquian language, which was the language and name of a North American tribe which inhabited areas of present day Quebec, Canada in the 17th century.