Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Proclamation of 1764

 The Proclamation 
of 1764

Life in the 18th century was full of conflicts between the British and the Shawnee. During the French and Indian War, the Shawnee had fought alongside the French against the British. The Shawnee and French had been allies for a long time when the Seven Years War made it's way to the New World. The Native American tribes took different sides in the conflict supporting either the British or the French. After the French lost the war, the British took command of the French held territories and demanded all French citizens leave the colonies. Some of the French had married into Shawnee families. Unfortunately, this meant some of the Shawnee wives lost their husbands because they had married a Frenchman and could not come with their husband's to France.
The Shawnee had become so dependent upon European trade goods that they had no choice but to establish open trade with their enemies.  In 1763, King George III established the Proclamation of 1763. The Proclamation forbade colonists and governmental officials from crossing the Appalachian Divide. They could not enter into trade agreements with the native populations nor acquire land past the Treaty Line. Only traders who were certified by the government were allowed to trade with the native populations. 

While the idea of the Proclamation sounded good it actually caused many problems. The colonists, eager to expand the British empire westward, didn't fully support their king's proclamation. Some land speculators had portions of their land now identified as part of the Indian Reserve while some Native Americans were living east of the treaty line. Some settlers were already living west of the treaty line. 

Skirmishes between Native American groups and the colonists were inevitable. Pontiac's Rebellion (1763 - 1765) was a series of conflicts occurring between the two groups under the decisive leadership of the Ottawa Chief Pontiac. 

Pontiac's Rebellion officially ended when Chief Pontiac signed a peace treaty with the British Superintendent of Indian Affairs, Northern District, Sir William Johnson at Fort Ontario.