Haughty Conquerors: Amherst and the Great Indian Uprising of 1763

By William R. Nester | Go to book overview

Introduction

Do not be angry father, you are going to the other side of the great lake. We shall get rid of the English.

-- Indian reply to Captain Pierre Pouchot when he criticized them for abandoning the French, 17601

Although that anonymous Indian's role in the uprising from 1763 to 1764 known as Pontiac's War can never be known, his words were prescient. During that time a loose coalition of tribes from the Appalachian Mountains to the Mississippi River and from the Ohio valley to the Great Lakes did briefly manage to "rid" themselves of nearly all the British in their midst. Indeed, that effort ranks with the 1680 Pueblo revolt as the most successful Indian war in Native American history. Not only did they assault and capture nine frontier forts, kill as many as 2,500 whites, and besiege Forts Detroit and Pitt for months, but, most importantly, they negotiated a peace with the British that realized most of their demands. Nonetheless, those Indians would only briefly savor their victory.

What sparked that uprising against British rule imposed only three years earlier? Britain's conquest of New France in 1760, codified by the 1763 Treaty of Paris, terrified virtually all Indians east of the Mssissippi River. In the previous century and a half of expanding French and British settlement in North America, most of the tribes that had survived the epidemics and wars brought by the Europeans had actually prospered. By playing off those imperial powers against each other, they extracted the best trade and alliance terms from both. Indian living standards had risen with the meshing of

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