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Class Year

2007

Abstract

Ravaged by war and in debt after its victory in the French and Indian War, Britain was not only recuperating, but rejoicing over the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1763. This treaty officially ended the fighting and gave Britain all of the land east of the Mississippi River, formerly owned by the French. The ink on the treaty was barely dry when a new insurgence arose in British occupied North America. Native Americans, dissatisfied after the war with their position as conquered people and not as allies, rebelled collectively against British colonists and forts along the frontier. Before the war had started, the French had traded and lived among the Native Americans, but perhaps most importantly, they had given them presents to show respect and diplomacy. The Native Americans had grown accustomed to this act of friendliness and when Britain, in debt after the war, wanted to considerably reduce the number of gifts given, there were severe consequences. In 1763, the Native Americans led an insurgence, commonly called Pontiac’s Rebellion because of Pontiac, the Ottawa leader. This insurgence would culminate in the first extensive multi-tribal resistance to European colonization in America. In response to Britain’s new policies, the Native Americans took ten of their forts, which led not only to excess in conflict, but to the British exposing smallpox blankets onto the Native Americans.

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