Pontiac's Rebellion Begins

Pontiac’s Rebellion began when a confederacy of Native American warriors under Ottawa chief Pontiac attacked the British force at Detroit. After failing to take the fort in the initial assault, Indian forces made up of Ottawas, Wyandots, Ojibwas and Potawatamis initiated a siege that lasted for months.

The French and Indian War came to an end in the early 1760s; Native Americans living in former French territory found the new British authorities far less friendly than the French had been.

In 1762, Pontiac enlisted support from practically every Indian tribe from Lake Superior to the Lower Mississippi for a joint campaign to expel the British from the formerly French lands. According to Pontiac’s plan, each tribe would seize the nearest fort and then join forces to wipe out the undefended settlements.

In April, Pontiac convened a war council near Detroit. It was decided that Pontiac and his warriors would approach the British fort at Detroit pretending to negotiate a peace treaty. Then they would seize the arsenal there. British Major Henry Gladwin learned about the plot, and the British were ready when Pontiac and his forces arrived, forcing Pontiac to begin a siege. At the same time, his allies in Pennsylvania began a siege of Fort Pitt, while other sympathetic tribes prepared to move against British forts and outposts in Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia.

On July 31, a British relief expedition attacked Pontiac’s camp but suffered heavy losses and were turned back. However, they succeeded in providing the fort at Detroit with reinforcements and supplies, allowing them to hold out against the Indians into the fall. The united tribes captured eight fortified posts, and nearby frontier settlements were destroyed.

In the spring of 1764, two British armies were sent out, one into Pennsylvania and Ohio and the other to the Great Lakes. One of the campaigns met with success, and the Delawares and the Shawnees were forced to make peace, breaking Pontiac’s alliance. Failing to persuade tribes in the west to join his rebellion and lacking the hoped-for support from the French, Pontiac finally signed a treaty with the British in 1766.

Source: Pontiac's Rebellion Begins
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