Treaty of Paris (1763)
Reproduction of an illustration depicting Pontiac, an Ottawa chief.
The Treaty of Paris ended the French and Indian War. For seven years Britain and its colonists had battled against the French and its American Indian allies. The war had originated in North America, but it quickly encompassed Europe, Africa, and India as well. Although the war had ended in 1760 in North America with Britain’s capture of Montreal, the conflict continued to rage in other parts of the world until 1763.
With the treaty’s signing, Britain received control of all French possessions in modern-day Canada as well as most of the territory east of the Mississippi River, including the Ohio Country. With Britain now in control, Native Americans in Ohio feared that colonists would move onto their lands, driving the natives further west as had occurred since the earliest British settlements in North America. To prevent this from taking place, Pontiac of the Ottawa natives formed an alliance with several other tribes and attempted to drive the British from west of the Appalachian Mountains in 1763. This was known as Pontiac’s Rebellion. The British ended the uprising. British authorities, already facing bankruptcy from the French and Indian War, sought to prevent further conflicts with the Native Americans because of the potential expense.
Britain issued the Proclamation of 1763, which forbade British colonists from living west of the Appalachian Mountains. It was hoped this would prevent further conflict, as the Proclamation would ease the Native Americans' fears. Unfortunately for the British government, many of its colonists became upset because the Proclamation prohibited them from moving to the Ohio Country. The colonists’ desire to move onto this land claimed by both Britain and France was a primary reason for the French and Indian War. Britain’s action convinced many colonists that Britain did not understand life in the New World and helped lead to the American Revolution.
- Hurt, R. Douglas. The Ohio Frontier: Crucible of the Old Northwest, 1720-1830. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1996.