This Week in History
This Means War!
|For the week of Monday June 18, 2012
On June 18, 1812, the United States’ President James Madison declared war on Great Britain, thrusting Canadians into many bloody conflicts on both Canadian and United States’ soil, as well as at sea. The declaration was a result of a series of incidents between the two nations. Ending officially three years later in 1815, the conflict would become known as the War of 1812.
Maritime rights were not the only issue, and further disagreements unfolded in North America. Many Americans suspected that the British encouraged and financed Aboriginal resistance since the 1790s, led by the Shawnee Chief Tecumseh against settlements in the Ohio Valley, in an effort to stop American westward expansion. Other Americans could not bear to still have a British colony as their neighbour, and were confident that they could successfully invade Canada, to rid the continent of a British presence. The opening blows of the armed conflict were at the capture of Fort Michilimackinac on July 17, 1812, and the fighting continued on the Detroit River when Brigadier General William Hull invaded Upper Canada in that same month. By August, British and Canadian troops and Aboriginal warriors had forced Hull back to Detroit. On August 16 Tecumseh and Major-General Isaac Brock forced Hull’s surrender.
British, Canadian and First Nations victory at Fort Detroit was only the beginning of a long conflict. The War of 1812 is a significant event in Canada’s history. The war led to 76 designations of national historic events, sites and people across Canada, which most notably include Tecumseh, Isaac Brock, Laura Secord, and Queenston Heights, among many others.
This year is the bicentennial of the War of 1812! To learn more about the War of 1812, please read the stories: The British Lose Ground, Victory at Fort Detroit! and A Warrior's Death in the This Week in History archives. Commemorative events will take place all across Canada! For more information on the commemoration of the War of 1812, read Commemorating the War of 1812 on the Parks Canada website.
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