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"The Lenape Origins of an Independent America..." Topic


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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP13 Mar 2020 10:28 p.m. PST

…THE CATALYST OF PONTIAC'S WAR, 1763–1765

"In the wake of the Seven Years' War in North America, the costly British triumph seemed complete. Thus, when a coda to the Seven Years' War erupted in the interior of North America, it came as an unwelcome shock to the British Empire. War broke out anew, nominally led by the Ottawa chieftain Pontiac, who gathered members of many tribes in a combined war against British presence in the Great Lakes and Ohio region. One of the tribes that participated in what historians have called Pontiac's Rebellion or Pontiac's War was the Lenape, who laid an informal siege to Fort Pitt in western Pennsylvania. Lenape attacks disrupted settlement in central and western Pennsylvania and cut off trade and contact with the fort for several months, until a relief expedition under Col. Henry Bouquet won the battle of Bushy Run in August 1763 and temporarily dispersed Lenape forces, relieving the siege. Even then, the war dragged on in a stalemate that stretched into 1765.

Although many historians have focused on Pontiac himself, Pontiac's War was as much a Lenape war as Pontiac's conflict. While the Lenape had signed the Treaty of Easton in 1758, renouncing their alliance with the French and concluding peace with the British, they renewed the war in 1763, responding to direct threats to their territory, disruption of their economy due to British stinginess and pettiness, and a spiritual movement that stressed a pan-Indian creation and sought revival in rejection of English corruption. In the wake of Gen. John Forbes's 1758 expedition against Fort Duquesne, which resulted in the French retreat from the Ohio country, Anglophone settlers poured into central and western Pennsylvania, displacing the Lenape and other nations or amalgamated groups. Rather than leaving the strategic Forks of the Ohio, the British rebuilt Fort Duquesne, calling it Fort Pitt. The Lenape thus faced a repetition of the circumstances that had pushed them into western Pennsylvania in the first place. British commander-in-chief Jeffrey Amherst's restrictive trade policies and unwillingness to remove British forts such as Fort Pitt in the wake of British triumph over the French also rankled. Not only did the Delawares and most other nations depend on European trade goods, but the customary "gifts" of diplomacy also represented a kind of tribute in return for permission to occupy Native land. Amherst abruptly stopped the practice of gift giving and restricted trade of such essentials as ammunition and guns, believing it would reduce the chance of Indian hostilities if Natives were unable to stockpile weaponry…"
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