Digital History

18th Century

The Fate of Native Americans Previous Next
Digital History ID 3594



As a result of the Seven Years’ War, Native Americans were no longer able to play the French off against the British and found it increasingly difficult to slow the advance of white settlers into the western parts of New York, Pennsylvania, North and South Carolina, and Virginia. To stop encroachments on their lands in the Southeast, the Cherokees attacked frontier settlements in the Carolinas and Virginia in 1760. Defeated the next year by British regulars and colonial militia, the Cherokees had to allow the English to build forts on their territory.

Indians in western New York and Ohio also faced encroachment onto their lands. With the French threat removed, the British reduced the price paid for furs, allowed settlers to take Indian land without payments, and built forts in violation of treaties with local tribes. In the spring of 1763, an Ottawa chief named Pontiac led an alliance of Delaware, Seneca, Shawnee, and other western Indians in rebellion. Pontiac's alliance attacked forts in Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin that Britain had taken over from the French, destroying all but three. Pontiac's forces then moved eastward, attacking settlements in western Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, killing more than 2,000 colonists. Without assistance from the French, however, Pontiac's rebellion petered out by the year's end.

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