Pontiac's Rebellion was an uprising of Native American tribes against British forts in the Ohio Country and Great Lakes region.
At the conclusion of the French and Indian War, terms of the Treaty of Paris of 1763, left Great Britain in control of a vast new empire in North America. Most of the inhabitants of the newly acquired lands were hostile Natives, intent on maintaining what was theirs.
Colonists living on the Eastern Seaboard had other ideas. For them, the land on the other side of the mountains represented new opportunities for westward expansion. Sensing colonial ambitions, Ottawa Chief Pontiac and other American Indian leaders urged tribes in the Ohio Country and the Great Lakes region to resume warfare with the British.
The ensuing uprising, known as Pontiac’s Rebellion, Pontiac’s Conspiracy and Pontiac’s War began with an attack against Fort Detroit in May of 1763. Pontiac’s Rebellion was initially successful and American Indians captured most of the British forts in the area. However, they were never able to capture Fort Pitt or Fort Detroit and the rebellion against British rule gradually collapsed by the end of 1764.
Pontiac’s Rebellion had two major impacts on American history.
First, it underscored Britain’s weak hold on her new possessions, exposing a need for more troops in the West. Faced with massive debts incurred fighting the Seven Years’ War, British leaders responded by financing increased garrisons in North America with a new policy of directly taxing the colonies.
Second, fearful of becoming embroiled in a prolonged war with Native Americans to protect colonists eager to settle the Ohio Country, King George III issued the Proclamation of 1763. The King’s proclamation reserved the lands west of the crest of the Appalachians for the native inhabitants and forbade colonists from settling in the area.
Greatly resented throughout the colonies, the new tax policy and the Proclamation of 1763 illustrate a growing division between British and the American interests that ultimately led to the American Revolution.