The Proclamation of 1763 reserved the lands west of the crest of the Appalachian Mountains for the native inhabitants and forbid colonists from settling in the area.
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, a tribal coalition under the leadership of the Ottawa Chief Pontiac, resumed warfare with the British, attacking Fort Detroit in May of 1763. Pontiac’s Rebellion underscored Britain’s weak hold on her new possessions. Faced with massive debts incurred fighting a global war, British leaders had no desire to become embroiled in prolonged warfare with Native Americans to protect colonists eager to settle the Ohio Country.
As a result, King George III issued the Proclamation of 1763, on October 7th, reserving the lands west of the crest of the Appalachians for the native inhabitants and forbidding colonists from settling in the area.
The Proclamation did not sit well with colonists who had fought against the Natives during the French and Indian War, nor with colonies that believed their charters entitled them to land grants from sea to sea. Ultimately, the urge to settle the rich lands of the Ohio Country proved too much for colonists to resist. Ignoring the Proclamation, squatters poured across the mountains, sparking further hostilities with the Indian inhabitants.
Sensing the futility of trying to enforce the restrictions established by the Proclamation, Britain implemented a new policy of negotiating for land acquisition in 1768 with the Treaty of Fort Stanwix.
Although the Proclamation of 1763 was never strictly enforced, it illustrates a growing division of interests between Great Britain and the American colonies that eventually helped lead to the American Revolution.