The Proclamation of 1763

October 7, 1763 — A Cause of the American Revolution

The Proclamation of 1763 reserved the lands west of the crest of the Appalachian Mountains for the native inhabitants and prohibited colonists from settling in the area.

King George III, Painting

King George III issued the Proclamation of 1763, on October 7th, 1763. Image Source: Google Arts & Culture.

Proclamation of 1763 Summary

At the conclusion of the French and Indian War, the 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.

Pontiac, Illustration
Illustration of Chief Pontiac by John Mix Stanley. Image Source: Wikipedia.

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 Indians during the French and Indian War, nor with colonies that believed their charters entitled them to land grants from sea to sea. The Proclamation also canceled land grants that had been issued to land-speculating companies, including the Ohio Company of Virginia.

Ultimately, the urge to settle the rich lands of the Ohio Country proved too much for colonists to resist. Ignoring the Proclamation, squatters crossed the mountains, sparking further hostilities with the Indians.

Sensing the futility of trying to enforce the restrictions established by the Proclamation, Britain implemented a new policy of negotiating land acquisition in 1768 with the Treaty of Fort Stanwix.

Although the Proclamation of 1763 was never strictly enforced, it illustrated a growing division of interests between Great Britain and the American colonies that eventually helped lead to the American Revolution.

Facts About the Proclamation of 1763

The Proclamation of 1763 Was Issued After the French and Indian War

The Proclamation was issued on October 7th, 1763, after the French and Indian War.

Purpose of the Proclamation of 1763

The purpose of the Proclamation was to ease tensions between the British Colonies and Native American Indians, specifically tribes living West of the Appalachian Mountains.

It reserved lands west of the Appalachians for the Indian tribes and identified the territory as their Hunting Grounds.

The Proclamation Placed Restrictions on the Area West of the Appalachian Mountains

  • Settlers living west of the Proclamation Line were required to return to the east.
  • Colonists were prohibited from purchasing land from American Indians.
  • Trade with Native American Indians was limited to licensed traders.

The Proclamation Created Four New British Colonies in the Americas

It created four new territories that were open to settlement:

  1. Quebec
  2. East Florida
  3. West Florida,
  4. Grenada

Groups who opposed the Proclamation of 1763

  • Colonists who fought in the French and Indian War, who believed they had fought to secure the land for the colonies.
  • Colonies whose charters granted them land from sea to sea.
  • Colonists who were eager to settle the Ohio Country.
  • Land speculators in the colonies, and in Britain, who hoped to profit from the sale of the lands.

Proclamation of 1763 APUSH Review

Use the following links and videos to study the Proclamation of 1763, Pontiac’s Rebellion, and the American Revolution for the AP US History Exam. Also, be sure to look at our Guide to the AP US History Exam.

Proclamation of 1763 Definition APUSH

The Proclamation of 1763 for APUSH is defined as a royal decree issued by King George III of Great Britain that established the boundary between British and Indian territory in North America following the end of the French and Indian War. The proclamation prohibited British subjects from settling west of the Appalachian Mountains, which were designated as Indian territory. The proclamation was seen by many colonists as a threat to their expansionist ambitions and a violation of their rights as British subjects. It was a cause of the American Revolution.

Proclamation of 1763 Video for APUSH Notes

This video from George Washington’s Mount Vernon discusses the Proclamation of 1763 as a cause of the American Revolution.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations, including APA Style, Chicago Style, and MLA Style.

  • Article Title The Proclamation of 1763
  • Date October 7, 1763
  • Harry Searles
  • Author Randal Rust
  • Keywords Proclamation of 1763, Pontiac's Rebellion, King George III
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date May 27, 2024
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update October 27, 2023

Taxonomies