What was the Proclamation of 1763?

Portrait of King George III by Allan Ramsay. Image Source: Google Arts & Culture.

The Proclamation of 1763 reserved the lands west of the crest of the Appalachian mountains for the Native American Indian tribes, and prohibited colonists from moving west.

After the French and Indian War, the French gave up their claim to lands east of the Mississippi River. This was part of the Treaty of Paris, which was signed on February 10, 1763. The Indians did not trust the British and were concerned colonists would settle on their lands and continue to push them westward.

Soon after, the Indian tribes began a series of loosely coordinated attacks on British forts and settlements. The first attack came on May 9, 1763, when the Ottawa tribe attacked Fort Detroit. The attack was led by the Ottawa chief, Pontiac. These attacks are collectively known as Pontiac’s Rebellion.

The British government attempted to reduce tensions by crafting legislation that would put the Indians at ease. The result was the Proclamation of 1763, which established the Proclamation Line. The Proclamation Line attempted to establish the geographical boundaries of colonial settlement and prohibited colonists from settling west of the Appalachian Mountains.

On October 7, 1763, the British Board of Trade, with the approval of King George III, issued the Proclamation. Ultimately, the Proclamation was a failure, as the urge to move west proved to be too much for colonists to resist.

The Proclamation was nullified and ended when the Treaty of Paris, which ended the American Revolution, was signed on September 3, 1783, and ceded the land between the Appalachian Mountains and Mississippi to the United States. The Treaty of Paris was ratified by the Congress of the Confederation on January 14, 1783.