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War of 1812

The War of 1812 (which lasted from 1812 to 1814) was a military conflict between the United States and Great Britain. As a colony of Great Britain, Canada was swept up in the War of 1812 and was invaded a number of times by the Americans. The war was fought in Upper Canada, Lower Canada, on the Great Lakes and the Atlantic, and in the United States. The peace treaty of Ghent, which ended the war, largely returned the status quo. However, in Canada, the war contributed to a growing sense of national identity, including the idea that civilian soldiers were largely responsible for repelling the American invaders. In contrast, the First Nations allies of the British and Canadian cause suffered much because of the war; not only had they lost many warriors (including the great Tecumseh), they also lost any hope of halting American expansion in the west, and their contributions were quickly forgotten by their British and Canadian allies. Similarly, Black volunteers, including those in the Coloured Corps, received little recognition or reward for their service.

This exhibit tells the story of Canada’s defenders during the War of 1812.

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War of 1812

The War of 1812 (which lasted from 1812 to 1814) was a military conflict between the United States and Great Britain. As a colony of Great Britain, Canada was swept up in the War of 1812 and was invaded several times by the Americans. The war was fought in Upper Canada, Lower Canada, on the Great Lakes and the Atlantic, and in the United States. The peace treaty of Ghent (1814), which ended the war, largely returned the status quo. However, in Canada, the war contributed to a growing sense of national identity, including the idea that civilian soldiers were largely responsible for repelling the American invaders. In contrast, the First Nations allies of the British and Canadian cause suffered much because of the war; not only had they lost many warriors (including the great Tecumseh), they also lost any hope of halting American expansion in the west, and their contributions were quickly forgotten by their British and Canadian allies (see First Nations and Métis Peoples in the War of 1812).

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The War of 1812 (Plain-Language Summary)

The War of 1812 was fought between Britain and the United States between 1812 and 1814. The war ended in a stalemate but had many lasting effects in Canada. It guaranteed Canada’s independence from the United States. It also gave Canadians their first experience working together as a community and helped develop a sense of nationhood.

(This article is a plain-language summary of the War of 1812. If you are interested in reading about this topic in more depth, please see our full-length entry War of 1812.)

timeline

War of 1812 Timeline

The war of 1812 was a military conflict between the United States and Great Britain. As a colony of Great Britain, Canada was swept up in the War of 1812 and was invaded a number of times by the Americans. This timeline allows you to explore important events that occurred during the War of 1812 (which ended in 1815), as well as significant events that happened before and after the war.

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Battle of Lacolle Mill

First Skirmish at Lacolle Mill, 1812 This brief skirmish at Lacolle Mill (now Lacolle, Que) during the War of 1812 marked the end of the American campaign to invade Lower Canada and take Montréal in the fall of 1812.

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Battle of Mackinac Island

There were two Battles of Mackinac Island during the War of 1812, fought in 1812 and 1814; both were British victories over American forces. Mackinac Island is located at the confluence of Lake Huron and Lake Michigan.

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George Gleig

George Gleig, soldier, chronicler of the War of 1812 (b 20 Apr 1796 at Stirling, Scotland; d 9 Jul 1888).

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Racoon

Racoon was a 26-gun British sloop of war sent to seize Astoria, the American Pacific Fur Company post at the Columbia River mouth, and to establish an outpost there during the War of 1812.

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Voltigeurs of the War of 1812

Their commander was Major Charles-Michel de SALABERRY, formerly of the 60th (Royal American) Regiment of Foot. His family had a well regarded reputation for serving the British Army, and he had served with the British against the French in the West Indies and at Walcheren.

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Capture of Detroit, War of 1812

On 12 July, Hull crossed the Detroit River unopposed and occupied Sandwich (Windsor). On 20 July, the general issued a bombastic proclamation to the Canadian militia to throw off their British shackles and embrace American liberty. Reconnaissance revealed that Amherstburg was weakly defended.

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Ships of the War of 1812

The war on the water was an essential, if not the most important, aspect of the WAR OF 1812. Great Britain was obviously at a disadvantage geographically when trying to defend its colony Canada in a conflict with the United States.

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Elaine Young

Elaine Young is completing her PhD in History at the University of Guelph, where she studies issues of conflict and memory. Her dissertation examines War of 1812 battlefields in Ontario’s Niagara Region as sites of commemoration and of recreation. She has spoken to a wide range of audiences about the legacy of the War of 1812, and has written several popular and academic articles.