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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 also First Nations and Métis Peoples in the War of 1812.)

This article focuses primarily on land campaigns; for more detailed discussion of naval campaigns, see Atlantic Campaign of the War of 1812 and  War on the Lakes in the War of 1812. Additionally, this is a full-length entry on the War of 1812. For a plain-language summary please see War of 1812 (Plain-Language Summary).

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Battle of Lake Erie (Battle of Put-in-Bay)

The Battle of Lake Erie was a naval battle fought by the United States Navy and the British Royal Navy on 10 September 1813 in western Lake Erie during the War of 1812. Also known as the Battle of Put-in-Bay, the battle was an American victory. The event was unique in naval combat history because it was fought on an inland, freshwater sea, and it marked a turning point in the affairs of the two competing powers in the continental heartland and in waters above Lake Erie. It also had an impact on First Nations, notably on the ill-fated pan-Indigenous alliance headed by the Shawnee war chiefTecumseh.

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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.

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Battle of Mississinewa River

The Battle of Mississinewa River is considered a significant victory for the Americans during the War of 1812. In December 1812, American troops, led by General William H. Harrison, fought against the British-allied Miami, Indigenous peoples who traditionally occupied the lands that became the states of Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Michigan. The battle was in response to raids on American settlements at Fort Wayne and Fort Harrison in the Indiana territory. The primary aim of the battle was to remove the threat of attacks against the Americans.

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Battle of Mackinac Island

There were two Battles of Mackinac Island during the War of 1812. The first was fought in 1812 and the other, in 1814. Both were British victories over American forces. On 17 July 1812, British soldiers and their First Nations allies captured Fort Mackinac from the Americans. Mackinac was central to the fur trade in the Great Lakes. Britain and the US fought to control the area, and on 4 August 1814, the two sides clashed again on Mackinac Island, resulting in British victory. In 1815, the Treaty of Ghent ended to the war and restored peace to the area.

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Battle of New Orleans

The Battle of New Orleans (8 January 1815) has the unique distinction of being the last major battle of the War of 1812; it took place after the war was officially over. With the defeat of Napoleon in Europe, Britain could stop fighting a two-front war against both revolutionary France and the United States. Britain began to consolidate its forces in North America to deliver critical blows from both land and sea to the American forces in late 1814. Sadly, for the British, their ambition was forestalled by American gumption and a series of critical failures that prevented their amassed numbers from securing victory.

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Niagara River

The Niagara River, 58 km long, issues from Lake Erie and flows north over Niagara Falls to Lake Ontario. The river’s drainage area is about 684,000 km2, and its average flow at Queenston is 5,885 m3/s. The Niagara River forms part of the border between Canada and the United States.

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Laura Secord

Laura Secord, née Ingersoll, Loyalist, mythologized historic figure (born 13 September 1775 in Great Barrington, Massachusetts; died 17 October 1868 in Chippawa [Niagara Falls], ON).

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Niagara-on-the-Lake

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, incorporated as a town in 1792 and reincorporated in 1970, population 17,511 (2016 census), 15,400 (2011 census). The town of Niagara-on-the-Lake is located where the Niagara River enters Lake Ontario. In 1970, the old town of Niagara-on-the-Lake joined the Township of Niagara. The township included the villages of Virgil, Queenston, St. Davids, Homer and McNab. Together they became a regional town retaining the name Niagara-on-the-Lake.

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Wasaga Beach

Wasaga Beach, ON, incorporated as a town in 1974, population 24,862 (2021 census), 20,675 (2016 census). The Town of Wasaga Beach is located on the shores of Georgian Bay at the mouth of the Nottawasaga River, about 40 km northwest of Barrie. Wasaga Beach is the world's longest freshwater beach. The name was derived from the Nottawasaga River.

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Barrie

Barrie, Ontario, incorporated as a city in 1959, population 147,829 (2021 census), 141,434 (2016 census). Barrie is located at the head of Kempenfelt Bay, on the western edge of Lake Simcoe. Located within Simcoe County, Barrie shares borders with the municipalities of Oro-Medonte, Springwater, Essa and Innisfil. Throughout history, the Barrie area has been home to different Indigenous groups, namely the Huron-Wendat, Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabeg peoples. The land is covered by treaties 16 and 18.

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Tecumseh

Tecumseh, Shawnee chief, leader of a First Nations confederacy, military leader in the War of 1812 (born circa 1768 in south-central Ohio; died 5 October 1813 near Moraviantown [Thamesville, ON]). Tecumseh was leader of the First Nations confederacy that was formed to resist American intrusion on Indigenous land in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. When the War of 1812 broke out between the United States and Britain, Tecumseh and the confederacy allied with the British. He was killed at the Battle of the Thames in 1813. Tecumseh is remembered as a respected Indigenous warrior and major figure in the War of 1812. While his death was the end of serious resistance in the Northwest, Indigenous people continued to fight for their land and rights.

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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.)

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Battle of Queenston Heights

The Battle of Queenston Heights was fought during the War of 1812 on 13 October 1812. One of the most famous battles of the war, the Battle of Queenston Heights was the struggle for a portion of the Niagara escarpment overlooking Queenston, where more than 1,000 American soldiers crossed into Upper Canada. Part of the American force reached the top, circled the British artillery position and forced the British from the Heights. General Isaac Brock, one of the most respected British military leaders of his day, was killed leading a counter-attack. Mohawk chiefs John Norton and John Brant and about 80 Haudenosaunee and Delaware warriors held back the Americans for hours — long enough for reinforcements to arrive so that the British could retain the crucial outpost.