Revenge for the French
The beginning of the eighteenth century for the French colonists was successful. They confidently expanded their influence on the tribes who lived near the Great Western Lakes. And they did it not with fire and sword, but with the help of diplomacy. Unlike the Englishmen, who perceived the Indians as savage barbarians and communicated with them with contemptuous arrogance, the French played the role of a “good cop”. Accordingly, the Indians more willingly adopted the Christian faith from the latter. Influenced by the fact that the French Jesuits did not try to impose their dogmas to the savages. On the contrary, they tried to adapt them to the worldview of the Indians. This attitude of many tribes of North America appreciated and began to consider the representatives of the "black mantle" their brothers.
The British were annoyed and jealous of this development. The British Adair wrote: “Instead of enlightening the Indians, these monks seduced their minds. Instead of love, peace and kindness, as befits the true proclaimers of the word of God, they taught them black hatred of all English. Soon our fellow citizens are aware of the true essence of the recent Quebec Act, and God forbid, come the time when Britain will drive these black croaking toads away from Canada, to their darling Pope. "
On the side of England were the Six Nations, and for France the population of the Great Lakes, that is, Chippev, Ottawa and Potawatomi. And just as much as the British and French hated each other, so did the Indian tribes hate each other.
But military luck was still on the side of Britain. Under the contract from 1760, all the French forts located at the Great Lakes became the property of Britain. The Indians painfully perceived what had happened and decided to avenge the "croaking" allies. At the head of the union of the Western tribes rose Pontiac, the Ottawa leader.
The beginning of the uprising
After News on the agreement, the detachment of Major Rogers came to the territory of the Great Lakes, which was heading to Detroit - the main fortress in those parts. The Englishman and the leader met. Rogers saw in front of him "a man of noble appearance, with the manners of a real ruler." During the conversation, Pontiac asked the Englishman why he came to his land. Rogers talked about his journey to Detroit, and also assured the leader that his people would not do anything wrong. Then the Briton cautiously asked if he could continue on his way. Pontiac replied: "Until tomorrow morning, I am on your way."
But still the leader decided not to start a fight ahead of time. Therefore, Rogers and his men continued on their way. Moreover, Pontiac even provided them with several warriors for protection. This service, which the Indian colonialists rendered, in fact did not cost him anything. But he was able to demonstrate to the British his loyalty, even if it is assumed. Pontiac himself did not stop thinking about a plan to unite all the indigenous inhabitants of the lands near the Great Lakes, who were friends with France.
When Pontiac began to turn his vision into reality, his impeccable reputation helped him. The tribal leaders (Chippewa, Potavatm, Miami, Huron, Shawani, and others) easily agreed to join his army, because they knew that Pontiac was brave, wise, and cunning. Moreover, even the British allies - the Delaware and the Iroquois - began to waver. It ended with the fact that they allocated several troops to Pontiac.
In 1763, the preparation for the uprising was completed. Under the command of Pontiac, a large and strong army assembled, capable of driving the British colonialists out of the lands they occupied. And in the summer the Indians went on the offensive.
Numerous European merchants, of course, saw that the Indians abruptly began to gather forces in a fist. They broadcast disturbing news to the English fortifications, but the commandants only waved it off. No one believed that Indians ever quarreling among themselves were able to unite for the sake of one goal. And Pontiac did his best to keep the impending offensive a secret. And he succeeded. Therefore, when in the summer his army attacked the British, most of the forts were captured literally in a few days. And the Indians either garrisoned or captured. In total, in a short time Pontiac managed to capture about a dozen military and trade posts of the British. Michilimakinak, the largest fortification after Detroit, could not resist. Moreover, the Indians took this fort by cunning.
A few days before the attack began, several hundred Chippewa and Sauk came to the fort. According to legend, they wanted to please the English with their traditional ball game in honor of the birthday of the King of England. The Indians even called him "the great white father" to show their respect for the "chief" of the colonists. The British, of course, were surprised and delighted, but the horde of the Redskins were not allowed into the fort. Therefore, the Indians settled near the walls of the fortress. When the time came "X" around reigned noise and fun. Soldiers, passionate about the game, lost caution. Suddenly, as if by chance, the ball flew into the open gates of the fort (according to another version, it flew over the wall). And hundreds of Indian players immediately rushed to Michilimakinak. As soon as they were inside, the red men attacked the bewildered British. In that transient battle, about seventy Britons died and underwent scalping. Twenty more people were captured. According to the recollections of a certain Mr. Henry, who managed to escape in the house of a French merchant, “unbridled, diabolical rage seized the attackers, that they cut the English into pieces and patted their blood like wild beasts.”
Success inspired Pontiac. And he decided that it was time to go to the main fortress of the British - Detroit. The fort was well fortified with blockhouses, and the garrison consisted of one hundred and thirty experienced and well-armed soldiers. Pontiac understood that Detroit couldn’t take it with impudence - there was not enough strength and skill. Therefore, I began to develop a plan. The leader of the Indian uprising knew that it was this fortress that was the key to victory. If he could have captured Detroit, the days of the British in the Great Lakes would be numbered.
Treason and defeat
The idea of Pontiac was both simple and cunning. He wanted with the squad of the most experienced and courageous warriors to call the commandant and his officers for negotiations. Then shoot them from the edges, hidden under clothing. As soon as the British commanders would be finished, the army would go on the attack of the fortress. But then the human factor intervened, so to speak.
The commandant of Detroit, Major Gledwin, learned of the plan of the Indian chief.
Happy Pontiac sent him a message calling to meet for negotiations. And in the evening, Squaw came to Gledoin, who brought him moss-leather moccasins. Then she told the major about the plan of her leader. Why the woman decided to warn the Englishman is not known for sure. According to one version, she was his mistress, and at the same time an informant. According to another, the squaw thus paid him for some service. And Gleduin decided to outwit Pontiac.
The next morning, Pontiac, along with his bodyguards, entered the fort. As soon as the gate closed, the drums sounded. At the same instant, the English soldiers sent muskets and sabers on the Indians. Gledwyn walked up to Pontiac and pulled a loaded bleed from under his clothes. Native American leader failed. But Gledwyn behaved to the highest degree noble. Instead of killing or at least captivating Pontiac, he let him go.
Once free, the leader ordered to besiege Detroit. Despite the actions of the enemy, Pontiac was not going to give up his plan. Moreover, he sent several warriors to search for the families of the colonists who lived near the fortress. Since they could come to their aid, the leader ordered to kill all the found pale faces. So the innocent families of the English who lived near Detroit became victims.
Soon the fortress was on the verge of death. Tired soldiers, who were on guard without rest, literally fell asleep on the go. In addition, food began to run out. Although several French traders resided in Detroit, they did not want to help the Indians. But Pontiac counted on their help, but he had to put up with the neutrality of the Europeans.
When the position of Detroit became critical, a miracle occurred. With the battle in the fort, British soldiers from the fortress of Niagara managed to break through. True, it was possible to do this only at the second attempt. For the first time, the Indians sank most of the boats, interrupting and capturing most of the British. But the soldiers from Niagara still managed to convey the news: France lost the war to the British and concluded the Peace of Paris with them. But Pontiac did not believe it, deciding that it was a trick.
Exhausted garrison of Detroit increased by fifty soldiers, and most importantly, the soldiers from Niagara brought with them food. The author of "Indian Biography" Mr. Thatcher in the book cited letters besieged. Here is what one of the defenders of Detroit wrote at the beginning of July 1763: “... How does it feel every day to hear that savages kill, freshen and roast our comrades? How do you see mutilated corpses floating down the river? And Mr. Pauli, who miraculously escaped from their clutches, told me that he had seen the skin of Captain Robertson in one of them. ”
At the end of the same July, about three hundred more fighters, including the famous "Rogers Rogers", managed to break through to Detroit. Commanded the soldiers captain Daliell. Having received such a powerful reinforcement, Gledouin decided on a sally, hoping to break through the encirclement and inflict a serious blow on the Indians (according to another version, Diliel insisted on attacking). But Pontiac somehow found out about the plan of the commandant, so they waited for the British. At the bridge Bladi Bridge, the British were ambushed. That fight reduced the number of Detroit defenders by almost a hundred people. Captain Daliell was also killed. Having won a landslide victory, Pontiac, however, was in no hurry to develop it. Instead of the alleged assault, the leader ordered only to continue shelling the fortress.
While the siege was on, Pontiac conducted a relentless search for a traitor, who told Gleduin about the leader’s original plan. And soon I learned the truth. That squaw turned out to be a Pontiac tribeswoman, whose name in European style was Katherine. The leader did not kill her.
Instead, he made her an outcast and an object of contempt for all the tribes who joined the rebellion. Gleduin, fearing that the Indians would kill the English hostages, did not intervene and try to save Catherine. The girl was kicked out in disgrace. It is known that she lived only a few years after that event. Alcohol addiction sent her to the grave ...
After these events, Pontiac sent a messenger to the French fort of De-Chartreuse, hoping to enlist their support. But the Allies confirmed that the war was over. Continuing further siege was pointless. And the leader had to conclude a truce with Gledouin. October 31 Pontiac lifted the siege and headed for his hunting camp located in Indiana.
This was followed by several violent clashes between rebel Indians and the British. The success was celebrated by the Europeans. In negotiations with the British, who were held at Wiatenon, Pontiac agreed to bury the hatchet and never again fight with the colonists. The same decision he confirmed in Detroit. And soon, instead of the French flag, the British rose over Fort De Chartreuse. The very same fortress began to be called "Union Jack".
At this uprising was officially completed. But the defeat caused serious damage to the reputation of Pontiac. He was no longer respected by his own fellow tribesmen and former allies. So much so that the leader hit the Black Dog with a knife, the head of the clan of Peoria. And although the Indian survived, they did not succeed in reconciling the two leaders. Fearing revenge, Pontiac moved to northern Illinois. And soon rumors spread that he was preparing a new uprising. However, this turned out to be a lie, the Ottav leader resigned himself to defeat. He realized that he could not cope with the British.
Death of the leader
So Lee Saltzman described the death of Pontiac: “In April, 1769 Pontiac arrived in St. Louis to see his old friend Saint-Ange, who now worked for the Spaniards. Interestingly, he was in the French form, presented to him in 1757 by Marquis Moncalm. A few days after his arrival, he expressed a desire to visit the village of Cahokia, where the French and the Illini lived side by side. Saint-Ange tried to keep him, warning of the danger, but the leader relied on his bodyguards. 20 April he appeared in Cahokia; The guests stayed at the English trader Williamson. There was also a young Peoria warrior named Pina, who came to the ill-fated Black Dog's nephew. Having seized the moment when Pontiac was on the street without protection, Pina crept behind him and hit the tomahawk in the back of the head, then, for loyalty, he slashed the fallen man with a knife and disappeared. The guards rushed to look for him, but the village owners, under the pretext of disturbing the order, drove them away. Saint-Anne buried Pontiac with honors on a hill towering above St. Louis. The exact location of the tomb of the Indian chief remained unknown. It was rumored that Williamson bribed Pinu with a barrel of whiskey, but it was difficult to prove the involvement of the British in the murder. ”
After the death of Pontiac between the Indian tribes began a protracted war. The combined forces of the Ottawa, Ojibwe, Potawatomi, Kikapu, Fox, Sauk, Mascuten and Winnebago opposed the perfidious Illini (especially against the Peoria clan). There was no chance for salvation from the native tribe of Ping. Almost all the representatives of this people were destroyed.
After these events, despite the victory over the enemy, the Ottawa tribe began to decline. This was facilitated by the British, who did not forget about the uprising of Pontiac and decided to take revenge. They infringed their trade rights and tried to survive from their native lands. Moreover, this was true even for the Ottawa clans, which did not support Pontiac.
In the end, one of the Britons handed over a copper box to the Ottawa representatives, ordering them to be opened as soon as they returned home. The Indians did so. Inside was an unknown brown powder ... And after a short time, almost the entire tribe living in northern Michigan was mowed down by a terrible smallpox epidemic.