UNITED STATES HISTORY THROUGH FILM
The Last of the Mohicans

*The English colonists in America fought against the Indians from time to time in the 1600s, and as the Seventeenth Century drew to a close, European colonists in America and their Indian allies were increasingly drawn into European wars.  In North America King William’s War was fought from 1689-1697 and Queen Anne’s War from 1702-1713.

*The treaty that ended Queen Anne’s War did not really satisfy anyone in Europe, particularly because the British continued to smuggle goods into Spanish colonies in the Caribbean.  In 1731, a Spanish coastguard captain boarded the ship Rebecca, searched it for contraband, and, upon finding it, cut off the ear of the ship’s captain, Robert Jenkins.  Seven years later, Jenkins took the ear (which he had pickled and saved in a bottle) to Parliament, where Prime Minister Robert Walpole supposedly fainted upon seeing it.  England was already mad at Spain, so they declared war—the War of Jenkins’s Ear, which in and of itself did not solve anything, because it soon became part of a larger conflict.

*In December 1740, much of Europe went to war over whether a woman could rule an empire, when Maria Theresa of Austria inherited the throne from her father.  Britain (and many other countries) went to war to support her against Prussia and its many allies.  When the fighting spread to America in 1744, it was known as King George’s War.  During this war, militia from New England captured the important Fortress of Louisbourg in French Canada, but it was returned after the war, which many New Englanders resented.

*By the mid-1700s the British colonists in North America were increasingly jealous of the French, and the French were increasingly worried about the British.

*The British colonies in North America had grown rapidly since their foundation in the early 1600s, and by 1750 they had about 1,500,000 people in them.  However, they were confined to the eastern seaboard, with no settlement and little trade west of the Appalachian Mountains.

*In the 1600s and 1700s the French government had done little to encourage settlement in the New World, and had often placed many restrictions on it.  By 1750 there were about 50,000 French settlers in North America, mostly in a few large cities such as Quebec, Montreal, and New Orleans.  The rest were traders, trappers, and missionaries.  On the whole, though, they got along much better with the American Indians and, although few in number, laid claim to the vast territories of New France and Louisiana.

*British colonists increasingly coveted France’s possessions, particularly the rich lands of the Ohio River valley, which were also claimed by New York and Virginia.

*Not only did this area have rich farmland and good rivers for trade, but it was rich in furs, one of the most lucrative trade goods in America.  Furs were made into coats and other garments, or into felt that could be made into hats.

*Aware of Britain’s desire for land in the Ohio Country, the French began building forts in the Ohio River Valley.

*This was a problem for many prominent Virginians who had invested in the Ohio Company, which had been created for the purpose of claiming, selling, and settling the land of the Ohio River Valley.  Among the leaders of the Ohio Company were Lieutenant Governor Robert Dinwiddie and Lawrence and Augustine Washington.

*In 1753, the Ohio Company sent Lawrence and Augustine’s little half-brother George to investigate the French presence and tell them to leave.  He travelled to Fort Le Boeuf, just south of Lake Erie and demanded the French leave.  They refused and began construction of Fort Duquesne in what is now South-western Pennsylvania.

*When Washington returned to Virginia he was sent back with more militia to re-enforce another expedition already in the Ohio Country.   They approached Fort Duquesne in May 1754, ambushed a group of French soldiers sent out to order Washington back to Virginia, and defeated them.  After the battle, one of Washington’s Indian allies killed the officer in command of the French party.

*Knowing that many more French soldiers were stationed nearby in Fort Duquesne, Washington ordered his men to build a stockade that they named Fort Necessity.  The French (who outnumbered Washington about 600 to 400) attacked on 3 July, 1754, and on July 4th, Washington surrendered after losing a third of his men.

*Although Washington was defeated and sent back to Virginia, he showed such bravery under fire (and was one of the few Virginians to have fought the French at all) that his reputation continued to grow, and as the war continued, he led Virginia militia in defence of the frontier against the Indians.  However, he bore a grudge against the British who refused to recognise his colonial rank of colonel.  Many other American leaders also felt slighted by regular British officers (who, in turn, considered their own forces to be more professional).

*This was the beginning of the French and Indian War, which pitted the English and their Indian allies (such as the Iroquois and the Cherokee) against the French and their allies (such as the Huron and the Ottawa).

*In 1755, the British government sent Edward Braddock with two regiments of regulars to America.  When the French became aware of these plans, they sent 3,000 French regulars to defend Canada.

*Braddock planned to return to Fort Duquesne and capture or destroy it.  The French, meanwhile, had strengthened the fort and stationed more men there. 

*Braddock knew about these preparations thanks to British spies and friendly Delaware Indians, and he tried to bring many heavy artillery pieces (including some removed from Royal Navy ships) with him through the wilderness.  This involved cutting a road 110 miles long from western Maryland through the Allegheny Mountains into western Pennsylvania.

*Braddock led about 2,000 men, many of whom were or later became famous.  One of his wagon drivers was Daniel Boone and a number of future British and American officers during the Revolutionary War served with Braddock, including George Washington.

*Braddock’s large, slow-moving force attracted a lot of attention, and his men in their bright red uniforms were clearly visible in the woods.  On 9 July, 1755, Braddock was leading about 1,300 of his men in a column (the rest were further behind with the baggage) when they encountered a force of about 800 French and Indians (primarily Indians).

*This may have been a deliberate ambush, or it may have been a chance meeting that the French handled well and Braddock handled poorly.

*When Braddock’s foremost forces were surprised and began to retreat (leaving behind two small cannon that the French soon captured and turned against them), Braddock did not have his other soldiers wait until he knew the situation, but had them march forward, so the two groups collided.  Soon they were tangled in confusion and the French and Indians surrounded them and slaughtered them.

*Braddock was wounded and carried off the field.  Washington and other officers tried to rally the men, but the army was forced to retreat.  At least 500 British soldiers were killed and left to rot—their bleached bones were still visible to other armies passing through five years later.  At least as many more British soldiers were wounded.  Fewer than 40 French and Indians were killed or wounded.

*Braddock died four days after the battle and was buried in the middle of the road his men had worked so hard to build (to make sure the Indians did not dig up his body and desecrate it). 

*In May 1756, Britain and France officially went to war, and soon their allies and colonies did as well.  In Europe, this was known as the Seven Years’ War.

*In some ways, though, it was the first world war--the two sides fought in Europe, but also in their colonies in North America (where it had begun), in the Caribbean, and in Asia, particularly India, where the British truly began to consolidate their power—and it all began over furs in the Ohio River Valley.

*In New France, the new commander-in-chief was the Marquis de Montcalm.  However, he always had to deal with lack of support from France (where King Louis XV was focused on the fighting in Europe) and conflict with the governor of New France, the Marquis de Vaudreuil, who also wanted to be commander-in-chief.

*The British in America had seemed to be in nearly the same indecisive position, as the British government vacillated between trying to fight a limited war or a global one and could not decide what part of the globe to focus on.  That changed in 1757 when William Pitt became became Secretary of State for the Southern Department, a powerful office that included supervision of Britain’s colonies.  .  He believed that the war could best be won by focusing Britain’s energies on America.  It would take a while, though, before his efforts would pay off.

*As 1757 began, the French seemed to have all the advantages.  They had stopped almost all British advances into French territory and had even captured some territory from the British around the Great Lakes.  Their Indian allies raided settlements all along the frontier, killing, looting, and taking captives, some of whom were later killed, some adopted, some enslaved, and some tortured to death—to the Indians, torture was both a form of public entertainment and an opportunity for the prisoner to exhibit his bravery.

*Although the British made plans to attack Canada, they were slow getting underway and ended up leaving the New York frontier poorly defended in the process.  One of the under-manned forts on the frontier was Fort William Henry on the shores of Lake George (just south of Lake Champlain).

*Fort William Henry held about 600 British regulars and 1,200 militia when Montcalm’s forces and their Indian allies (about 8,000 men in total) laid siege to it in the summer of 1757. 

--Introduce The Last of the Mohicans

    -This version of The Last of the Mohicans was released in 1992, and is loosely based on a book of the same name by James Fennimore Cooper, published in 1826.  That book, in turn, is very loosely based on events in 1757 during the French and Indian War.  Cooper was the first best-selling American author of fiction, very popular both within the United States and around the world.

    -Although most of the characters are fictional, a great deal of attention was paid to accuracy of costumes, weapons, and other props.  They are not perfect—some British soldiers are shown wearing uniforms that were not worn during the 1750s (but were later in the 1700s)—but overall are very good:  in fact, during filming, many actors suffered from heat stroke wearing accurate wool uniforms during long days of filming.  Many of the actors, even background characters, were given military training and some even received modern hand-to-hand combat training by a U.S. Army officer.

    -Most of the American Indian characters are portrayed by American Indian (or Canadian Indian) actors, particularly Cherokee.  When they speak Indian languages on screen, they are usually speaking their own native languages, rather than the languages actually spoken by the tribes whose members they are portraying.  In other ways, the Indians’ clothing and body paint and their weapons are accurate, as is the scene early in the movie where some are shown playing a form of lacrosse, which was originally an Indian sport that was so violent that it was known among some tribes as the little brother of war.

    -In terms of language, many characters are portrayed as multi-lingual, and that was not unusual on the frontier, where English, French, Dutch, and multiple American Indian nations came together and traded and sometimes fought with one another.  Furthermore, most educated Europeans (such as some of the military officers portrayed in the story) had learned foreign languages in school.

    -Although the story is set in northern New York, it was filmed in the mountains North Carolina (including a couple of scenes at Biltmore).  It was felt that the forests of the Great Smoky Mountains looked more like the primitive forests of pre-industrial New York, whereas northern New York by the early 1990s still showed signs of the heavy logging that took place there in there 1800s and early 1900s (although there was actually pretty heavy logging in the southern Appalachians, too).

    -Nathaniel Poe is a fictional character.  He is an expert hunter and fur trader on the frontier.  He is also nicknamed Hawkeye and is known to the French as la Longue Carabine, or the Long Rife, referring to his Pennsylvania rifle (and hunter’s weapon as opposed to the muskets favoured by military forces, which were easier to load but less accurate.  His parents were killed when he was very young, and he was adopted by Chingachgook.

    -Chingachgook is a fictional character.  He is a Mohican Indian, and the adoptive father of Nathaniel and the biological father of Uncas.  He is also a skilled hunter and fur trader.  In the movie he uses a distinctive gunstock war club, shaped like a gunstock with a blade in the bend where a flashpan would be on real gun, because some early Indians thought the flash in the pan was what actually caused them to die when a gun was fired.  He is played by Russell Means (who also provided the voice of Pocahontas’s father in Walt Disney’s Pocahontas) but was also a famous political activist and leader of the American Indian Movement, a group founded in 1968 to try to win equality and freedom for American Indians.  They famously seized Alcatraz Island from November, 1969 to June, 1971 and in 1973 fought with Federal agents at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, and 2 Indians and 2 Federal agents died there at the site of the last battle of the Indian Wars in 1890.  Russell Means took part in both of those activities. 

    -Uncas is a fictional character.  He is a Mohican Indian and the biological son of Chingachgook and adoptive brother of Nathaniel and another hunter and fur trader.  He is played by Eric Schweig, a mixed-race man of Eskimo, Indian, and European descent who was taken from his mother as a child and adopted into a White family as part of a Canadian policy to force their First Nations to assimilate into White society.

    -John Cameron and his family are fictional characters representing a frontier family in upstate New York.  They are friends of Chingachgook and his sons.

    -Major Duncan Heyward is a fictional character and an officer in the British army.  He is an officer in the 60th Regiment of Foot, which was actually a unit of American volunteers also known as the Royal Americans formed in order to create a unit of soldiers accustomed to fighting in the woods as opposed to the more formal battle lines common in European warfare.  They are not portrayed that way in the movie, however.

    -Cora Munro is a fictional character.  She is the daughter of Colonel George Munro who has recently arrived in New York from England and is going to join her father at Fort William Henry.  She is also a long-time friend of Duncan Heyward.

    -Alice Munro is a fictional character.  She is the daughter of Colonel George Munro and sister of Cora.  She is also recently arrived from England and is going to meet her father on the Frontier.

    -Lieutenant-Colonel George Munro (who is called The Grey Hair by some of the Indians in the movie) is an historical person who commanded British forces at Fort William Henry in New York during the French and Indian War.  However, in reality he did not have any children that historians know of, and certainly no children of his visited him while he was on active duty in America.  Furthermore, some other important events in his life were very different than what is shown in the movie.

    -General Daniel Webb is an historical person who served in New York during the French and Indian War.  His major historical actions during this period are more or less as they are presented in the movie, although in the movie his name is given as Jerome instead of Daniel.


    -Magua is a fictional character.  He is introduced as a Mohawk Indian scout who will guide the Munro sisters and Major Heyward to meet Colonel Munro at Fort William Henry.  He is played by Wes Studi, a Cherokee actor who, when growing up on the reservation in Oklahoma, was only allowed to speak English in school and would have his mouth washed out with soap if he tried to speak the Cherokee that was his native language.  He also took part in the AIM standoff at Wounded Knee in 1973.

    -The Marquis de Montcalm is an historical person who was the French general in overall command of French forces in New France during the French and Indian War.

    -Show The Last of the Mohicans.

    -#11 depicts an attack on a small group of British soldiers.  They are supposed to be members of the 60th Regiment, known as the Royal Americans, a unit formed of American volunteers who were trained to fight in the woods and to deal with the kind of attack that they faced in this scene.  Their incompetence is not particularly accurate, although it is meant to depict other British forces who were caught off guard and fought very poorly in the woods after training to fight in open fields, most famously the soldiers who died in 1755 in ‘Braddock’s Blunder.’

    -#13 shows the aftermath of an attack by an Ottawa war party on a frontier homestead.  The actual remains of such an attack would probably have been even more gruesome, as Indians on the warpath often tortured prisoners to death and mutilated their corpses.

    -#14 mentioned Reverend Eleazar Wheelock’s school.  He was a Congregationalist minister in Lebanon, Connecticut for 34 years, who did run a school for Indians where they were taught English language, customs, and skills, partly in hopes of training Indians to become missionaries among their own people.  He later helped found Dartmouth College with a charter from King George III the intent of offering a college education to American Indians, although in fact most of its students (including Wheelock’s son) were from upper-class White families.  Although Wheelock's school did not produce many Indian missionaries, most Mohicans did convert to Christianity, often joining the Moravian Church.

    -#16 claims that General Webb did not know that Fort William Henry was besieged, but at this time he was at Fort Edward which was only about 17 miles away, close enough to hear the French cannons.  However, it is true that Webb did not sent any reinforcements, but that was because he believed Montcalm’s army was much larger than it was (11,000 compared to 6,200) and did not think any reinforcements he could spare would be able to defeat it.  Furthermore, his forces were the last men standing between the frontier and Albany, and he did not want to weaken his own defences.

    -#20 shows the good relationship and the cultural sharing that took place between the French and the Indians.  For the most part, the French did not settle North American heavily, and preferred to trade with the Indians, so they usually maintained good relations.  Many French hunters and fur trappers adopted Indian culture, while French priests did convert many Indians to Catholicism.

    -#22 helps to illustrate tensions between the British army and the colonial militia.  The British felt the militia were not reliable, and in many cases they were not very reliable or skilled fighters (although in some cases they fought very well).  On the other hand, many colonial militiamen and especially their officers felt they were not appreciated or respected by the British.  The most famous example of this was George Washington, who held the colonial militia rank of Colonel until the Royal Governor of Virginia arranged for him to be demoted to Captain (and under circumstances where he would have to serve under a British Captain who would be treated as his superior despite both holding the same rank).  Likewise, his roles in leading some of the soldiers involved in Braddock's Blunder to safety and commanding troops elsewhere on the frontier were largely ignored.  Such treatment would lead contribute to colonial resentment against Britain in the years leading up the American Revolution, and during the Revolutionary War, British experiences with colonial militia during the French and Indian War would sometimes lead them to underestimate American militia during the Revolution.

    -#25 is related to the political philosophy of Contract Theory, that the government has a duty to protect the rights of its citizens, and that if a government harms the lives, liberty, and property of its people, then they have a right to change or overthrow that government.  This would be a very important idea expressed in the Declaration of Independence.

    -#28 offers a chance for the British soldiers to go back to Britain.  This was actually common in warfare in the 1700s and even well into the 1800s.  Keeping prisoners was expensive and time-consuming, so captured soldiers and officers were often paroled back to their home countries on the condition that they not fight in that war again.  If a paroled soldier was later captured again, he was liable to executed for breaking his parole.

    -#34 is about the massacre on the way from Fort William Henry to Fort Edward.  It is true that the Indians attacked Colonel Munro’s men, but while many were killed or wounded, a large number, including Colonel Munro himself, made it to Fort Edward, so Colonel Munro did not die in the massacre as depicted in the film.  However, he died three months later on the streets of Albany of a sudden attack of apoplexy, which in those days could have meant a heart attack, an aneurism, or a stroke.  Furthermore, Montcalm did not encourage or turn a blind eye to the attack as suggested in the film, but rather tried to discourage it beforehand and even tried to stop it as it was taking place.

    -#40 refers to the fact that the fur trade became so lucrative, and many Indian tribes became so dependent on European trade goods, that in some regions, the Indians drove animals with valuable furs close to or even over the brink of extinction.  Indians and Europeans also fought with each other over access to the best hunting grounds, so that many of the conflicts in New York and around the Great Lakes (possibly including the French and Indian War itself) are sometimes referred to as the Beaver Wars.

    -#48 came about partly because Alice did not want to become the wife of Magua and have his children, but also because she and Uncas, who had just been killed, had been falling in love (which also explains why he was so reckless in his attempt to rescue her).  This is not especially obvious in the final version of the movie, even if one knows to look for it, but it played a larger part in the original script.  Quite a bit of the original script was cut out because the movie studio thought it was just too long, but in this case, the mother of the actress playing Alice was on set with her and would not allow her to take part in a physical love scene because she was just 16 when the movie was being filmed.

    -#50 states that Chingachgook is the Last of the Mohicans, but in fact, although they were driven out of New York and Massachusetts and eventually onto a reservation in Wisconsin, the Mohicans were never completely destroyed, and there are at least 3,000 alive today, mostly on reservation land in Wisconsin, although they have sued New York to regain lost land there and were granted a small amount of land and the right to build a casino there in 2010--although this was controversial because some to get this land the Mohicans had to give up larger claims, and some were not happy with this, and court cases continue. 

*After a long siege at Fort William Henry, the British felt forced to surrender.  They were given very generous treatment, allowed to march out with their regimental colours and personal possessions, and promised safe passage to Fort Edward.

*The day after surrendering Fort William Henry, as the British marched south, they were attacked by Montcalm’s Indian allies.  At least 700 British soldiers and militia were killed, wounded, or missing.  Those who were killed or wounded were typically knocked in the head with tomahawks and war clubs or scalped.

*1757 ended badly for the British with the Massacre of Fort William Henry.  However, under William Pitt, things began to change.

*Pitt planned a three-pronged attack on New France for 1758.  Louisbourg would be re-taken, Fort Carillon (which the British called Ticonderoga) at the southern end of Lake Champlain would be captured, allowing British forces to move up the lake into Canada, and another British army would march down Braddock’s Road to Fort Duquesne.

*However, instead of sending two regiments of regulars to America this time and raising a few local militia, Pitt called for 20,000 regulars and 22,000 American militia.  Pitt also had another advantage that he probably did not even know he had:  New France was literally starving, due to its relatively few farms, a short, poor growing season, and diminishing support from France.

*The first stage was the attack on Fort Louisbourg.  Not only did the British, particularly the colonists in New England, resent its return at the end of King George’s War, but it posed a constant threat to British shipping and even the colonies.  Furthermore, if the British could control it, the Royal Navy could cut off French shipping down the Saint Lawrence, starving Canada further.

*In June, 1758, about 12,000 British soldiers under the command of Jeffrey Amherst arrived at Cape Breton Island.  The first wave of British boats was led by the daring General James Wolfe.

*Louisbourg was an impressive fortification.  However, the British, with over 12,000 soldiers badly outnumbered the 7,000 French inside the fort.  Furthermore, the defenders soon began to run out of food.  On 26 July, 1758, the French commander surrendered. 

*Fort Louisbourg would now serve as a staging point for attacks up the St Lawrence River on the major cities of Canada:  Quebec and Montreal. 

*To secure Lake Champlain, Pitt chose General James Abercromby to march on Fort Carillon (which the British called Ticonderoga) at the southern end of Lake Champlain with about 6,000 regulars and between 9,000 and 12,000 militia and Indians.  The French forces there were commanded by the Marquis de Montcalm, but he only had about 3,600 regulars, militia, and Indians and low supplies.

*The French dug earthworks in rough ground outside their fort and built abatis in front of them.  Most of the soldiers who advanced on the French line were shot dead before reaching the abatis.  Those who reached it got caught in it and were shot dead there.  The very few who made it to the French earthworks were bayoneted attempting to get over them.

*About 1,000 British soldiers were killed and over 1,500 were wounded.  100 Frenchmen were killed and about 500 wounded.  With over 3,000 men killed or wounded on both sides, this was the bloodiest battle of the French and Indian War, and a great victory for the outnumbered, poorly supplied French.  However, in 1759, the British returned and captured the fort after Montcalm had pulled most of his men back to defend Quebec and Montreal.

*The third prong in Pitt’s plan was an attack on Fort Duquesne, to which he assigned 1,400 regulars and 5,000 militia and Indians under the command of General Forbes.  He cut a new road through the forests to Fort Duquesne, but attempted to train his men for fighting in the woods and dealing with ambushes.

*On 24 November, 1758, the French surrendered, burning Fort Duquesne before they left.  After its capture, the fort was rebuilt, and renamed Fort Pitt, and later Pittsburgh.


*Having secured the colonial frontier and cut off the Saint Lawrence River with the capture of Louisbourg, the British were ready to strike at the heart of New France:  Quebec.

*The City of Quebec stood on a rocky outcropping where the Saint Charles River runs into the Saint Lawrence.  Three sides of the city were protected by water and the landward side by a massive wall.  Beyond the wall was an open field known as the Plains of Abraham.  The Plains of Abraham fell down steep cliffs to the Saint Lawrence River, making them almost impossible to reach from the water as well.

*In the spring of 1759 the British Navy sailed up the Saint Lawrence and completely blocked Quebec off from any re-supply from Europe.  It also brought General James Wolfe and about 9,000 troops.  They soon put cannon atop the hills across the river from Quebec and began to bombard the city where Montcalm had command of about 14,000 soldiers (including Militia and Indian allies), although many of them were spread out for about five miles both east and west of Quebec and not actually in the city itself.

*After many skirmishes around Quebec, Wolfe was finally ready to attack the city on 13 September, because he had discovered a way up the cliffs from the St Lawrence to the Plains of Abraham.

*Although the cliffs were steep, there was a place where they could be climbed, and Wolfe began moving men and supplies upriver to prepare for an attack at this spot.

*Under the cover of darkness, Wolfe’s men floated down the river in little boats, where they disembarked at 4 a.m. on 13 September, 1759, and climbed the cliffs.  By the time Montcalm was made aware of the attack and convinced it was real, Wolfe had over 4,000 men on the Plains of Abraham, while Montcalm was able to muster about 4,500.

*Montcalm chose to attack.  The French regulars and militia advanced towards the British lines, firing as they came, and hitting Wolfe in the wrist.  The British held their fire until the French were within 60 yards or closer, and then all fired at once.  This stopped the French cold.  The British reloaded, fired again, and the French began to run.

*Wolfe ordered a bayonet charge, and was shot twice more, in his chest and his intestines.  Montcalm was also wounded, with his leg and abdomen torn open by grapeshot.  At this point, French reinforcements arrived, but seeing they were too late, retreated to safety.  Had Montcalm waited for them, they might have surrounded and trapped Wolfe, but he did not, and the British captured Quebec, capital of New France.

*Wolfe died on the field of battle.  Montcalm died the next day of his wounds.  The British lost about 60 men killed and 600 wounded, the French lost 200 killed and 1,200 wounded.  Furthermore, although some battles remained, the war was essentially over.

*Almost exactly a year later, on 8 September, 1760, Montreal surrendered and all of Canada rather than force his people to endure a few weeks or months of starvation before their inevitable defeat.

*Although French Canadians were allowed to keep their homes and continue practising the Catholic faith, all French soldiers had to return to Europe and promise not to fight again in Europe or America.

*Some officials back in France were shocked that Montreal had been surrendered without a shot being fired, but King Louis XV, more interested in the fighting in Europe anyway, was cheered up by the philosopher Voltaire, who said, ‘After all, Sire, what have we lost—a few acres of snow?’

*The French still held Louisiana though, including forts in what is now Alabama, such as Toulouse and Mobile.  They and their Creek allies still threatened the southern colonies and their principal ally, the Cherokee.

*For protection against the Creek and the French, the Cherokee asked the British to build a fort for their people.  In exchange for promises of assistance against the French, the British agreed, and between 1756 and 1757 built Fort Loudoun about 40 miles south of modern Knoxville.

*Some of the Cherokee who went to help the British participated in the capture of Fort Duquesne, but did not feel their help was appreciated or rewarded properly, and they went home.  Other Cherokee working alongside Virginia militia ended up fighting with them, and stole some of their horses on the way home and the Virginians killed 15 of the Cherokee in return.

*In return, the Cherokee attacked white settlements and killed 20 people.  In March 1760, the Cherokee laid siege to Fort Loudoun.  On 6 August, 1760, the British surrendered.  The inhabitants (including women) were promised safe passage back to Virginia or South Carolina.

*They left the fort on the 9th and made camp after marching 15 miles.  Early the next morning, the Cherokee attacked.  All the officers were killed except for John Stuart, a personal friend of Chief Attakullakulla (who paid his ransom).  Several private soldiers and a few women were killed, too, although most of the soldiers were captured and later ransomed.  The commander, Paul Demere, was scalped, forced to dance, beaten with sticks, and finally had his arms and legs chopped off.  As he lay dying, they stuffed his mouth with dirt and said, ‘You English want land, we will give it to you.’

*In response, more British soldiers were sent to slaughter the Cherokee and burn their crops, eventually forcing them to sign a peace treaty.  The Cherokee requested that John Stuart, the only surviving officer of the Fort Loudoun Massacre, be made the king’s agent to them.

*Finally, in 1763, the Peace of Paris ended the French and Indian War and the Seven Years’ War.

*Britain gained Canada from France and Florida from Spain (who had entered the war in 1761 on the side of France).

*France gave New Orleans and Louisiana to Spain to make up for the loss of Florida.

*Britain was now master of North America, but as Britain became more involved in the lives of the American colonists, the effects of the War would drive them apart.


This page last updated 16 January, 2019.
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