Indian Reserve (1763)

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Indian Reserve
Territory of British America




Flag of British America


Location of British America
Indian Reserve west of Alleghenies in 1775, after Quebec was extended to the Ohio River. Map does not reflect border as most recently adjusted by Treaty of Camp Charlotte (1774) and Henderson Purchase (1775) that opened West Virginia, most of Kentucky, and parts of Tennessee to white settlement.
 •  Royal Proclamation of 1763 October 7, 1763
 •  Treaty of Fort Stanwix November 5, 1768
 •  Vandalia (colony) December 27, 1769
 •  Quebec Act January 13, 1774
 •  Transylvania (colony) March 14, 1775
 •  Treaty of Paris (1783) September 3, 1783

The Indian Reserve is a historical term for a largely uncolonized area in North America ceded by France to Britain following the French and Indian War, set aside in the Royal Proclamation of 1763[1] for use by American Indians, who already inhabited it.[2] The British government had plans to locate an Indian barrier state there, but finally dropped them in 1814 when they lost military control of the region during the War of 1812.[3]

Old Northwest

In present-day United States, it consisted of all the territory north of Florida and New Orleans that was east of the Mississippi River and west of the Eastern Continental Divide in the Appalachian Mountains that formerly comprised the eastern half of Louisiana (New France). In modern Canada, it consisted of all the land immediately north of the Great Lakes but south of Rupert's Land belonging to the Hudson's Bay Company, as well as a buffer between the Province of Quebec (1763–1791) and Rupert's Land stretching from Lake Nipissing to Newfoundland.

Most of the ceded territory had been claimed earlier by France, but the claim was ceded in the Treaty of Paris (1763) that ended the French and Indian War/Seven Years' War. In the Proclamation of 1763, George III organized on paper much of the new territorial gains in three colonies in North America—East Florida, West Florida, and Quebec. The rest of the expanded British territory was left to American Indians. The delineation of the Eastern Divide, following the Allegheny Ridge of the Appalachians, confirmed the limit to British settlement established at the 1758 Treaty of Easton, before Pontiac's War.

According to the royal proclamation, all European settlers in the territory (who were mostly French) were supposed to leave the territory or get official permission to stay. Many of the settlers moved to New Orleans and the French land on the west side of the Mississippi (particularly St. Louis), which in turn had been ceded secretly to Spain to become Louisiana (New Spain). However, many of the settlers remained and the British did not actively attempt to evict them.[citation needed]

In 1768, lands west of the Alleghenies and south of the Ohio were ceded to the colonies by the Cherokee at the Treaty of Hard Labour and by the Six Nations at the Treaty of Fort Stanwix. However, several other Indian nations, particularly Shawnee and Mingo, continued to inhabit and claim their lands that had been sold to the British by other tribes. This conflict led to Dunmore's War in 1774, ended by the Treaty of Camp Charlotte where these tribes agreed to accept the Ohio River as the new boundary.

Restrictions on settlement were to become a flash point in the American Revolutionary War, following the Henderson Purchase of much of Kentucky from the Cherokee in 1775. The renegade Cherokee chief Dragging Canoe did not agree to the sale, nor did the Royal Government in London, which forbade settlement in this region. As an act of Revolution in defiance of the crown, white pioneer settlers began pouring into Kentucky in 1776, opposed by Dragging Canoe in the Cherokee–American wars, which continued until 1794.


Early settlements[edit]

French and Indian War[edit]

Push to settle the territory[edit]

American Revolutionary War[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Royal Proclamation
  2. ^ Colin Gordon Calloway (2006). The Scratch of a Pen: 1763 and the Transformation of North America. Oxford University Press. p. 99. 
  3. ^ Dwight L. Smith, "A North American Neutral Indian Zone: Persistence of a British Idea." Northwest Ohio Quarterly 61#2-4 (1989): 46-63 traces the idea from 1750s to 1814
  4. ^ Derek Hayes (2008). Canada: An Illustrated History. Douglas & McIntyre. p. 80. 
  5. ^ Barbara Graymont (1975). The Iroquois in the American Revolution. Syracuse University Press. p. 297. 
  6. ^ Jeff Broadwater (2006). George Mason, Forgotten Founder. Univ of North Carolina Press. p. 61. 
  7. ^ Spencer C. Tucker; James Arnold; Roberta Wiener (2011). The Encyclopedia of North American Indian Wars, 1607–1890: A Political, Social, and Military History. ABC-CLIO. p. 83. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Bemis, Samuel Flagg. Jay's Treaty: A Study in Commerce and Diplomacy (Macmillan, 1923) ch 5 online
  • Farrand, Max. "The Indian Boundary Line," American Historical Review (1905) 10#4 pp. 782–791 free in JSTOR
  • Hatheway, G. G. “The Neutral Indian Barrier State: A Project in British North American Policy, 1715-1815” (PhD dissertation, University of Minnesota, 1957)
  • Ibbotson, Joseph D. "Samuel Kirkland, the Treaty of 1792, and the Indian Barrier State." New York History 19#.4 (1938): 374-391. in JSTOR
  • Leavitt, Orpha E. "British Policy on the Canadian Frontier, 1782-92: Mediation and an Indian Barrier State" Proceedings of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin (1916) Volume 63 pp 151–85 online
  • Smith, Dwight L. "A North American Neutral Indian Zone: Persistence of a British Idea." Northwest Ohio Quarterly 61#2-4 (1989): 46-63. traces idea from 1750s to 1814

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°N 85°W / 38°N 85°W / 38; -85