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Michigan in the 18th century


Mackinac island
Mackinac island

The British occupied Detroit on November 29, 1760, and took over the other French posts the following year. Like the French, the British sought mostly furs from the region rather than land for settlement, and they did little that interfered with the Native Americans’ way of life. However, the native people had become quite friendly with the French, and many of them resented the British, who gained a reputation as unscrupulous traders. In addition, British colonists were beginning to move into western Pennsylvania and the Ohio region, forcing many Native Americans off their lands.

In the spring of 1763, an alliance of Native Americans led by the Ottawa chief Pontiac rebelled against the British. Tribes attacked British posts along the frontier from Pennsylvania to Lake Superior and captured most of them, including Fort Michilimackinac and Fort Saint Joseph in Michigan. Pontiac led the attack on Detroit but failed to capture it, then kept the fort under siege for more than five months. Pontiac finally withdrew from Detroit when he learned that he would receive no help from the French, who had signed a treaty ceding all of New France to Great Britain.

The British then began to consolidate their control over the region, which brought them great wealth from fur trapping. Michigan was included in the province of Québec in 1764, and in November 1775, Henry Hamilton became lieutenant governor of the territory, residing in Detroit. To protect the forests that sheltered the fur-bearing animals, the British government discouraged settlement by denying the right to buy land. On the eve of the American Revolution (1775-1783), few inroads had been made into Michigan’s wilderness by either the French or the British. "Michigan" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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