Monday, 18 June 2012

The War of 1812


Two hundred years ago today on June 18, 1812, the United States declared war on Great Britain. The U.S. was just a young nation then and Britain was the world's main superpower, so it was a bold move. Since Canada was a British colony, it meant we were at war with the United States too.

The War of 1812-1814 is one of the world's oddest conflicts because both sides are convinced they won. In actual fact, the war was essentially a stalemate. Neither Britain nor the U.S. really gained or lost very much by it.

However, for Canada, the War of 1812 is of critical importance because we successfully repelled the foreign invasion of our country by American troops who made several attempts to seize both Upper Canada (Ontario) and Lower Canada (Quebec). These victories set us on the path to ultimate nationhood and sovereignty later in the 1800s.

The War of 1812 also has personal significance for me because my Upper Canadian forebears were caught up in the conflict. Some served in their area's local militia. My great-great-great grandfather Samuel Green was killed at the Battle of Stoney Creek in 1813. Like so many settlers on the Niagara peninsula, he was a United Empire Loyalist fighting against his former American countrymen.

So over the next couple of years, I will write periodic posts marking major events in the War of 1812-1814 as their bicentennial anniversaries arise. Stay tuned in October for the Battle of Queenston Heights!

27 comments:

jaz@octoberfarm said...

i am very excited to learn about all of this!

Francie said...

Great post! I was at Queesnston Heights yesterday for the Heritage Festival and hope to be on the spot for the reenactments of the various battles. We're probably related Debra because the UELs all married each other. (Nobody else around). Wait till I tell Butterbrains and Smartypants!!

Sulky Kitten said...

Interesting!Is this why American comedians are always telling anti-Canadian jokes?!

Robin Larkspur said...

I'm half Canadian so I am very keen on your historical posts. Please don't hate my American half!!

DEZMOND said...

wish those two would fight against each other whenever they get an urge to occupy or invade some foreign country :(

Diane Cayton-Hakey said...

Oh goodie! This should be interesting since I don't know a great deal about that war.

mxtodis123 said...

I've several ancestors who fought in the war of 1812. We hear about the Revolutionary War and the Civil War often, but rarely the War of 1812.
Mary

laurie said...

thats a great post, well written!!

A Beer for the Shower said...

The war of 1812 was 200 years ago? How the time does fly!

Lois said...

And I'm down the road from Stoney Creek! I think that my relatives were all mixed up with both sides as well, but don't have a good handle on that part of my heritage... Perhaps I should.

Jane said...

Fascinating history! It's quite amusing that both sides are convinced they won. I look forward to all of your future posts on this subject.

CraveCute said...

Interesting post Debra, look forward to more on this. Also, comedians from the USA who tell anti-Canadian jokes are just stupid no-talent idiots! I am pretty sure I still have relatives living in Canada, but we lost touch a couple 100 years ago. People in Minnesota get made fun of too, lately it is because of some of the crazy politicians...a woman with initials MB comes to mind....

laughingwolf said...

thx for the personal history, deb

after more'n 30 years, i'm back in the area, where i was raised and [mostly] schooled, so any info is appreciated...

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

Great post, Debra! Looking forward to more on this.

steve-bailey said...

I had absolutely no idea about this from the Canadian side of history. Interesting!

Kay G. said...

This is interesting to me. As an American, I am sorely lacking in knowledge about Canada. (Well, most other countries too, if I am being honest!)

-E- said...

There's a pretty good recent PBS documentary about the War of 1812. You should check it out!

G. B. Miller said...

I absolutely love history. It will be very interesing to read about a war that has zero prominance here in the States. Shoot, the only thing that is on anyone's radar about this is that Dolly Madison saved a few portraits from being burned.

YELLOWDOG GRANNY said...

I'm so pissed because I didn't know that..but you can bet I'm telling that story to the oldies at the salute to Canada party.thanks...

Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes said...

My husband, brother and I were just talking last week about the two times we've gone to war with Canada we got our butt kicked - both times! I'm looking forward to reading your posts!

Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my pickles! Sure do wish you would find your "pasta surprise" recipe, I'll bet it was delicious!

Have a wonderful week!

Jim said...

I love history and don't know enough about my own! Thanks Debra and I remembered that Nova Scotia did it's 'bit' during the War of 1812 by capturing American ships and taking /escorting them into Halifax and other coastal ports.
Here is a link:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Nova_Scotia#War_of_1812

My Grama's Soul said...

Debra.....thanks for this little history lesson...I knew nothing about this.

Jo

Boho mom said...

You know, I am so glad you posted this. I have to admit I know very little about history, as in dates and details. My daughter was recently studying the war of 1812 and we laughed because she knew so much more than me.
Thanks for the lesson that I needed - awesome!

Ricky Shambles said...

Thank you for this. Oddly, it's the only American History bit I haven't heard a Republican lately shout "Why didn't Obama make an announcement about it?"

Good to hear some solid information about Canada's part. Great post.

Bersercules said...

I remember learning about this in high school! America attacked Canada in the middle of winter and many of their troops died cause of the weather. America, if your gonna attack Canada, wait for the summer!

Southpaw said...

Good post. I'm interested in your future posts too.

Tricky Nag said...

Looking forward to future posts. I know very little about this war, and until today thought the English had won - probably assuming that because it was a good war for Canada the English must have won.