Wednesday, 24 December 2014
The Treaty of Ghent
The War of 1812 ended two hundred years ago today when Britain and the United States signed the Treaty of Ghent on December 24, 1814. No territory changed hands. No borders were redrawn. No one really won and no one really lost. The war ended essentially as a draw, a stalemate. Both sides were frankly just glad to be rid of the hassle.
Historically, the war is significant only to Canada. By successfully repelling various American attempts at invasion, colonial Canada retained its English and French identities and forged a firm resolve never to be American. This reinforcement of a unique identity led 50 years later to the successful creation of the independent dominion of Canada.
There was only one small problem. The Treaty of Ghent was signed in Europe. News of the war's end had to reach North America by ship.
A very slow ship.
This means there will be one more blog post about the War of 1812 . . . stay tuned!
[Painting by A. Forestier, Signing of the Treaty of Ghent, shows Admiral of the Fleet James Gambier of Britain shaking hands with the U.S. Ambassador to Russia, John Quincy Adams]