War of 1812

The War of 1812 was a 32 month military conflict between the United States and the British Empire and their allies which resulted in no territorial change, but a resolution of many issues remaining from the American War of Independence. The United States declared war in 1812 for several reasons, including trade restrictions brought about by Britain's ongoing war with France, the impressment of American merchant sailors into the Royal Navy, British support of American Indian tribes against American expansion, outrage over insults to national honor after humiliations on the high seas, and possible American desire to annex Canada.

The war was fought in three principal theatres. Firstly, at sea, warships and privateers of both sides attacked each other's merchant ships, while the British blockaded the Atlantic coast of the U.S. and mounted large-scale raids in the later stages of the war. Secondly, both land and naval battles were fought on the American–Canadian frontier, which ran along the Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence River. Thirdly, the American South and Gulf Coast also saw major land battles in which the American forces defeated Britain's Indian allies and repulsed a British invasion force at New Orleans. Both sides invaded each other's territory, but these invasions were unsuccessful or temporary. At the end of the war, both sides occupied parts of the other's land, but these areas were restored by the Treaty of Ghent.

Tied down in Europe until 1814, the British at first used defensive strategy, repelling multiple American invasions of the provinces of Upper and Lower Canada. However, the Americans gained control over Lake Erie in 1813, seized parts of western Ontario, and ended the prospect of an Indian confederacy and an independent Indian state in the Midwest under British sponsorship. In the Southwest, General Andrew Jackson destroyed the military strength of the Creek nation at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1814. With the defeat of Napoleon in 1814 on April 6, the British adopted a more aggressive strategy, sending in three large invasion armies. The British victory at the Battle of Bladensburg in August 1814 allowed them to capture and burn Washington, D.C. American victories in September 1814 and January 1815 repulsed all three British invasions in New York, Baltimore and New Orleans.

In the United States, victories at the Battle of New Orleans in 1815 and in the Battle of Baltimore of 1814 (which inspired the lyrics of the United States national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner") produced a sense of euphoria over a "second war of independence" against Britain. Peace brought an "Era of Good Feelings" in which partisan animosity nearly vanished. Canada also emerged from the war with a heightened sense of national feeling and solidarity, having repelled multiple American invasions. Battles such as the Battle of Queenston Heights and the Battle of Crysler's Farm became iconic for English-speaking Canadians. In Canada, especially Ontario, memory of the war retains national significance, as the invasions were largely perceived by Canadians as an annexation attempt by the United States, seeking to expand its territory. In Canada, numerous ceremonies are scheduled in 2012 to commemorate a Canadian victory. The war is scarcely remembered in Britain today; as it regarded the conflict as sideshow to the much larger Napoleonic Wars raging in Europe. As such it welcomed an era of peaceful relations and trade with the United States.

Read more about War Of 1812:  Declaration of War, Course of The War, Theatres of War, Losses and Compensation, Long-term Consequences

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