Captives, Conflict, and Conquest: The Changing Roles of Prisoners in Anglo-Indian Warfare, 1754-1765 Public Deposited

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  • February 26, 2019
  • Kowalczyk, Emily
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of History
  • Central to the analysis here are the Anglo-Indian conflicts of the mid-eighteenth century, beginning in 1754 and ending in 1765. Within that period were three major Anglo-Indian Wars: the French and Indian War, the Anglo-Cherokee War, and Pontiac’s War. The French and Indian War began as a contest between New France and the British colony of Virginia for hegemony in the Ohio Country, spilled over into Europe itself, and ended when Britain conquered Canada, leaving it the sole European power in North American east of the Mississippi River. The Anglo-Cherokee War broke out when Cherokee warriors, dissatisfied with the reimbursement they had received for accompanying a British military expedition during the French and Indian War, stole horses from British colonists on the way back to their villages. The colonists attacked, the warriors retaliated, and the conflict escalated until British soldiers razed two thirds of the Cherokee villages over the course of three separate expeditions from 1759 to 1761. Pontiac’s War began in 1763, when a loose confederation of Great Lakes and Ohio Valley tribes, alarmed by rapid British encroachment onto their lands, undertook to drive colonists out of their territory by attacking British forts and settlements. British expeditions into the region in 1764 brought the Natives to the negotiating table. The British had not been driven out, but they agreed in the final peace treaty that ended the war not to settle west of the Appalachian Mountains. Within the context of these three wars, British officers and Native warriors demonstrated their differing conceptions of captivity and the uses of captives. Chapter 1 explains the differences between British and Native conceptions of captivity and the roles that captives played in those respective societies. Chapter 2 describes how the British and Natives attempted to use captives in order to facilitate peacemaking. These attempts were sometimes successful, but at other times the two sides’ differing ideas of captivity hampered them and instead escalated conflict. Chapter 3 examines how, in conjunction with other tools of coercion, the British use of captives to signify their dominance over their Native adversaries forced some tribes to acknowledge, albeit reluctantly and superficially, that the British were now the dominant European power in eastern North America. This thesis demonstrates that, by understanding the different meanings and functions of captivity in the Anglo-Indian conflicts of the mid-eighteenth century, it is possible to at least partially explain those wars’ frequent escalation and to determine when the balance of power on the Middle Ground began to shift in favor of the British.
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  • In Copyright
  • Funding: Honors Undergraduate Research Fund
  • Lee, Wayne
  • Bachelor of Arts
Honors level
  • Honors
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • 70

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