June 18 marks the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. It is a war that it is not well understood or much remembered in America so I decided to give some key facts about the war below.
1. What was the war about?
The US declared war on Britain because of the British Navy’s policy of impressment (stopping US merchant ships and forcing former British citizens to serve on British ships). Also because of British restrictions on US trade because of Britains’ war with France.
2. Who won?
Both America and Canada (even though it was not a country at the time) claim to have won, the British who were busy battling Napoleon at the time don’t seem to really care either way. Canada claims victory because they did stop several US invasions of their country. The US claims victory because we also stopped several British invasions of the US, won the final battle of New Orleans in decisive fashion, and also destroyed most organized indian resistance across the frontier (indians were allied with the British).
3. Interesting Facts about the war.
2260 Americans died in combat
15-20,000 Americans died from disease
1160 British combat deaths
3321 British died from disease
4. One of the Great American victories of the war, the Battle of New Orleans, came several weeks after the war had ended. Messages in that day and age had to be hand delivered, since the treaty was signed in Europe it took quite a while to get the word out.
5. Even though the outcome of the war was probably a draw it did lead to a new American unity after the war, the organized indian resistance along the border was defeated which opened up new lands to settle. US and British relations seem to normalize after the war. America had fought Britain twice in a span of roughly 25 years, but with the end of the war the two nations enjoyed a prosperous trade relationship which eventually turned into so much more in the 20th century.
6. The US national anthem the Star Spangled Banner was written by Francis Scott Key in 1814 while he witnessed the British bombardment of Fort McHenry which ultimately failed to take the fort.