Submitted by Liz Muir, volunteer with the Friends of Canadian Collections (FCC).
Almost 200 years ago, war broke out between the United States and Canada, which was still part of the British Empire at the time. That conflict became know as the War of 1812.
When James Madison, 4th President of the United States, declared war on Upper Canada, it seemed like easy pickings. This was an understandable assumption, given the gentle terrain separating the two nations, and the considerable population advantage enjoyed by the Americans. Upper Canada was also far from the Royal Navy’s reach and had no defensive citadels. However, President Madison hadn’t counted on Isaac Brock, a meticulous and conscientious soldier.
Despite initial apathy in Upper Canada, Brock raised and trained a local militia that would eventually cripple the American invasion. He cultivated allies such as Tecumseh, a Native American leader who had faced racism in the United States, consequently becoming an important Canadian ally during the war.
Brock died leading a charge at the Battle of Queenston Heights. One of Brock’s recruits, a young Lieutenant Colonel who was a lawyer and acting attorney general of Upper Canada, leapt onto Brock’s horse and led another charge. He also died.
If you’re thinking this is basic Canadian History, try to answer these skill-testing questions about the War of 1812. The first person to email all three correct answers to firstname.lastname@example.org will win a copy of Dr. Wesley B. Turner’s newest book, The Astonishing General: The Life and Legacy of Sir Isaac Brock (Dundurn Press, 2011).
Skill Testing Questions
- What was the colour of the White House before 1812?
- What was the name of Brock’s second-in-command who took over after Brock was killed?
- Why is it significant that the name Tecumseh means “Shooting Star?”
You can hear author Dr. Wesley B. Turner speak at the ROM on Saturday, November 12, 2011, 2:30 pm. Tickets now available for the upcoming lecture, 1812-1814: Defence or Aggression. A War to Defend U.S. Interest, or a War of Conquest?