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Subject > Soldiers, Warriors and Leaders > Population Groups > First Nations

Date > 1700

Natives going to meet the Spanish navy schooners Sutil and Mexicana in 1792

Type: Image

This painting shows an encounter on 11 June 1792 between native canoes and the Spanish navy schooners Sutil and Mexicana. Mount Baker can be seen in the background. On this date in Guemes Channel (near present day Anacortes, Washington), a Spanish expedition paused to make astronomical observations that would correctly fix their longitude. Their mission was to chart the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and search for the Northwest Passage. The painting is the work of José Cardero, the expedition's official artist. (Museo Naval, Madrid)

Site: National Defence

The Military Art of the American Northwest

Type: Document

War in the Pacific Northwest centred around the canoe, which could be up to 20 metres long. Flotillas of canoes would attack enemy villages, hoping to capture prisoners to keep as slaves. Coastal forts of cedar logs were to be found, used to help control and tax maritime trade.

Site: National Defence

Americans Forced On the Defensive

Type: Document

Trying to strike back at the Loyalist raiders who caused such trouble, the American rebels sent troops to destroy Iroquois settlements in 1779. Although thousands of refugees were forced to flee, the raids continued with increased strength, with the rebels generally on the losing side.

Site: National Defence

An Offensive Against the Ohio Valley

Type: Document

In 1755, with an army built around his two regular regiments, General Braddock began an attack from Virginia into the Ohio Valley. The 200 kilometre advance towards Fort Duquesne was slowed by the need to build a road and bridges to carry the army through the difficult terrain.

Site: National Defence

Formidable Fighters

Type: Document

The peoples of the Pacific coast were formidable fighters during the 18th and 19th centuries. Their warriors used bows and javelins, carried clubs and bone-bladed daggers, and could wear wooden armour. They preferred a mass assault, but treachery during 'friendly' meetings were not rare.

Site: National Defence

A Return To Earlier Methods

Type: Document

After 1777, in order to keep the American rebels on the defensive, the British adopted the old Canadian tactic of raiding enemy settlements. The raids were made by mixed groups of Amerindians and soldiers. The troops used were American loyalists such as Butler's Rangers.

Site: National Defence

Fort Prince of Wales Captured

Type: Document

Fort Prince of Wales quickly fell to the French in 1782. Built there by the British Hudson's Bay Company after French general d'Iberville's raids in the late seventeenth century, the fort was a very strong stone structure, built in the European fashion. It was, however, very lightly garrisoned.

Site: National Defence

The Tide Turns Against New France

Type: Document

In 1758, French attempts to halt General Forbes' British army were not enough to hold the Ohio Valley, and Fort Duquesne had to be blown up. Earlier that summer, Fort Frontenac on Lake Ontario had been taken by Americans. Calls for help fell on deaf ears in France, in trouble in Europe.

Site: National Defence

Scene of daily life at Fort Beauséjour, around 1753

Type: Image

This view of the interior of Fort Beauséjour shows some of the activities that took place there just before the Seven Years' War. In the foreground, men are moving supplies. In the centre, an officer talks with a missionary who accompanies a pair of Abenakis. A left, a detachment of French soldiers escorts an English deserter. Reconstruction by Lewis Parker. (Parks Canada)

Site: National Defence

Treatment Of Prisoners

Type: Document

One problem of raid warfare was the treatment of prisoners - they were often brutally tortured, as was the custom of the Amerindians. This was ironic, as the Canadians themselves had suffered badly this way from the Iroquois.

Site: National Defence