The Royal Proclamation of 1763 was issued October 7, 1763, by King George III following Great Britain’s acquisition of French territory in North America after the end of the French and Indian War/Seven Years’ War, in which it forbade settlers from settling past a line drawn along the Appalachian Mountains.
The purpose of the proclamation was to organize Great Britain’s new North American empire and to stabilize relations with Native North Americans through regulation of trade, settlement, and land purchases on the western frontier. The Royal Proclamation continues to be of legal importance to First Nations in Canada and is significant for the variation of indigenous status in the United States. It also ensured that British culture and laws were applied in Quebec, which was done to attract British settlers to Quebec.
The influence of the Royal Proclamation of 1763 on the coming of the American Revolution has been variously interpreted. Many historians argue that the proclamation ceased to be a major source of tension after 1768, since the aforementioned treaties opened up extensive lands for settlement. Others have argued that colonial resentment of the proclamation contributed to the growing divide between the colonies and the mother country. Historian Woody Holton, for example, argued that even though the boundary was pushed west in subsequent treaties, the British government refused to permit new colonial settlements for fear of instigating a war with Native Americans, which angered colonial land speculators.
George Washington was given 20,000 acres of wild land in the Ohio region for his services in the French and Indian War.
In 1770, George Washington took the lead in securing rights for himself and his old soldiers in the French War, advancing money to pay expenses on behalf of the common cause and using his influence in the proper quarters.
In August 1770, it was decided that George Washington should personally make a trip to the western region, where he located tracts for himself and military comrades and eventually was granted letters patent for tracts of land there.
The lands involved were open to Virginians under terms of the Treaty of Lochaber of 1770, except for the lands located 2 miles south of Fort Pitt, now known as Pittsburgh.
In the United States, the Royal Proclamation of 1763 ended with the American Revolutionary War because Great Britain ceded the land in question to the United States in the Treaty of Paris (1783).
Afterward, the U.S. government also faced difficulties in preventing frontier violence and eventually adopted policies similar to those of the Royal Proclamation. The first in a series of Indian Intercourse Acts was passed in 1790, prohibiting unregulated trade and travel in Native American lands.
In 1823, the U.S. Supreme Court case Johnson v. M’Intosh established that only the U.S. government, and not private individuals, could purchase land from Native Americans.
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