Pontiac portrait

This is an artist's representation of Pontiac. No known portrait of Pontiac was painted during his lifetime.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story is Part 5 in a 9-part series on Ohio's great American Indian chiefs released by the Ohio Historical Society on Nov. 3, 1967. Richland Source has entered into a collaborative agreement with the Ohio History Connection to share content across our sitesPart 1 focused on the Six Nations. Part 2 profiled Little Turtle. Part 3 examined Cornstalk. Part 4 was about Logan.

Pontiac was an Ottaw chief, born about 1720 somewhere near present-day Detroit.

He is believed to have fought with the Ottawa and Chippewa tribes at General Edward Braddock's famous defeat in 1775. 

Pontiac was one of a delegation which met with Colonel Robert Rogers at the mouth of the Detroit River in 1760 to give a formal welcome to the British after the defeat of the French in Canada. He consented to acknowledge King George III as "uncle," but insisted that they had equal status as sovereigns.

"Pontiac's Rebellion" in 1763 was a carefully planned uprising of many tribes by which all the English garrisons and settlements in the Northwest were to be surprised and destroyed on the same day. 

The English fort on Sandusky Bay was the first to fall, but Detroit and Fort Pitt resisted in long seiges and the campaign failed.

Two years later, Irish fur trader George Croghan persuaded Pontiac to accept English rule. 

In 1769, Pontiac was murdered by Native American Indians who were jealous of his eminence and influence.

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