A war with complicated origins, the War of 1812 is primarily understood as a military clash between the British Empire and the United States of America. Several elements gave rise to tension between the U.S and Britain including Britain’s implementation of a trade blockade between the U.S and France, Britain’s support of Indian tribes in the fight against United States’ expansion, and the impressment of American sailors into the British Royal Navy. These reasons coupled with the United States’ agenda to annex Canada (the remaining portion of North America that still belonged to Britain) resulted in the United States declaring war on June 18th, 1812.
After victories and losses on both sides, the Treaty of Ghent was signed on December 14th, 1814. The peace treaty dictated that all prisoners were to be released and all land restored. Each side relinquished territory gained during the war with the British returning territory in Maine, territory on the Pacific coast, and land near Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. The U.S relinquished land in what is now modern day Ontario. No significant changes were made to the pre-war situation and peace between the two nations was renewed. Learn more about the War of 1812 here.