While many Americans know little about the War of 1812, which celebrates its bicentennial this week, Detroiters should pay attention: the war included a battle that ended with the city being surrendered to the British.
The 200th anniversary of the war, which is sometimes called America's second war of independence, was observed Monday at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich. The ceremony included a reading of the historical Declaration of War, the raising of a special 15-star flag that marked the number of states in the union at the time of the conflict, and a musket salute from the First Regiment Volunteers living history group.
The conflict between the U.S. and Canada emerged out of struggles over maritime policies and expansion along the nations' borders. Hostilities lasted from June 18, 1812 to Feb. 18, 1815 and resulted in an enduring peace between the two countries, as well as the crushing of a Native American Confederacy led by Tecumseh, a leader from Shawnee tribe.
The Henry Ford's bicentennial commemoration is part of a series of events this year sponsored by the state of Michigan, and they aren't the only local museum to remember the two-century-old conflict this month. On June 16, the Dossin Great Lakes Museum on Belle Isle in Detroit hosted an exhibit called "War of 1812: A Nation Forged by War." The exhibit highlighted the war's naval battles which took place at sea and on the Great Lakes.
Take a look below at the Historic Fort Wayne, the site (then called Spring Wells) from which the Michigan militia fired the first shots across the Detroit River to attack Sandwich, Can., on July 5, 1812. The event is known as the first land battle of the War of 1812. In August, living history troups will act out the surrender of Detroit at the Fort.
Flickr photo by Cliff1066TM