Pontiac


Pontiac
/pon"tee ak'/, n.
1. c1720-69, North American Indian, chief of the Ottawa tribe: commander during the Pontiac War 1763-64.
2. a city in SE Michigan. 76,715.
3. a town in central Illinois. 11,227.

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born с 1720, on the Maumee River in present-day Ohio, U.S.
died April 20, 1769, near the Mississippi River at present-day Cahokia, Ill.

Ottawa Indian chief.

At first friendly with whites, Pontiac realized that his people would lose their ancestral lands in the Great Lakes area if white encroachment were not stopped. With a series of actions that came to be known as Pontiac's War (1763–64), he coordinated the attack on 12 fortified British posts by a confederacy of tribes, winning a great victory. He himself led the attack on the fort at Detroit, in what is now Michigan, U.S. Continuing British action took its toll, however, and in 1766 Pontiac finally agreed to a peace treaty. His murder in 1769 by an Illinois Indian provoked the vengeance of several northern Algonquian tribes, resulting in the virtual destruction of the Illinois.

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      city, seat (1837) of Livingston county, central Illinois, U.S. It lies on the Vermilion River, about 90 miles (145 km) southwest of Chicago. It was laid out in 1837 and named for the famous Ottawa Indian chief (see Pontiac). Settlement began soon afterward, and industry developed with the establishment of a sawmill in 1838. Located along the railway line connecting Chicago and St. Louis, Pontiac was a regional trading centre. A state reformatory, established there in 1871, is now the Pontiac Correctional Center. The economy is based on agriculture (corn [maize], soybeans, and livestock), manufacturing (including engine components and storage racks), the prison, and commercial printing. Notable local attractions include the Catherine V. Yost Museum, located in a home built in 1898. Inc. 1857. Pop. (1990) 11,428; (2000) 11,864.

      city, seat (1820) of Oakland county, southeastern Michigan, U.S., lying on the Clinton River 25 miles (40 km) northwest of Detroit. Named for Chief Pontiac of the Ottawa tribe, it was located on the Saginaw Trail and became an important wagon and carriage production centre in the 1880s. It later turned to the manufacture of automobiles, auto parts, buses, and trucks. The Oakland County Pioneer and Historical Society is headquartered in the Governor Moses Wisner Mansion (1845). Oakland University (1957) in nearby Rochester is the site of the summer Meadow Brook Music Festival. Pontiac is the site of the Silverdome, a large indoor sports arena. Inc. village, 1837; city, 1861. Pop. (2000) 66,337; (2005 est.) 67,331.

▪ Ottawa chief
born c. 1720, , on the Maumee River [now in Ohio, U.S.]
died April 20, 1769, near the Mississippi River [at present-day Cahokia, Ill.]
 Ottawa Indian chief who became a great intertribal leader when he organized a combined resistance—known as Pontiac's War (1763–64)—to British power in the Great Lakes area.

      Little is known of Pontiac's early life, but by 1755 he had become a tribal chief. His commanding manner and talent for strategic planning also enabled him to become the leader of a loose confederacy among the Ottawa, the Potawatomi, and the Ojibwa. In 1760 he met Major Robert Rogers (Rogers, Robert), a British colonial ranger on his way to occupy Michilimackinac (St. Ignace, Mich.) and other forts surrendered by the French during the French and Indian War of 1754–63. Pontiac agreed to let the British troops pass unmolested on condition that he be treated with respect.

      He soon came to realize, however, that under the British rule his people would no longer be welcome in the forts and that they would ultimately be deprived of their hunting grounds by aggressive settlers encroaching upon their ancestral lands. Thus, in 1762 Pontiac enlisted support from practically every Indian tribe from Lake Superior to the lower Mississippi for a joint campaign to expel the British. In what the English called “Pontiac's Conspiracy,” he arranged for each tribe to attack the nearest fort (May 1763) and then to combine to wipe out the undefended settlements.

      The shrewd and daring leader elected to capture Detroit himself, and it is for this military action that he is particularly remembered. When his carefully laid plans for a surprise attack (May 7) were betrayed to the commanding officer, he was forced to lay siege to the fort. On July 31 Pontiac won a brilliant victory at the Battle of Bloody Run, but the besieged fort was nevertheless able to receive reinforcements, and on October 30 Pontiac withdrew to the Maumee River.

      Pontiac's larger plan was more successful. Of the 12 fortified posts attacked by the united tribes, all but 4 were captured; most of the garrisons were wiped out, several relief expeditions were nearly annihilated, and the frontier settlements were plundered and laid desolate. By 1764 continuing British action began to take its toll, however, and Pontiac finally agreed to conclude a treaty of peace in July 1766.

      Three years later, while he was visiting in Illinois, a Peoria Indian stabbed and killed him. His death occasioned a bitter war among the tribes, and the Illinois group was almost annihilated by his avengers.

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Universalium. 2010.

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