On today’s date in 1815, the Treaty of Peace and Amity between Great Britain and the U.S. was proclaimed, officially ending the War of 1812.
The two-and-a-half year conflict between the U.S. and Britain, its colonies — including former colonial Canada — and their aboriginal allies contributed greatly to Canada’s growing sense of identity and future nationhood.
“His Britannic Majesty and the United States of America, desirous of terminating the war which has unhappily subsisted between the two countries, and of restoring, upon principles of perfect reciprocity, peace, friendship, and good understanding between them, have, for that purpose, appointed their respective Plenipotentiaries,” reads the treaty, which was concluded at Ghent, Belgium, on Christmas Eve of 1814 before being ratified by U.S. President James Madison on Feb. 17, 1815, and proclaimed the following day.
While historians often debate the winners of the war, which was fought across Upper and Lower Canada, on the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean as well as in the U.S., a senior adviser to former U.S. secretary of state Condoleezza Rice said “ultimately, Canada and Canadians won the War of 1812.”
Eliot Cohen, a Johns Hopkins University professor, in his book Conquered Into Liberty, added: “Not only did the colony remain intact: It had acquired heroes, British and French, and a narrative of plucky defense against foreign invasion, that helped carry it to nationhood.”
2012 SILVER DOLLAR
In 2012, the Royal Canadian Mint issued a silver dollar commemorating the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.
The reverse design by Canadian artist Ardell Bourgeois depicts a British sergeant, a Canadian Voltigeur and an Iroquois warrior approaching U.S. invaders and defending the borders and colonies they represent. With a mintage of 40,000 pieces, the coin features 200 finely struck beads encircling its design, symbolizing the war’s 200th anniversary.