British Military Presence in the Colonies 1764–76

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Map Code: Ax01380

Through the Treaty of Paris (1763), Britain acquired vast additional territories in North America. However, the war left Britain with crippling debts, exacerbated by the cost of protecting and administering its gains. Pontiac’s rebellion (1763–64) saw the destruction of eight forts, and the deaths of 400 British soldiers and many more colonists. The Crown perceived the uprising as the inevitable result of reckless expansion, and in the aftermath sought to interdict that expansion by banning westward colonization and imposing duties upon the colonists to pay for their continuing defence. Initially, most British troops garrisoned border forts designed to protect against Indian (and potentially French or Spanish) incursion. But in the late 1760s, many were moved east, where victualling was easier. The collection of duties was enforced through the Vice-Admiralty courts, and in extremis military intimidation culminated in the ‘Boston Massacre’ (1770) in which five died, hastening the descent to war.

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