By the Treaty of Paris in 1763, which ended the Seven Years’ War, huge tracts of North America were transferred from France to the British Crown. Indian tribes, who had generally supported France in the war, occupied the land abutting the western borders of the American colonies. The British government decided it needed to pacify the Native Americans, at least until it had built up the capacity to subdue them. The Proclamation Line ran along the Appalachian watershed, and settlement to the west of the line was prohibited. The Proclamation enraged colonial land speculators, as well as many colonists, some of whom had received grants of land beyond the Line as a reward for loyal service in the recent war – George Washington, for example. The Pontiac rebellion, in which many newly British forts were destroyed soon justified the Crown’s fears. A succession of new treaties soon relaxed the strict prohibitions represented by the Line.
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