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Timeline / Reshaping America / 1811: Tecumseh’s War begins at Tippecanoe in Indiana

1811: Tecumseh’s War begins at Tippecanoe in Indiana

As tensions rise in Indian Territory, which now includes Indiana and Ohio, the U.S. decides to launch a preemptive strike on the growing confederacy headed by the Shawnee leader Tecumseh. Where the Wabash and Tippecanoe rivers meet, Tecumseh's brother, Tenskwatawa, leads about 500 Native men against the U.S. attackers. William Henry Harrison, the governor of Indian Territory and future U.S. president, commands the U.S. forces. The U.S. gains tactical advantage in the Battle of Tippecanoe, but Tenskwatawa’s outnumbered but more experienced troops sustain few casualties. A bigger war is brewing.

Throughout the nation’s history, the U.S. has used the term Indian Territory to talk about land that is still under the control of Native peoples. “Indian Territory” moves farther west as the U.S. frontier pushes westward.

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