War of 1812

War of 1812 Background

The War of 1812 was fought between the United States of America and Britain. Basically, it was an extension of another war which was going on, at the same time, between France under Napoleon and Britain.

Both sides wanted America to help them but America managed to stay neutral until 1812. But in 1812, a number of events happened which forced America to declare war against Britain.

Battle of New Orleans 1815

The Battle of New Orleans took place in January, 1815 Read more about the Battle of New Orleans 1815 >>

Battle of the Thames 1813

The Battle of the Thames took place on October 5, 1813, in Ontario, Upper Canada along the bank of river Thames Read more about the Battle of the Thames 1813 >>

Britain Captures Washington

Britain with Washington under their control burned down many important buildings.

Read more about the Britain Captures Washington >>

Treaty of Ghent

1814 - Treaty of Ghent was a peace treaty signed by United States of America and Britain which ended the 1812 War Read more about the Treaty of Ghent >>

What caused the war?

America was a newly-born nation in 1812 and it wanted to stay neutral in the war between France and Britain. That was because America had good relations with both France and Britain.

The British decided that they didn’t want the Americans to trade with France and so they blocked American trade with France. Also, the British Royal Navy captured nearly 10,000 American merchant sailors and forced them to fight against France on Britain’s side.

This caused anger in the United States. The final stroke came when Britain started supporting Native American tribes in American West. Britain did this so that it could establish a buffer zone between the expanding USA and the British colonies in the northwest and Canada. These actions finally persuaded America to declare war against Britain.

The Start of the War

The war started on June 18, 1812, when American forces attacked the British colony in Canada. This was a failed attack and the British forces were easily able to defeat the Americans.

Initially, British forces were successful in the war and the USA lost the city of Detroit to the British forces. But then in 1813, American forces defeated a British army as well as a Native American army fighting on the side of the British.

Burning of Washington D.C.

Washington D.C. was a very important American city at the time. It was where the U.S. President had his residence, the same place which later became the White House. British forces attacked Washington D.C. on August 24, 1814.

They were able to take control of the city and burnt down a number of important buildings including the White House. However, American forces continued to fight and the morale of the Americans remained high.

America Defeats Britain

Later in 1814, the American forces were able to gain a number of important victories over the British forces.

One of these was the Battle of Baltimore. This battle took place from September 12, 1814, to September 15, 1814. The British attacked, trying to take control of an American fort and reach the city of Baltimore. However, the Americans defended the fort well and the British attack failed.

The next important American victory took place at the Battle of New Orleans. The battle started on December 24, 1814, and continued until January 8, 1815. Again, the British attacked New Orleans which was an important port city.

They wanted to take control of the city and damage American trade which would have forced America to stop the war. The Americans not only fought back successfully, they even counter-attacked and defeated the British forces.


At the end of the war, neither America nor Britain had gained any land. However, America was able to retain its independence and for this reason, this war is often called the Second War of Independence.

Both sides signed a peace treaty called the Treaty of Ghent which restored peaceful relations between America and Britain.

Read More about the War of 1812 at Wikipedia