The War of 1812 was fought from 1812 (or in reality, 1811) to 1815 by the United States on one side and the British Empire and a Confederacy of indigenous nations ("Indians") on the other side. The war was the continuation of a number of preexisting conflicts: it took place less than twenty-five years after the American Revolution and in the context of the American population boom and westward expansion and the Napoleonic Wars happening in Europe at the same time. The bulk of the fighting took place along the present-day border between Canada and the U.S.A. in the Niagara Peninsula but battles occurred as far afield as New Orleans in the south. As so often with wars, the people making the decisions about the war, like U.S. President James Madison and the so-called "chicken-hawks" in Congress or British Governor General of British North America George Prévost, did not suffer the burdens of the war which were mostly borne by rank-and-file soldiers and civilians in the affected regions, most especially the indigenous peoples. After years of bloody back-and-forth raids that included the burning of the White House in Washington, the war ended without any change in borders between British Canada and the U.S.A., but the indigenous peoples of the Great Lakes were left devastated by the fighting. Britain and America went on to patch up their differences and the Americans continued to extend into indigenous land. Because of this inconclusive and wasteful Britons and Americans tend not to think of the war as particularly "important" (or noble) part of their histories, but in Canada it is looked at as something like a "war of independence" against American invasion, and there are many historic sites and museums dedicated to it.



Map of War of 1812
  • 1 Tippecanoe Battlefield Park. The location of the battle in 1811 between the United States and the Shawnee that forced the Shawnee to flee to Canada seeking British support. One of the principal causes of the US-British war one year later.    
  • 3 Carleton Martello Tower National Historic Site.    
  • 4 Coteau-du-Lac National Historic Site.    
  • 5 Fort George National Historic Site.    
  • 6 Fort St. Joseph National Historic Site.    
  • 7 Fort Lennox National Historic Site.    
  • 8 Fort Malden National Historic Site.    
  • 9 Fort McHenry, 410 962-4290 x250. Defensive installation for the city of Baltimore, famous for defending Baltimore Harbor against a British attack on September 13–14, 1814. Francis Scott Key wrote the U.S. national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner, describing the battle in music.    
  • 10 Fort Wellington National Historic Site.    
  • 11 St. Andrews Blockhouse National Historic Site.  
  • 12 Rideau Canal World Heritage Site.  
  • 13 Queenston Heights National Historic Site.    


  • Gilbert Collins, Guidebook to the Historic Sites of the War of 1812
  • John Grant and Ray Jones, The War of 1812: A Guide to Battlefields and Historic Sites