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date: 05 March 2021


(1768–05 October 1813)
  • John Sugden


Tecumseh (1768–05 October 1813), Shawnee chief, was born probably along the Scioto River in Ohio, the son of Pukeshinwa, a war chief of the Kispoko band, and Methoataaskee. The name “Tecumseh,” or more properly “Tecumtha,” signifying a celestial panther, reflected the clan affiliation inherited from his father. At this time, Shawnees were attempting to reunite in the Ohio Valley, from which they had been displaced in the seventeenth century, and to defend the territory against white expansion. Conflict over settlement of Kentucky by Virginians eventually led to the Shawnees’ defeat on 10 October 1774 at Point Pleasant, where Pukeshinwa was killed. During the American Revolution, fears for territory ultimately persuaded the Shawnee to assist Britain by attacking the Kentucky and Virginia frontiers. Tecumseh was too young to participate in these raids, but the war forced his village to retreat to the Mad River (now Springfield, Ohio) in 1777 and to a site near present-day Bellefontaine in 1780....

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