The War of 1812

Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff


  • U.S. troops engaged: 286,730
  • American battle deaths: 2,260
  • The U.S. declared war on Great Britain during its war with France.
  • America passed a series of laws that closed its ports to British ships that were loaded with goods they planned to sell in the U.S.
  • Colonists suspected that Britain was trying to prevent their western expansion by trying to claim land in what was then the Northwest Territory (now the Ohio River Valley) and arm American Indians.
  • War was declared on June 18, 1812.
  • Capt. Oliver Perry's victory on Lake Erie in September 1813 allowed American forces, under Gen. William Henry Harrison, to advance against the British, who burned Detroit and retreated into Canada.
  • In August of 1814 a British expedition to Chesapeake Bay won an easy victory at Bladensburg and took Washington, burning the Capitol and the White House. The victorious British, however, were halted at Fort McHenry before they reached Baltimore, persuading British statesmen to end the war.
  • The American victory at Fort McHenry near Baltimore inspired Francis Scott Key to write our national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
  • The Treaty of Ghent was signed in 1814. The British gave up their demands for the Great Lakes region and an American Indian state under British rule. It helped further establish the northern boundary with Canada. The loss of British support gave the Indians little choice but to give up their land in the Northwest Territory.

See The War of 1812 for more details about the dates and events of this war.

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