Just how much do you care about the War of 1812?

Canadians have of late been inundated with a great deal of codswallop concerning the War of 1812.

My eyes glazed over even as I wrote that line. I mean to say, who the hell cares about a skirmish of 200 years ago? Especially a skirmish that is of absolutely no significance whatsoever in my part of Canada. This is all eastern Canada twaddle. Yet, eastern Canada pays very little attention to a conflict much closer to home here – the ‘Pig War’. More about that anon

As all Canadian schoolkids are taught, “we” won the War of 1812. Yay for us. You don’t get many causes for Canuck chauvinism so there’s a good buy-in.

 By the way, my American uncle said they were taught that the US won the war. Isn’t that just like Americans? Come on, neighbors, can’t you at least give us that one?

I suppose in the sense that the fledgling US was intent on taking over what was then British North America and didn’t succeed you might say ‘we’ won. Oh, except for the fact the ‘we’ in question was actually Britain and not particularly Canada if only because there was no Canada yet, let alone one with the legal right to make autonomous decisions that involved warfare with the Yanks and such.

Oh, and the war is also famous in Canadian eyes because we burnt the White House. Or, the Brits did, at least, and that is true.

But, in retaliation the Yanks burned down a place known then as ‘Little Muddy York’ (AKA Toronto). There are those out here who would like to still call it LMY, when it’s not ‘Hogtown’ or home of the reviled ‘Leafs’

Otherwise, the War of 1812 in Canadian eyes is largely about Laura Secord who invented boxed chocolates and a battle in a place called Lundy’s Lane which is situated – somewhere.

John Paul Jones was also a big naval hero on Lake Erie or somewhere where he sank the Edmund Fitzgerald.

And that’s about it for me on the War of 1812. An interesting note, however, concerning that conflict (which ended in 1814) was that the noted in song and fable Battle of New Orleans that was won by the Americans led by Johnny Horton, was that the great victory took place in 1815.

“It’s over?? WTF??” is the famous quote by Col. Andy Jackson.

Now about that much more interesting Pig War:

The Pig War was a confrontation in 1859 between the United States and the British Empire over the boundary between the US and British North America. The territory in dispute was the San Juan Islands, which lie between Vancouver Island and the North American mainland. The Pig War, so called because it was triggered by the shooting of a pig, is also called the Pig Episode, the Pig and Potato War, the San Juan Boundary Dispute or the Northwestern Boundary Dispute. With no human casualties, this dispute was a bloodless conflict.

I expect everyone feels a little more historically enlightened now.


10 responses to “Just how much do you care about the War of 1812?

  1. Thanks for the Canadian history lesson!

  2. I have been watching the ads the Government has been running about 1812 and wondering why my tax dollars are being spent on it. Absolutely no reason that I can figure to be running ads on TV at taxpayers expense. Unless the little twerp in Ottawa wants us to start celebrating our warrior nationhood, ready for the next expedition he dreams up. I so much preferred Canada as peace keeper.

  3. Oh! I started humming Tchaikovsky’s “overture” and visualising thousands of freezing Frenchies…

    That war, then. But why is it suddenly back on the agenda? And do I care?

  4. Makes a change from the War of Jenkins’ Ear.

  5. Living here as I do in the thick of War of 1812 country, I have actually really gotten into all the re-enactments and the free talks and walks in a way I would not have were I living even a hundred kms farther away. It has been fun and enjoyable.
    But, I am getting a little tired of it… and there is still 3 years to go!
    And I do think Steve has gotten a little spend happy with our money over it all.

  6. And here I thought John Paul Jones was Led Zeppelin’s bassist…

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