The American Revolution was fought between England and thirteen of its North American colonies. Most historians maintain that the war began on April 19, 1775, with the battles of Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts, although the colonies did not officially approve and issue a Declaration of Independence until July 4, 1776. The Americans rebelled for two principal reasons. The first was taxation that England imposed to help it pay off its debts from the French and Indian War. The second reason involved England's refusal to allow its colonists to settle the Ohio Country. England, hoping to prevent further conflicts with Native Americans like Pontiac's Rebellion, had issued the Proclamation of 1763. It prohibited white settlement of the Ohio Country.
The American Revolution lasted until 1783, although the final major battle between the English Army and the Continental Army took place at Yorktown, Virginia, in October 1781. The Treaty of Paris (1783) formally ended the war. Under this treaty, England recognized America's independence. The British relinquished all land north of Florida, south of Canada, and east of the Mississippi River to the Americans and promised to remove all of its soldiers from this territory. Few major battles occurred in the Ohio Country during the American Revolution. There was, however, tremendous bloodshed as the Americans and the British struggled to gain the support of the Indians. Many tribes, such as the Shawnee Indians and the Delaware Indians, initially hoped to remain neutral in the conflict. Most eventually sided with England. They feared that, if the Americans emerged victorious, white settlers would flood into the Ohio Country.
English soldiers under various commanders, including Henry Bird and Henry Hamilton, conducted raids with their native allies against American outposts, such as Fort Laurens, in the Ohio Country. American military commanders, such as Archibold Lochry, George Rogers Clark, Daniel Brodhead, David Williamson, Edward Hand, and William Crawford, also attacked the British and their Native American allies. On several occasions, the American military destroyed native settlements and murdered Indian captives. The most brutal example of this was the Gnadenhutten Massacre in 1782. Once the war ended in 1783, tensions continued to remain high between the Americans and the Indians. Violence continued as settlers moved into the territory won from the English in the American Revolution.