United States and Canada were parts of the Great Britain Commonwealth and the French Empire respectively, before they gained independence. The Seven Year war was a very important event in the history of the colonies and the British Empire.
The proclamation by King George III of Great Britain, the then ruler of the colonies, was basically an administrative initiative by the crown to establish a better government in the North American colonies and also establish a disciplined rule of the crown, and forms an integral part of the American history.
In order to understand the proclamation, it is necessary to understand the history and background of the colonies and their mother Empires.
The proclamation was made in 1763 after the Treaty of Paris, that concluded the rivalry between the British and French who had fought against each other in the Seven Year war.
The North American colonies belonging to several European powers significantly clashed against each other during the entire war and the British army and navy stationed in the North American areas had a significant advantage over the small number of French troops in the region.
The British military might have proved favorable in the established colonies of America as the empire was able to conquer Canada, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Lucia, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Tobago, which were colonies of France.
During the Treaty of Paris, the French colonies of Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Tobago were handed over to Great Britain. French Louisiana, a portion that spans from the Mississippi river to the Appalachian mountain range was also handed over to Great Britain.
In addition to that, Great Britain also annexed the Spanish territory of Florida. With effect, a partial modern-day map of the United States of America had already taken physical form with the conclusion of the Treaty of Paris.
With a broader view it must be noted that the French and Spanish gained a lot of territories and advantages in the remaining part of the world, especially Asia. The British crown, however, gained substantially in the New World, that is the Americans.
Provisions of the Proclamation
The proclamation in simple words can be stated as a governance policy by the Crown and an attempt to govern and manage the new lands which had been gained in the treaty. The summary, can be divided into three parts, namely, the new governments, the proclamation line and the relation between the colonies and the British Commonwealth.
One of the initial actions of King George was to establish a concrete method to dominate the North American colonies. This was easily done by establishing the Quebec, West Florida, East Florida, and Grenada governments. The second prominent aspect of the treaty was to bring about a harmony in the settlers, rulers, and the natives.
The land between the Mississippi river and the Appalachian mountain range was dominated by some genuine populations of Native Indians. In the regions around the Great lakes, this aspect of the proclamation was very important owing to the fact that the natives had a very friendly and close alliance with the French, especially in the trading sectors.
In fact, after the treat and implementation of the proclamation, some natives made an attempt to resist the British sovereignty, in a rebellion that is known as Pontiac's rebellion.
In order to further cement the relations between the three parties, the Crown also put forth a line along the Appalachian mountain range, which is known as the 'proclamation line'. The settlers were not exactly happy with line as they were not allowed to move beyond, towards the west of this line.
Apart from that, private land purchase from the Indians were banned. The future purchases and business dealings were strictly to be conducted in the Crowns name and solicitations. Effectively, the Crown had monopoly over several land dealings.
The outrage and objections of the colonists were later resolved with the help of several new treaties namely Treaty of Fort Stanwix, Treaty of Hard Labor, Treaty of Lochaber, which bought in West Virginia and Kentucky for further settlement. The Proclamation and the following three treaties were quite well-balanced proclamations by the British crown.
Some historians mark the Royal Proclamation of 1763 as the beginning of resentment period which finally led to the American revolution and declaration of independence, as the British interference in the colonies began to considerably increase.
The proclamation and its follow-up treaties is one apt example in world history where the decisions were well thought out by a monarch and aimed at the well-being of all the parties involved.