The proclamation of 1763 forbade white settlement on the territories of America to the west of the Appalachian Mountains. The document declared by the British king George III restricted colonists to territories that were recognized as Native American lands.
The proclamation of 1763 was an important historical event that made its contribution to the process of colonization of the New World and influenced the destiny of the territories of the Americas in the hands of white colonists. By the middle of the 18th century, the British Parliament had identified that the main reason for the conflicts on the newly acquired territories was the oppression of the local people – Indians. The French and Indian war resulted in surrendering two-thirds of eastern North America to the British authority. These newly available territories were perceived as easily accessible by the colonists, who intended to settle there. However, such actions of the European colonists might trigger new waves of conflicts between native tribes and white settlers. One of such encounters was Pontiac’s Rebellion of 1762 during which chief Pontiac organized Indian tribes to confront colonial settlements and free their land from invaders.
In response to Pontiac’s Rebellion, George III made a decision to use the power of the British Empire to regulate the processes in the colonization of the New World and resolve the problem with Native Americans once and for all. The proclamation of 1763 was intended to recognize Indian lands officially and thus eliminate the threat the local tribes imposed on the settlers. Therefore, the proclamation of 1763 was issued to create boundaries between the territories under the rule of the British empire and those in Native Americans’ possession. According to the text of the proclamation, no territory or land belonging to Indians could be purchased or otherwise obtained by colonists. It was anticipated that by allocating a significant part of territories to the tribes, they would not cause wars which were very costly for the empire.
The reason why the proclamation of 1763 was important is that it became the first document that recognized the interests of Native Americans and became a fundamental element in the creation of Native American law in the USA and Canada. This document was the first attempt to identify local tribes as lawful inhabitants whose rights need to be preserved. Also, the 1763 royal proclamation was a tool of economic influence of the Parliament. For the first time, the British officials obtained more power over the American lands than the colonists. In such a way, the authorities intended to impose their strict rule over the expansion of the western territories. They needed to control trade and speculation on the newly acquired territory.
However, the colonial reaction to the document was resentful. European settlers wanted to continue westward expansion without the intrusion of the British authorities. The proclamation of 1763 provided numerous economic benefits for the British empire and restricted expansion opportunities of white settlers. Therefore, many colonists ignored the restrictions for trade and migration. The outcome of the 1763 proclamation was that is imposed conflict between colonists and the British authorities and led to continuous wars with Native Americans. However, the document became a significant contribution to law by formally recognizing Indian lands and creating a foundation for further acknowledgement.