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Gateway to Empire by Allan Eckert


The story traces the settling of the Illinois region from 1763 to 1816 and focuses on the Chicago Portage, a vital link between the East and the untapped riches of the West.
When Pontiac, Chief of the Ottawas, was murdered in 1769, his tribe, and others, swept into the territory of the Illinois Confederacy, virtually eradicated its members, and claimed the land for themselves. These Indians in turn faced encroachment, first from the British, then even more forcibly from the Americans. In exchange for relative peace, liquor, and trade goods, more and more Indian chiefs signed away their land.
But one Indian looked ahead and saw that his people would have no land at all unless they banded together to stop the white man. Tecumseh, a Shawnee of unparalleled wisdom and gift for prophecy, began to build his dream of a united Indian nation. A devastating treachery would undermine the plan at the last moment, and the Indians would have no choice but to fight alongside the British against the Americans in the War of 1812.

paperback. 688 pp., $19.00.
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