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Tecumseh (1768-1813) was the Shawnee leader of a Pan-Indian confederation forged between 1807 and 1813. Believed to have been born in present-day Ohio, his father was killed at the Battle at Point Pleasant in 1774. He was perhaps the most important Indian leader of the early nineteenth century.

Tecumseh rose to power in 1807 within the religious movement started by his younger brother, Tenskwatawa. This movement, which initially emphasized cultural renewal and the rejection of European-American influences, assumed an increasingly political character after 1807. As part of this evolution, leadership within the movement shifted from the prophet Tenskwatawa to Tecumseh, whose leadership was more secular in nature. In 1811, Tenskwatawa ordered his followers into battle against an American force led by William Henry Harrison at Tippecanoe Creek, leading to the defeat of the Indians and the discrediting of Tenskwatawa. Later, Tecumseh led a remnant of the confederation into an alliance with Britain during the War of 1812. At the Battle of the Thames in 1813, the British and Indians were defeated by an American force, Tecumseh was killed, and the surviving Indians withdrew from the alliance.

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