A war fought mainly because of a trade conflict between the U.S. and Britain (The U.S. was supplying Napoleonic France in which Britain and several other European powers were fighting at the time). This war started in 1812 when U.S. president James Madison declared war upon Great Britain. The U.S. declared war first because of the increased amount of American shipping being intercepted by the British Navy, America's desire to expand into Canada and the increased vocations of the War Hawks, an American organization thats sole objective was to exact revenge on Great Britain after the American Revolution. The first fighting occured when an American force was launched over the Niagara River, although the force was large and had good leadership it mainly consisted of militia from New York who simply refused to cross into a foreign land to fight(the militia did have the right to do this because the main purpose of a militia is to defend home soil). This force then blindly marched deeper into Upper Canada where they were attacked by Butler's Rangers and forced to retreat. Knowing their mistake the Americans drafted militia into the armed services. Next the Americans moved against Montreal, the gateway between Upper Canada and the Atlantic Ocean, but the winter of 1812 came very quickly and the Americans lost a third of their force before even getting to Montreal. When they did arrive an amazing blizzard had created zero visibilty and both sides started firing into the wind, the Montreal militia barricaded within the gates of the cities were able to hold off the Americans until reinforcements arrived and the Americans retreated again. Things were not looking well for the U.S. and by this time the British sent and expeditonary force to Canada. The British then tried to invade the U.S. via Lake Ontario but the highly superior British fleet was humbly defeated by the Americans but they did not capture Toronto due to popular belief so invasion was successfully repelled...for now. The Brits then split their forces in two and headed in two directions, one force to Detroit and the other to capture New York. The force to Detroit was successful and the city was taken but the force heading east took much longer as they stopped and burnt down many small coastal towns along their route, they were slow enough that the Americans could retaliate and the Brits then found their way back to Canada. Now the Brits were so irritated that they launched a force by way of sea right to Washington and they burnt down the White House and pillaged the surrounding area, then the Brits moved to Baltimore where they tried to siege the city but the Yanks soundly defeated the Brits outside of the city. The British force was nearly annihilated and the living were captured, now the British force was only at half strength and that half was far to the west and could not stop a counter-invasion by the Yanks. Sir Isaac Brock, the Commander of the Canadian Militia knew he needed to act quickly to stop the Americans from advancing through the Niagara region so he gathered all the militia under his command and garrisoned British troops aswell as a large number native americans and headed to Queenston heights. When Brock arrived the Americans were waiting for him and had set up their artillery on the hills, Brock then charged each of the hills personally leading the assault. This was a great Canadian victory but Brock had died during the battle and leadership was now a large issue. The Brits in Detroit then decided to float down the Mississippi and take New Orleans, this was a catastrophe, the Brits didn't stop to take St. Louis and they St. Louis militia took potshots at the British, resulting in heavy casualties, when the Brits did arrive they had no will to fight and were slaughtered in the swamps of Lousiana. This led to the Brits asking for peace, they did this mostly because the war with France was not going well, James Madison signed the treaty and the war was over.

Many historians debate over who won but it is a fact that an American invasion was repulsed which was the entire objective of the Canadian and British forces.
The war of 1812 was a uneeded loss of life.
by Norman April 22, 2005
Top Definition
A silly war that broke out between UK/Canada and the USA that resulted in nothing good in which both sides lost a lot of men and gained nothing for it.
Now used as a stupid excuse for superpatriots from both CUNTries to slag each other off.
The was had significant victories and losses for both sides.
For example:
The Yanks captured Toronto
The Brits captured Detroit

The Yanks burnt Toronto
The Brits burnt Washington DC

The Brits failed to capture Baltimore
The Yanks failed to capture Montreal

The Brits were basly defeated at New Orleans
The Yanks were badly defeated at Queenston heights
Think I've made my point clear.
The War of 1812 was a draw, the Americans didn't win and neither did the British.
But of course with pricks such as JB and Kung-Fu Jesus using this dictionary the phrase is going to be nothing more than an exucse for Brits and Americans to horribly bash each other
by Robert Bavister August 02, 2004

A war between the British Empire and the United States of America from 1812-1815 CE. Generally considered a spin-off conflict or associated minor conflict to the Napoleanic Wars, because the original issue of the war was the United States' issues with Britain and France who blockaded American shipping that resulted from the larger war and thus violated America's rights as a neutral nation. James Monroe was president at this time. Other notable leaders were Governer Prevost of Lower Canada, General Isaac Brock, Native leader Tecumseh, and General Jackson.

Because of the geography of the conflict and the United States of America's contemporary status as a minor power, the only way for America to vent its rage against Britain was to attack Britain's possessions north of its borders. The British provinces and homelands of the emerging two nations of future Canada, Upper Canada (Ontario), and Lower Canada (Québec) as well as the American New England States were the primary theatres of conflict.

Treaty of Ghent ends War of 1812, restores status quo ante bellum. Significant loss of life and property, including vital government infrastructure from the burning of York, Upper Canada, and Washington, D.C. Despite the obvious ill feeling generated by the conflict, the Treaty of Ghent provided for the creation of commisions to deal peacefully issues between the United States and Great Britain, and later on Canada. The aftermath of the war also was notable as a dark period for the native tribes of North America, as the destruction of Tecumseh's Confederacy broke the power of the eastern Native tribes and paved the way for unchecked American expansion at their expense.


Probably the most misrepresented chapter of North American history, generations of obsessively jignostic Canadians and Americans have bent the historical facts to conclude that their nation "won" the conflict. The British, being the sane ones in this cherade, don't really care that much.

Canadians tend to assert that it was their militia had handily defeated the USA and burnt the White House. This is false, a British fleet did the deed. Canadian militia merely held their ground.

Americans tend to claim victory over the Battle of New Orleans, when this battle happened after the Treaty of Ghent was signed, and the British force could not be reached in time to inform them.
by D.I.D. March 30, 2010
Another great defonition on urbandictionary where pseudo-historians get on here and argue about who won when it dosnt matter.
get over it no one cares.
by loca February 16, 2005
Truly one of the most pointless wars ever fought. This is largely in part due to the Americans claiming the impressment of American sailors into the Royal Navy as their main reason to go to war. Thanks to the communications of the period, it would be months before Americans learned the British Parliament had voted to cease Impressment a day prior to the invocation of the declaration of war.

When the treaty of Ghent was signed at the end of 1814, all conquered land was returned to its previous owner, a declaration of status-quo. This meant that the British would be returned the far south of Upper Canada, while the Americans would be returned Fort Niagara, New York, the northern half of the state of Maine, the Northwest Territories, and Fort Astoria (in modern day Oregon).

Although the Americans won no territory immediately after the conflict, for many years the British would cede territory to them, and the threat of the northwest Indians had ended.

According to British documents, officially 1600 British soldiers died in battle. According to American documents, officially 2200 Americans died in combat. However, the militia fighting for both sides had a tendency to keep poor records, the indians known to keep none oncesoever, so combat deaths are likely higher. Moreover, the American military, after a string of disasters early in the war, often delibrately under-reported it's losses, while inconsistences in British dispatches and regimental accounts of casualties may offer a similar result. Furthermore, losses from exposure and disease ran high, formost in the American military. It is estimated that at any given time, 33% of British troops would be unavailable for action due to sickness, while 50% of American soldiers could be expected to be unable to fight.

All in all, the war's greatest results were a sense of patriotism in both the Canadians and Americans, and the final screwing over of the northwest indian peoples.
Teacher: "Who won the War of 1812?"
Student: "Not the Indian peoples."

Bob: "The American army fought bravely during the War of 1812"
Ray: "Too bad they were largely lead by incompetent louts until 1814."
by Offenso August 10, 2005
The outcome of the war was a stalemate: neither side benefited when the Treaty of Ghent was signed. However, during the war a British blockade forced the United States, a mercantile nation, to seriously industrialize because its lucrative trade with Europe was disrupted.

Also, Americans began, for better or worse, to develop their own distinct culture that distanced itself from Britain. With some exceptions in more sophisticated cities like New York and Philadelphia, and a few major southern plantations, European high culture and intellectualism were taboo in America for many years after the war. This was the era that saw the emergence of rural "white trash" American folk heroes like Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone.
...and that is what American schoolchildren are taught.
by Bunga Bunga, again June 27, 2004
From the British point of view, an annoying distraction from the main task of beating Napoleon.

From the American point of view, time to fight back against the British policy of pressganging US citizens into the Royal Navy.

From the Canadian point of view, a War of Liberation against a piece of naked US aggression. The US believed it was their "manifest destiny" to control the whole of the North American continent (hence also the war against Mexico). This remained their dominant philosophy, well into the twentieth century and arguably they still haven't got it out of their system.
The continued existence of the Dominion of Canada proves that the US lost the War of 1812. The British had already revoked the pressganging policy a few days before hostilities began. If it wasn't for the absurd Louisiana campaign, no myth of victory, or even a draw, would have persisted.
by Eppsy November 09, 2004
A battle that happened a long time ago yet still manages to raise pointless controversy from the idiots on both sides over who really won. IT WAS A TIE, NOW GET OVER IT!
stop using UD to argue over stupid things like who won the war of 1812, cuz it was a tie, maybe do a little studying before you make your self look like a whining idiot
by Anoyed Canadian February 24, 2011
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