Pontiac's original name was
For some reason Pontiac rolled better off a white's tongue.
Pontiac is also spelled Pontiak,
Pondiak, Pondiac, Pontdiag, Ponteack, Ponteach, or Pontiague.
Portrait of Pontiac by John Mix
Detroit Historical Museum
Pontiac was a chief of the Ottawa.
Moreover, he united the tribes, inspired, and led them against the
British in what became known as
Although Pontiac did not succeed
in expelling the British from the Great Lakes region, he
stands out in history for attempting the endeavor.
Furthermore, he succeeded in
uniting the tribes to fight as one, which in itself is a
mighty accomplishment. In 1762 and 1763, several attempts by
Indians to rally their fellow tribes were made, but none of
them took off.
Pontiac is described as a
respected, admired, and highly intelligent leader.
However, the descriptions vary from
"proud, vindictive, warlike, and very easily offended" to having
"great strength of judgment and a thirst after knowledge."
The first is a quote from the
Journal of Pontiacís conspiracy (probably by Robert Navarre),
and the latter a 1765 quote from Major Robert Rogers.
Deputy Indian agent George
Croghan had the following to say,
Pontiac is a shrewd, sensible Indian, of few
words, and commands more respect among his
own nation than any Indian I ever saw, could
do among his own tribe.
Here you can read the
quote in its context.
One thing is for sure, Pontiac did not pussy-foot around. He was
a war chief and behaved as such.
The tribal affiliations of Pontiac's
parents are not known. The 19th century sources contradict each
Around 1720 - Birth on the Maumee
River (today Ohio). Exact place of birth not known.
1763 - 1766 - Pontiac's Rebellion
1766 - 1769 - Expelled by his village,
Pontiac becomes a lone hunter and trader.
April 20, 1769 - Death at Cahokia,
Illinois. Pontiac is stabbed and killed by a
See also the much more detailed
Timeline of Pontiac's Rebellion.