For a short time it appeared possible that the Native American People would have their own country. The proposed land encompassed the area lying between the Ohio river and the Great Lakes and takes in the modern states of Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
We can only imagine what a different world it might be had this plan come to fruition. Today, in between the USA and Canada you would have a huge tract of country with a status similar to Lesotho and Swaziland. In economic terms it had the potential to become a powerhouse. The proposed nation straddled the Mississippi and could have acted as a market exchange between the nations of Canada in the North, the USA in the East, French Louisiana in the South and the Spanish territories in the West.
The idea emerged after the American Revolutionary War. The British came up with the idea of supporting their Indian allies and creating the new state as a barrier between the USA and Canada.
The USA treated the Native Americans as defeated powers. The Native Americans did not accept this position and rose up against the American annexation of their lands. On November 4th, 1791 a group of tribes led by Blue Jacket (Shawnee), Buckongahelas (Delawares), Little Turtle (Miamis) and with a large contingent of Potawatomis inflicted a catastrophic defeat on the US army led by Arthur St.Clair. Popularly known as the Battle of the Wabash the indian victory made the idea of an Indian Nation all the more tangible for the British.
Then Napoleon began to conquer his way across Europe. The British Government found itself isolated. Rather than further antagonise the fledgling American State they abandoned the notion of an Indian Barrier State.
It is interesting to think, in an alternate reality, what North America could be like today.
Hell on the Wabash; by Carl Sandburg
When country fiddlers held a convention in
Danville, the big money went to a barn dance
artist who played Turkey in the Straw, with
They asked him the name of the piece calling
it a humdinger and he answered, “I call it
‘Hell on the Wabash.'”
The two next best were The Speckled Hen, and
Sweet Potatoes Grow in Sandy Land, with