The Royal Canadian Mint have released a new gold coin which is a tribute to one of Canada’s great military heroes of the War of 1812. Known as Tecumseh (1768-1813), whose life and legacy as a legendary Shawnee war leader are woven into the complex fabric of Canada’s history, he is now honoured on the 250th anniversary of his birth. His beliefs, triumphs, and sacrifice were fuelled by a desire to protect his homeland. Born in 1768, Tecumseh, whose name refers to “the rising path of a shooting star, like a panther leaping across the sky,” was a member of the Kispoko division of the Shawnees that focused on war. While the spiritual teachings of his brother Tenskwatawa (the prophet) warned of the dangers of abandoning ancestral ways, Tecumseh’s message was one of cross-cultural unity.
His first visit to Canada (Upper Canada) was in 1808 when he arrived at Fort Malden located in Amherstburg, Ontario. While initially cautious of the British, the Americans aroused Tecumseh’s fury with the Treaty of Fort Wayne in 1810 and an attack on his settlement at Prophetstown, known as the Battle of Tippecanoe, in 1811. Tecumseh was offered the rank of brigadier-general in the British Army and would go on to lead over 2,000 warriors into four major battles: The Siege of Detroit, Fort Meigs, Fort Stephenson, and the Battle of the Thames. Thousands of First Nations warriors would eventually side with the British during the War of 1812 and played a key role in defending Upper and Lower Canada against invading forces.
During the War of 1812 British and Native American forces under Sir Isaac Brock (1769-1812), the British Army officer and colonial administrator who was assigned to govern Lower Canada in 1802, defeated the Americans under the command of General Stephen Van Rensselaer at the Battle of Queenstown Heights on the Niagara frontier in Ontario, Canada. The British victory, in which more than 1,000 U.S. troops were killed, wounded, or captured, effectively ended any further U.S. invasion of Canada, but Sir Isaac was killed during this battle. As evidence of their mutual respect, Sir Isaac Brock gave Tecumseh the red sash from his uniform while Tecumseh gave the British commander his beaded belt. Brock was wearing Tecumseh’s belt when he was shot during the Battle of Queenstown Heights on the 13th October 1812. Tecumseh himself was killed in the Battle of the Thames near Thamesville, Ontario, in October 1813.
Aside from his military prowess and success, Tecumseh is also remembered for advocating the establishment of a First Nations confederacy, which he hoped would stretch from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes as the best line of defence to repel American expansion in the west.
The coin is designed by Canadian artist Bonnie Ross who has drawn from various visual and written sources to present an ideal portrait of the legendary Shawnee war leader. Presented in three-quarter profile, Tecumseh is depicted in his traditional Shawnee clothing, as described by one of Sir Isaac Brock’s men, with the King George III medal worn around his neck. Behind the carefully sculpted bust, a precision-engraved map fills the field. This illustrated representation of Upper Canada circa 1813 highlights Tecumseh’s key role as a military ally during the War of 1812, but the area above his right shoulder has added significance which includes the sites of several major conflicts involving Tecumseh, including the Battle of the Thames where he was slain in 1813. The reverse includes the text Tecumseh and the commemorative dates 1768 – 2018 in stylistic 1812 typography along with the text CANADA and the face value 100 DOLLARS.
The obverse side features the effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II designed by Susanna Blunt and has been seen on all Canadian circulation and many commemorative coins since 2003.
|12 g||27 mm||Proof||
The coin is encapsulated and presented in a Royal Canadian Mint-branded maroon custom case with a black outer protective box and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity. For additional information on this and other coins available from the Royal Canadian Mint, please visit their website.