Thursday, April 29, 2021

Tecumseh's Great Earthquake Prediction

Prior to the War of 1812, white settlers were increasingly taking over Native American lands, cutting and clearing trees and building villages. The British capitalized on the resentment felt by many tribes. In an effort to get them to join their side, Shawnee leader, Chief Tecumseh, was given guns and ammo to fight the Americans. The chief then went a step further by travelling from tribe to tribe with his Tenskwatawa, known as 'The Prophet,' trying to unite the Indians into a fight against the white settlers.

He told the Red Stick Creeks that the Great Spirit was angry with their enemies. "He speaks in thunder, and the earth swallows up villages, and drinks up the Mississippi. The Great Spirit will sweep those who escape to the hills from the earth with his terrible breath, he said.”

Tecumseh said he would give them proof that the Great Spirit had sent him. "I leave Tuckabatchee (on the Tallapossa River in what is today Alabama) and shall go to Detroit. When I arrive there, I will stamp on the ground with my foot and shake down every house in Tuckabatchee.”

His message didn’t go over well. His audience was skeptical, but imagine their surprise when on December 16, 1811, exactly when he arrived in Detroit, that the first of three strong earthquakes shook the ground. The first one on December 16, 1811, produced a magnitude of 8.1 on the Richter scale; the second on January 23, 1812, registered 7.8; and the third on February 7, 1812, registered an 8.8 magnitude.The epicenter was around what is today, New Madrid, Missouri and were felt as far away as Boston, Massachusetts, where it is said that church bells rang on their own. The earthquakes altered the landscape so severely, that the Mississippi River momentarily reversed its direction. Two thousand aftershocks occurred in the months following. The earthquakes, also known as the New Madrid earthquakes, were the biggest in American history.

The Red Sticks thought that this was Tecumseh’s signal to start war, to unite in resisting the white intruders intent on claiming their lands, but perhaps there had been a large number of mild or moderate tremors in the region leading up to the earthquakes and, since native peoples are more in tune with nature, that Tecumseh merely knew which natural signs to look for.

Was the Great Comet of 1812 part of Tecumseh’s prediction of a great fire, estimated to have been almost fifty percent larger than the sun, coming across the sky? The earthquakes arriving almost in conjunction with the fiery comet rushing across the horizon must have struck fear into many native peoples hearts.

It was in the fall of the year when the call for volunteers went out at the outbreak of the War of 1812. The soldiers would march to Lake Erie to assist General William H. Harrison in a fight with British troops and their Indian allies, including the great Shawnee Chief, Tecumseh. On October 5, 1813, American forces crossed over into Canada where they fought and won the Battle of the Thames. It was said Major WooTecumseh was killed during the battle.

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