The name Tecumseh means "Panther Crossing". At the time of Tecumseh's birth in 1768, there was a meteor and the Shawnee believed that Tecumseh would become important. Tecumseh's father was a Shawnee chief and Tecumseh was one of eight children. His father was killed in battle fighting the Americans. Tecumseh was raised by his older siblings. The loss of his father at a young age shaped his attitude toward the Americans, he strongly disliked the Americans.
By his early twenties, Tecumseh was a leader of the Shawnee. He had fought at the Battle of Fallen Timbers. After the Battle of Fallen Timbers, many Indian leaders signed the Treaty of Greenville. Tecumseh dd not sign the treaty.
Tecumseh believed that the land belonged to all Indians and that signing a treaty with the Americans would mean giving up the Indian way of life. Tecumseh wanted all of the Indians to work together to fight the Americans as one united group instead of fighting in smaller groups. Tecumseh's dreams were for an Indian nation stretching from the Appalachian Mountains to the Gulf of Mexico.
By 1808, Ohio was a state and more and more Americans were moving into Ohio. Tecumseh, and his brother, The Prophet, left Ohio and started a town in Indiana called Prophet Town. Indians from various tribes came to live there. Tecumseh traveled as far away as Iowa and the Gulf of Mexico to gain support of the Indians.
As the Americans watched Prophet Town grow they were concerned that an Indian uprising was being planned. In 1811, while Tecumseh was away on a trip, William Henry Harrison stationed his troops close to the Indians living in Prophet Town. When a battle seemed near, Tecumseh left to gather more men and warned his brother not to attack the white men while he was gone. The Prophet didn't listen. He convinced the Indians that they would not be hurt....the bullets would fall as softly as rain. The Indians were defeated at the Battle of Tippecanoe.
Although the Battle of Tippecanoe was a minor one for the Americans, it was a crushing blow to Tecumseh and his dream. With all of is supplies gone and his brother exposed as a fake, no one was left to follow him.
During the War of 1812, Tecumseh's confederation fought as allies of the British. He hoped if the British won, they would return the Indian's homeland to them. During the Battle of the Thames Tecumseh was killed.