Warrior. Orator. Statesman. Tecumseh, a Shawnee bent on resistance to white incursion on Native land, was all three—and during his brief life, he turned that resistance into the stuff of history, rumor, and legend.
Believed to have been born in what is now Ohio during a 1768 meteor shower, he was named “The Shooting Star” or “The Panther Passing Across.” The name foreshadowed a life and influence that would crisscross the early American frontier, pull him into the War of 1812, and set up a still contested legacy of both heroism and defiance. (These 5 leaders' achievements were legendary. But did they even happen?)
From the start, Tecumseh’s life was wrapped up in the conflict between Indigenous