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George Washington vs. Pittsburgh (and the French)


I am off to Pittsburgh this weekend for a concert by Alia Musica and I thought perhaps a little history might be in order, namely George Washington’s relationship with Pittsburgh. Point State Park has taken on some new significance.

By all means, please read on.

It was the spring of 1754 when a young Colonel named George Washington came to southwestern Pennsylvania looking to oust the French from the rich Ohio valley region, and claim the area for Great Britain. He brought with him a small force of Virginia militiamen with plans to capture Fort Duquesne (the site of present day Point State Park in Pittsburgh) from the French. Quickly realizing that the fort was too strongly defended, however, he retreated about an hour away and constructed his own stockade – Fort Necessity, near present-day Uniontown, PA.

The French had no patience for this cheeky young British Colonel, however, and joined with their native allies to overwhelm Fort Necessity on July 3, 1754, forcing Washington’s troops to surrender. This small skirmish marked the first battle of the French & Indian War in the New World, and the only defeat ever suffered by the 22-year-old George Washington.

George Washington always felt very strongly about this early battle in his career, going so far as to purchase the meadow where the battle was fought in 1771. He owned the land, now part of the Fort Necessity National Battlefield, until his death in 1799.
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About Author

My name is Michael Sean Gallagher. I am a Lecturer in Digital Education at the Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh. I am Co-Founder and Director of Panoply Digital, a consultancy dedicated to ICT and mobile for development (M4D); we have worked with USAID, GSMA, UN Habitat, Cambridge University and more on education and development projects. I was a researcher on the Near Futures Teaching project, a project that explores how teaching at The University of Edinburgh unfold over the coming decades, as technology, social trends, patterns of mobility, new methods and new media continue to shift what it means to be at university. Previously, I was the Research Associate on the NERC, ESRC, and AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund sponsored GCRF Research for Emergency Aftershock Forecasting (REAR) project. I was an Assistant Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (한국외국어대학교) in Seoul, Korea. I have also completed a doctorate at University College London (formerly the independent Institute of Education, University of London) on mobile learning in the humanities in Korea.

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