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Jeffrey Amherst, 1st Baron Amherst of Montreal

Jeffrey Amherst by Joshua Reynolds

Jeffrey Amherst, 1st Baron Amherst of Holmesdale and Montreal (sometimes spelled Geoffrey) (January 29, 1717 - August 3, 1797) served as an army officer in the British military.

Born in Sevenoaks, England he became a soldier aged about 14. He saw fame during the Seven Years' War, particularly in the North American campaign known in the United States as the French and Indian War.

Amherst led the British attack in 1758 on Louisbourg (the Siege of Louisbourg) and as leader of the British army in North America, helped the British seize most French territory, principally capturing Montreal, Quebec.

The hostility between the English and Native Americans during the Pontiac Uprising of 1763 led to the first documented use of biological warfare in American history. In response to the Indian uprising led by the Ottawa Chief Pontiac, Jeffrey Amherst attempted to spread smallpox among the Native Americans.

In 1763, Amherst was appointed Governor of Virginia, and in 1778 was made commander-in-chief of the army. In 1776, he was made Baron Amherst of Holmesdale, but the title became extinct when he died because he had no descendants. In 1788, the title Baron Amherst of Montreal was conferred with a special remainder allowing the title to pass to his nephew instead of to his descendants (of which he had none).

The town of Amherst, Massachusetts, location of Amherst College, was named for him.

Preceded by:
New Creation
Baron Amherst of Holmesdale Followed by:
Preceded by:
New Creation
Baron Amherst of Montreal Followed by:
William Pitt Amherst

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