The Shawnee are an Indigenous people of the Northeastern Woodlands. Their language, Shawnee, is an Algonquian language.

Their precontact homeland was likely centred in southern Ohio. In the 17th century, they dispersed through Ohio, Illinois, Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. In the early 18th century, they mainly concentrated in eastern Pennsylvania. Still, they dispersed again later that century across Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, with a small group joining Muscogee people in Alabama. By the 19th century, the U.S. federal government forcibly removed them under the 1830 Indian Removal Act to areas west of the Mississippi River, which became the states of Missouri, Kansas, and Texas. Finally, they were removed to Indian Territory, which became the state of Oklahoma in the early 20th century.

Today, Shawnee people are enrolled in three federally recognized tribes, all headquartered in Oklahoma:

Shawnee has also been written as Shaawana. Individuals and singular Shawnee tribes may be referred to as šaawanwa, and the collective Shawnee people as šaawanwaki or šaawanooki.

Algonquian languages have words similar to the archaic shawano (now: shaawanwa), meaning "south." However, the stem šawa- does not mean "south" in Shawnee, but "moderate, warm (of weather)": See Charles F. Voegelin, "šawa (plus -ni, -te) Moderate, Warm. Cp. šawani 'it is moderating...". In one Shawnee tale, "Sawage" (šaawaki) is the deity of the south wind. Jeremiah Curtin translates Sawage as 'it thaws,' referring to the warm weather of the south. In an account and a song collected by C. F. Voegelin, šaawaki is attested as the spirit of the South or the South Win

In March, the Great Comet of 1811 appeared. The following year, tensions between American colonists and Native Americans rose quickly. Four settlers were murdered along the Missouri River, and in another incident, natives seized a boatload of supplies from a group of traders. Harrison summoned Tecumseh to Vincennes to explain the actions of his allies. In August 1811, the two leaders met, with Tecumseh assuring Harrison that the Shawnee intended to remain at peace with the United States.

Afterward, Tecumseh travelled to the Southeast to recruit allies against the United States from among the "Five Civilized Tribes." His name Tekoomsē meant "Shooting Star" or "Panther Across The Sky."

Tecumseh told the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Muscogee, and many others that the comet of March 1811 had signalled his coming. He also said the people would see a sign proving that the Great Spirit had sent him.

While Tecumseh was travelling, both sides readied for the Battle of Tippecanoe. Harrison assembled a small army of regulars and militia to combat the Native forces. On November 6, 1811, Harrison led an army of about 1,000 men to Prophetstown, Indiana, hoping to disperse Tecumseh's confederacy. Early the following day, forces under The Prophet prematurely attacked Harrison's army at the Tippecanoe River near the Wabash. Though outnumbered, Harrison repulsed the attack, forcing the Natives to retreat and abandon Prophetstown. Harrison's men burned the village and returned home.

The Muscogee who joined Tecumseh's confederation were known as the Red Sticks. They were the more conservative and traditional part of the people, as their communities in the Upper Towns were more isolated from European-American settlements. They wanted to avoid assimilating. The Red Sticks rose in resisting the Lower Creek, and the bands became involved in a civil war known as the Creek War. This became part of the War of 1812 when open conflict broke out between American soldiers and the Red Sticks of the Creek. 

After William Hull's surrender of Detroit to the British during the War of 1812, General William Henry Harrison was given command of the U.S. Army of the Northwest. He set out to retake the city, which British Colonel Henry Procter defended with Tecumseh and his forces. A detachment of Harrison's army was defeated at Frenchtown along the River Raisin on January 22, 1813. Some prisoners were taken to Detroit, but Procter left those too injured to travel with an inadequate guard. His Native American allies attacked and killed perhaps as many as 60 wounded Americans, many Kentucky militiamen. The Americans called the incident the "River Raisin Massacre." The defeat ended Harrison's campaign against Detroit, and the phrase "Remember the River Raisin!" became a rallying cry for the Americans. 

The Battle of the Thames, or Moraviantown, was an American victory in the War of 1812 against Tecumseh's Confederacy and their British allies. It occurred on October 5, 1813, in Upper Canada, near Chatham. The British lost control of Southwestern Ontario due to the battle; Tecumseh was killed, and his confederacy largely fell apart.

British troops under Major General Henry Procter had occupied Detroit until the United States Navy gained control of Lake Erie, cutting them off from their supplies. Procter was forced to retreat north up the Thames River to Moraviantown, followed by the tribal confederacy under Shawnee leader Tecumseh and his allies.

American infantry and cavalry under Major General William Henry Harrison drove off the British and then defeated the Indians, who were demoralized by the death of Tecumseh in action. American control was re-established in the Detroit area, the tribal confederacy collapsed, and Procter was court-martialed for his poor leadership.

The enlistments were about to expire for the militia component of Harrison's army, so the Americans retired to Detroit.

The American victory led to re-established American control over the Northwest frontier, and the Detroit area remained comparatively quiet for the rest of the war, apart from skirmishes such as the Battle of Longwoods and an American mounted raid near the end of 1814, which resulted in the Battle of Malcolm's Mills. The American victory at the Thames failed to translate into the recapture of Illinois, Wisconsin, and other Midwestern territories, which the British and Indians held until the war's end; efforts also failed to regain control of the Old Northwest and of fur trade routes after the British victory at the subsequent Engagements on Lake Huron.

The death of Tecumseh was a crushing blow to the Indian alliance which he created, and it dissolved following the battle. Harrison signed an armistice at Detroit with the chiefs or representatives of several tribes, although others fought on until the end of the war and beyond. He then transferred most of his regulars east to the Niagara River and went to Washington, where he was acclaimed as a hero. However, a comparatively petty dispute between President James Madison and John Armstrong resulted in him resigning his commission as a major general. Harrison's popularity grew, and he was eventually elected president. Richard Mentor Johnson eventually became vice president to President Martin Van Buren, based partly on the belief that he had personally killed Tecumseh.

A few days after the battle, Procter rallied 246 men of the 41st Regiment at the Grand River, reinforced by some young soldiers of the 2nd battalion who had yet to be present. The two battalions were reorganized and merged, as the regiment was severely understrength at this point, and the survivors of the 1st Battalion were placed in the grenadier and light infantry companies. The soldiers of the 41st who were taken prisoner at Moraviantown and the Battle of Lake Erie were exchanged or released towards the end of 1814. They had been held in encampments near Sandusky, Ohio, and had suffered severely from sickness during their captivity.

In May 1814, Procter was charged with negligence and improper conduct, though a court martial could only be held in December when campaigning had ceased for the winter and a senior board of officers could be assembled. They judged that Procter had managed the retreat poorly, failed to secure his stores, and disposed of the troops ineffectively at Moraviantown. He was sentenced to be suspended from rank and pay for six months.