Difference between revisions of "French and Indian War"

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The '''French and Indian War''' (1754 -1763) was one in a series of wars fought between England and France beginning in the late 1600s. What made the French and Indian War different from the earlier conflicts was that it began in the New World. All previous wars had begun in Europe, and with the exception of King George's War (1744 ' 1748), no battles had been fought in the New World. Most of these conflicts began because each side hoped to gain trade or military advantages in Europe as well as in various European colonies in Africa, Asia, and the Americas.
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Leading European powers during the mid- 18th century were conflicting against one another for control of land and dominance.  These tensions developed into multi-country confrontation known as The Seven Years War that pitted France, Austria, Sweden, Russia, and Saxony against Prussia, Hanover, and Great Britain. Conflicts were not just isolated to European boundaries but were on a global scale with hostilities expanding into territories surrounding India and North America.  The struggle occurring within the colonies centered Great Britain against France known as the French and Indian War.  North American territory was dominated by the British on the eastern coast, the French down in Louisiana up through Canada following the Mississippi Valley, and the Spanish in Florida.  Each European power was vying for dominance within North America and all were aiming to claim the most land possible.  Due to Spain’s miniscule settlement the main aim for supremacy came between Great Britain and France.  There were no clear dividing lines that separated New France from the British colonies so constant disagreements arose about who could claim what land. Specifically, regions around the Ohio Valley into the Ohio River and up near the Great Lakes produced the largest controversy.  France, who first discovered the Ohio territory claimed control because they had not only settled into that area first but also established trading centers to ensure a lasting hold on the region. In contradiction, Great Britain demanded ownership because the land grants issued by the monarchy allotted the colonies with claim to all areas expanding from the east coast to the not yet settled west coast.  Since there was no specific divider as well as an undetermined ownership of bordering territories British colonists, unhappy with the overcrowding occurring on the East coast, expanded their settlements into ‘French’ lands, taking over already established areas for their own specific use.  The French and many Native American tribes were frustrated with these imperialistic actions of the British.  
  
The reason why the French and Indian War began in the New World involved the Ohio Country. Both the English and the French claimed the land west of the Appalachian Mountains. Beginning in the 1740s both countries had merchants engaged in the fur trade with the Native Americans in Ohio. By the 1750s, English colonists, especially the investors in a venture called The Ohio Company, also hoped to convert the wilderness into viable farms.
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Tensions escalated when the French built a trading fort, known as Fort Duquesne, in what would be Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Great Britain felt that this was strictly within their colonial territory.  The British government sent over a representative, 21 year old George Washington, to demand that the French relinquish their fort and return back to their own settlements.  New France refused to accommodate the terms which invoked Washington and the small number of soldiers accompanying him to attack thus stimulating the French and Indian War in the year of 1756. The first physical conflictions between the two countries occurred at Fort Duquesne where the French were pitted against Washington and the newly arrived General Edward Braddock. The British outnumbered the French however they were attempting to fight like the typical European style of open battlefield, marching towards enemy, and shooting at the opponent whereas the French opted for a more guerilla warfare style of concealing themselves from the British while surprise attacking them.  Many Native American tribes who were burned by the expansion of British colonies into their homelands aligned with the French during the war although some such as the Iroquois affiliated with the British due to their frustration at France’s original colonialism.  
  
In the 1750s, the French and the English each moved to deny the other access to the Ohio Country. In the early 1750s, French soldiers captured several English trading posts. They also built Fort Duquesne (modern-day Pittsburgh) so that they could defend their territory from English threats. A Miami village called Pickawillany in what is now western Ohio hosted English traders. The French and their Indian allies destroyed it in 1752.
 
  
In 1754, George Washington and a small force of Virginia militiamen marched to the Ohio Country to drive the French from the region. Hoping to capture Fort Duquesne, Washington quickly realized that the fort was too strong. Washington retreated a few miles from the fort and constructed Fort Necessity. If he could not drive the French from the area, he would at least contest their presence with his own stockade. A combined force of French soldiers and their native allies overwhelmed Fort Necessity on July 3, 1754, marking the start of the French and Indian War in the New World. England did not officially declare war until 1756, although the conflict had actually begun two years earlier.
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The bulk of the fighting occurred along the lakes of Champlain and George in order for both sides to move supplies and troops more efficiently.  Great Britain began the war off with a tract of unsuccessful attempts to overtake French forts as they adjusted to the new style of military strategy that France was utilizing. However, momentum shifted in favor of Great Britain when the British military was able to claim Fort Carillon, later named Fort Ticonderoga, and overtake Quebec.  With the main hold of Canada seized, a lost position in India, and a weak showing in Europe France realized that victory over Britain was nearly unattainable. In response, France attempted to organize a peace agreement with Great Britain but the demands of the British were too great to accept.  Instead, King Charles III of Spain offered his services to aid his cousin, King Louis XV of France, in case the British did not agree to a peace terms by May 1, 1762, this was known as the Family Compact.  This alliance was meant to be an initiative for the British to end the war however France saw this alignment as an option for victory. Overall, this was not a strategic benefit as the British Navy was completely overpowering to the Spanish Armada and was able to gain the French Caribbean Islands, the Philippines, and Spanish Cuba.  With a loss of territory and failed invasions of England occurring simultaneously in Europe the French diplomats sought peace.  
  
The next few years witnessed French successes on the battlefield against the English, including General Edward Braddock's defeat in 1755. The major reason for the French victories was their Native American allies. Ohio Country natives enjoyed trading with both the English and the French. However, most tribes feared the large number of British colonists in North America. Natives west of the Appalachian Mountains feared that the number of English colonists would continue to grow. As the English population increased, the Indians believed that white settlers would seek their fortunes in the west, driving the natives from their land.
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In 1763 the European powers of Great Britain, France, and Spain as well as Portugal collectively signed the Treaty of Paris thus ending the Seven Years War and more specifically the French and Indian War. Great Britain received the main rewards from the agreement as France and Spain both gave up the territories they held within North America. However, Great Britain paid a heavy price to execute the expensive multi-war front therefore they were left with heavy debts.  In order to equalize their balance the British government began to issue high taxes upon the citizens and the products they bought. Also, in order to keep compatible relations with the Native Americans the monarchy issued the Proclamation of 1763 to reduce the amount of westward expansion into the freshly obtained territory that was once New France.  With higher living expenses and reduced abilities to expand settlements colonists became disheartened with the British government which would eventually develop into the American Revolution.
  
In 1757 the tide turned in favor of the English. William Pitt, the English Prime Minister, determined that the best way that England could defeat the French in Europe was first to conquer the French in the New World. In 1758, sizable numbers of British soldiers arrived to carry out Pitt's plan. With colonial assistance, British soldiers captured Fort Duquesne that year. In 1759, the English captured both Fort Niagara and Quebec, France's major city in the New World. Montreal fell the following year, leaving England in control of France's possessions in North America.
 
  
The French and Indian War continued in Europe, Africa, and Asia for three more years. In 1763, both sides signed the Treaty of Paris (1763), which formally concluded the war. The end result in the New World was France's loss of practically all of its colonies in North America to the English. England now owned most of modern-day Canada and most of the land between the Atlantic seaboard and the Mississippi River. Although French territory now belonged to England, the British did not have firm control over most of it. Native Americans, including those in the Ohio Country, stood ready to defend their territory from the colonists' westward expansion. Most tribes hoped that friendly trading arrangements could be made, but they also feared the large number of English colonists in the New World.
 
 
[[Category:History Events]]   
 
[[Category:History Events]]   
 
[[Category:Exploration To Statehood]][[Category:Military]]
 
[[Category:Exploration To Statehood]][[Category:Military]]

Revision as of 13:11, 29 April 2013

File:French and Indian War.jpg

Leading European powers during the mid- 18th century were conflicting against one another for control of land and dominance. These tensions developed into multi-country confrontation known as The Seven Years War that pitted France, Austria, Sweden, Russia, and Saxony against Prussia, Hanover, and Great Britain. Conflicts were not just isolated to European boundaries but were on a global scale with hostilities expanding into territories surrounding India and North America. The struggle occurring within the colonies centered Great Britain against France known as the French and Indian War. North American territory was dominated by the British on the eastern coast, the French down in Louisiana up through Canada following the Mississippi Valley, and the Spanish in Florida. Each European power was vying for dominance within North America and all were aiming to claim the most land possible. Due to Spain’s miniscule settlement the main aim for supremacy came between Great Britain and France. There were no clear dividing lines that separated New France from the British colonies so constant disagreements arose about who could claim what land. Specifically, regions around the Ohio Valley into the Ohio River and up near the Great Lakes produced the largest controversy. France, who first discovered the Ohio territory claimed control because they had not only settled into that area first but also established trading centers to ensure a lasting hold on the region. In contradiction, Great Britain demanded ownership because the land grants issued by the monarchy allotted the colonies with claim to all areas expanding from the east coast to the not yet settled west coast. Since there was no specific divider as well as an undetermined ownership of bordering territories British colonists, unhappy with the overcrowding occurring on the East coast, expanded their settlements into ‘French’ lands, taking over already established areas for their own specific use. The French and many Native American tribes were frustrated with these imperialistic actions of the British.

Tensions escalated when the French built a trading fort, known as Fort Duquesne, in what would be Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Great Britain felt that this was strictly within their colonial territory. The British government sent over a representative, 21 year old George Washington, to demand that the French relinquish their fort and return back to their own settlements. New France refused to accommodate the terms which invoked Washington and the small number of soldiers accompanying him to attack thus stimulating the French and Indian War in the year of 1756. The first physical conflictions between the two countries occurred at Fort Duquesne where the French were pitted against Washington and the newly arrived General Edward Braddock. The British outnumbered the French however they were attempting to fight like the typical European style of open battlefield, marching towards enemy, and shooting at the opponent whereas the French opted for a more guerilla warfare style of concealing themselves from the British while surprise attacking them. Many Native American tribes who were burned by the expansion of British colonies into their homelands aligned with the French during the war although some such as the Iroquois affiliated with the British due to their frustration at France’s original colonialism.


The bulk of the fighting occurred along the lakes of Champlain and George in order for both sides to move supplies and troops more efficiently. Great Britain began the war off with a tract of unsuccessful attempts to overtake French forts as they adjusted to the new style of military strategy that France was utilizing. However, momentum shifted in favor of Great Britain when the British military was able to claim Fort Carillon, later named Fort Ticonderoga, and overtake Quebec. With the main hold of Canada seized, a lost position in India, and a weak showing in Europe France realized that victory over Britain was nearly unattainable. In response, France attempted to organize a peace agreement with Great Britain but the demands of the British were too great to accept. Instead, King Charles III of Spain offered his services to aid his cousin, King Louis XV of France, in case the British did not agree to a peace terms by May 1, 1762, this was known as the Family Compact. This alliance was meant to be an initiative for the British to end the war however France saw this alignment as an option for victory. Overall, this was not a strategic benefit as the British Navy was completely overpowering to the Spanish Armada and was able to gain the French Caribbean Islands, the Philippines, and Spanish Cuba. With a loss of territory and failed invasions of England occurring simultaneously in Europe the French diplomats sought peace.

In 1763 the European powers of Great Britain, France, and Spain as well as Portugal collectively signed the Treaty of Paris thus ending the Seven Years War and more specifically the French and Indian War. Great Britain received the main rewards from the agreement as France and Spain both gave up the territories they held within North America. However, Great Britain paid a heavy price to execute the expensive multi-war front therefore they were left with heavy debts. In order to equalize their balance the British government began to issue high taxes upon the citizens and the products they bought. Also, in order to keep compatible relations with the Native Americans the monarchy issued the Proclamation of 1763 to reduce the amount of westward expansion into the freshly obtained territory that was once New France. With higher living expenses and reduced abilities to expand settlements colonists became disheartened with the British government which would eventually develop into the American Revolution.