King George's War
From 1744 until 1748, England and France were engaged in King George's War. This was the North American phase of the larger War of the Austrian Succession from 1740 to 1748. The war was only one in a series of wars that had been fought between England and France since the late 1600s. What made King George's War somewhat different from the earlier conflicts was that it partially occurred in the New World. In the previous wars, no major battles had been fought in the New World. All of these conflicts, including King George's War, began because each side hoped to gain dominance in Europe as well as in various European colonies in Africa, Asia, and the Americas.
During King George's War, England succeeded in capturing Fort Louisbourg, a major French fortress located on Cape Breton Island. The fort guarded the mouth of the St. Lawrence River. Some of France's major outposts in North America, such as Quebec and Montreal, depended on the river to access the Atlantic Ocean. By capturing Fort Louisbourg, the English greatly hampered the fur trade between the French and the Native Americans. Cut off from France, French merchants in North America could not acquire manufactured goods to trade with the Native Americans. England had isolated some of France's colonies in North America. English businessmen quickly stepped in to fill the void, becoming major trading partners with the Native Americans in the Ohio Country. At the war's conclusion, little changed in North America. The English returned Fort Louisbourg to the French, and the respective sides controlled much of the same territory that they had prior to the conflict. They also both claimed ownership of the Ohio Country, but England had a somewhat greater presence in the region due to their enhanced ability to trade with the natives.
With both the French and English claiming the Ohio Country, future conflicts were destined to occur. The French and Indian War (1756-1763) and the resulting peace treaty, the Treaty of Paris (1763), would finally settle the issue. Due to its victory in the French and Indian War, England emerged from the conflict as the European owner of the Ohio Country. Although other European nations recognized England's ownership of the Ohio Country, Native Americans in the region did not. Bloodshed followed as British settlers moved west of the Appalachian Mountains.