THE FRENCH AND INDIAN WAR

The indirect cause of two revolutions

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This is an extract of my article, with small photos. You will find the complete article with full-sized photos in my e-book As American as Apple Pie !

In the travel series View America, this book narrates events and facts that are common to the entire nation.

Man's migration to America, ancient Indian cultures, New France, the French and Indian War, the 13 original Colonies, the Louisiana Purchase, the Civil War, American territorial expansion, the American Flag, American holidays, and the lighter side of... old US Laws!

This e-book is illustrated with more than 70 full-sized photos and maps.

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European colonization of north America

The French and Indian War was actually the last of four wars between the British and the French in North America.

1689 – 1697 : King William's War
1702 – 1713 : Queen Anne's War
1744 – 1748 : King George's War
1754 – 1763 : The French and Indian War

The four wars took place over a period of seventy-four years, and concerned the economic dominance over the New World. They were not fought by regular armies, but by small European task forces and their allies, the colonists and the Indians.

The last of these wars, the French and Indian War (1754-1763) was different from the previous ones in that the British considered it as the decisive war to obtain colonial supremacy and the creation of their American empire. They wanted complete control over North America, the West Indies and India.
The final victory of the British completely stripped the French of their North American dream.

The Fur trade with the Indians

In the new continent, the French lived at peace with the local Indian tribes, and they traded extensively with them. They had virtually no military presence, and they sought no territorial expansion by force. They concluded alliances with the Huron, the Algonquin and the Montagnais, and promised them support against their hereditary enemies, the powerful Iroquois.

The war began after the balancing act between French, British and Indians was broken. The Iroquois Confederacy, who were formidable warriors, managed to pit the French and the British colonies against each other. Thus, the Iroquois were able to keep control over the strategically important Ohio Valley.

New France in 1712

New France in 1750
New France in 1712
New France in 1750

French victories

In 1755, the British General Edward Braddock was sent to America to conquer Fort Duquesne. In July, French and Indian warriors defeated the British soldiers and their colonial troops. The British subsequently achieved a small victory in Nova Scotia, and they withstood an attack by the French in the Battle of Lake George, but those were their last successes until 1758.

Meanwhile, they tried to establish a central military command over the entire American continent, and they also tried to persuade the colonists to pay for the campaigns against Canada. These measures of course only served to alienate them from the colonists.

British victories

French and English territories after 1763

In 1758, Anglo-American forces conquered the Fort of Louisbourg, which was the key to the St. Lawrence River. They destroyed Fort Frontenac on Lake Ontario, which cut off the supply lines to the Ohio forts, and they conquered Fort Duquesne.

An army led by General James Wolfe defeated the French army at Quebec in 1759. General Jeffrey Amherst completed the conquest in 1760, with the surrender of the last Canadian troops in Montreal.

The Treaty of Paris (1763) ended the French control in Canada, that was ceded to Britain.

In addition, France had to cede all its territories east of the Mississippi River to Great Britain. To compensate for the areas west of the Mississippi, which France had ceded to Spain one year earlier by secret treaty, Spain had to cede Florida to Great Britain.

The consequences

However, the indirect consequences of these wars were far more momentous for both antagonists.

For Great Britain: in order to achieve the military victory, the British government had almost doubled the national debt. Moreover, Great Britain suddenly acquired much more territory than it could actually handle. British politicians tried to bend the empire's administration to their will and completely alienated the American colonists with all kinds of new taxes. This laid the groundwork for the American Revolution.

For France: the French royal family avenged its humiliating defeat with a (very expensive...) policy of strong support for the American rebels. But this relentless policy led them straight into a financial crisis, which in 1789 culminated in the French Revolution!

Video : the French and Indian War

 

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