Seven-year war in North America (French and Indian War)

During the colonial era there were not only wars between the European powers, but these conflicts were also conducted among the colonies of the respective mother countries. North America, in particular, was the scene of many conflicts between the French colonies and the English.



The first source of conflict was the area around the Ohio Valley. Until the middle of the 18th century, the area was claimed by France, but was spared by the colonization. It was not until 1745 that English merchants began to trade with Indian tribes living there and to issue settlement patents.
In 1749, the French began to equip an expedition, which was to survey the country on the one hand and on the other to incite the Indian tribes against the English and forbid them to trade with them. So also the economically strongest trading post of the Englishmen in the village Pickawillany was destroyed.


Koloniale Entwicklung Nordamerikas

Colonial development of North America


Despite this, the English Ohio Company continued its efforts and began to build Fort Cumberland as a fortified trading post. Later, another fort followed at the headwaters of the Monongahela River. In 1752, Michel-Ange Duquesne de Menneville arrived as the new governor of New France, having the unmistakable order to expel the English from the Ohio Valley. As a result, 4 French forts were built and another of the Ohio Company.


The second source of conflict was the Canadian province of Acadia, which had to be ceded to England by France after the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. Although the area retained some autonomy, the French secretly began to incite the local population, especially the Indian tribes, against the English and to start a revolt. From 1750 onwards, there were more and more attacks on English settlers, merchants and soldiers, so that in 1754 the British governor of Acadia was forced to classify all rebelling against England as criminals.




The beginning of the war:

The setting up of the French fort in the Ohio Valley did not go unnoticed by Virginia Governor Robert Dinwiddie of Virginia, so he sent a young officer by the name of George Washington (later to become the first President of the United States of America) with a written request to leave the area French people. The French did not comply with this request. On the way back Washington discovered a suitable place for a fort and on whose recommendation a short time later construction started. The French sent a military unit, which forced the construction workers to give up their own fort (Fort Duquesne) in the same place.

Washington later stayed with his soldiers near the French Fort Duquesne when he received word that French troops were camped nearby. Fearing a robbery, he set his soldiers in the march and attacked the French, which went down in history as a Jumonville incident (named after the killed French officer). Immediately, the Fort Duquesne sent its own troops and included the retreating Englishmen in their Fort Necessity. On July 3, 1754, the English soldiers surrendered after securing for safe conduct. The war had begun officially.




The course of the war:

After the defeat of July 3, 1754, Governor Robert Dinwiddie of Virginia in his homeland for military assistance. This was granted to him with 2 regiments under the leadership of Major General Edward Braddock. Along with Washington Braddock marched on July 9, 1755 to the French Fort Duquesne. However, the army was ambushed by the Monongahela River and lost about 500 men alongside Braddock.

More successful were the Englishmen further north in Canada under the leadership of Sir William Johnson, who with his militia forces laid the important Fort Edward and defeated the French on September 8, 1755 in the Battle of Lake George. Also successful in the region of Acadia was the Brigadier General Robert Monckton, who took with his troops on June 16, 1755 the French Fort Beauséjour, thus breaking an important breach in the defensive belt. Thus, the Acadian peninsula was in English hands.

The Acadian population has now been given the ultimatum to ostracize the English crown or to bear the consequences. After the majority of the population refused the oath of allegiance, the English began with the deportation of about 6,000 men, women and children in the English colony of New England from 5 September. Thus, the British finally secured control of the area, even if the French still led an unsuccessful guerrilla war for several years.

On May 17, 1756, England's official declaration of war on France took place, as a parallel war was again emerging in Europe. So it was that the English sent fresh troops into their colonies and blocked the French home ports with their warships and cut off the supplies.

From the summer of 1758, the English supremacy made itself felt. In the summer they launched a major offensive and attacked at the same time Louisbourg, Fort Ticonderoga on Lake Champlain and Fort Frontenac on the eastern end of Lake Ontario.

In July 1759, the French Fort Duquesne also fell after the British made peace with the Indians, allied with France. In the retreat, the French destroyed the fort, but was rebuilt by the English under the name Fort Pitt (now Pittsburgh). Further successes were the English with the capture of Fort Crown Point and the inflicted defeat of the French on July 24 at the Battle of La Belle Famille.

In the north, an English force at the same time besieged Quebec, which capitulated on September 18, after the French were defeated at the Battle of the Abraham Plain on September 13.


Schlacht auf der Abraham-Ebene: Tod von General James Wolfe. Gemälde von Benjamin West, 1770

Battle on the Abraham Plain: Death of General James Wolfe. Painting by Benjamin West, 1770


In 1760, the French tried in vain to defend their territory of today's Canada against the English. After crushing the reinforcements intended for Montréal on 8 July 1760 in the Battle on the Restigouche River, the English were able to conquer the rest of the French territory unhindered.

1762 was the last attempt of the French to conquer their lost territories. For this purpose, a fleet of 750 soldiers broke out of France, broke through the English blockade and deposed the soldiers on 24 June in St. John's on Newfoundland. The weak English defenders surrendered, but were sent by Halifax warships and soldiers against the French. The French fleet withdrew quickly and the remaining soldiers had to surrender to the superior English troops on 18 September.

With the Treaty of Paris of 10 February 1763 France ceded Acadia, Cape Breton, Canada and the islands in St. Lawrence, all territory east of the Mississippi including Mobile, but without New Orleans to England. Spain also had to cede Florida to England. Thus, England dominated almost the entire North American territory.






You can find the right literature here:


Crucible of War: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766

Crucible of War: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766 Paperback – January 23, 2001

In this vivid and compelling narrative, the Seven Years' War–long seen as a mere backdrop to the American Revolution–takes on a whole new significance. Relating the history of the war as it developed, Anderson shows how the complex array of forces brought into conflict helped both to create Britain’s empire and to sow the seeds of its eventual dissolution.

Beginning with a skirmish in the Pennsylvania backcountry involving an inexperienced George Washington, the Iroquois chief Tanaghrisson, and the ill-fated French emissary Jumonville, Anderson reveals a chain of events that would lead to world conflagration. Weaving together the military, economic, and political motives of the participants with unforgettable portraits of Washington, William Pitt, Montcalm, and many others, Anderson brings a fresh perspective to one of America’s most important wars, demonstrating how the forces unleashed there would irrevocably change the politics of empire in North America.

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The Global Seven Years War 1754-1763: Britain and France in a Great Power Contest

The Global Seven Years War 1754-1763: Britain and France in a Great Power Contest (Modern Wars In Perspective) 1st Edition

The Seven Years War was a global contest between the two superpowers of eighteenth century Europe, France and Britain.  Winston Churchill called it “the first World War”.  Neither side could afford to lose advantage in any part of the world, and the decisive battles of the war ranged from Fort Duquesne in what is now Pittsburgh to Minorca in the Mediterranean, from Bengal to Quèbec.  By its end British power in North America and India had been consolidated and the foundations of Empire laid, yet at the time both sides saw it primarily as a struggle for security, power and influence within Europe.

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Armies of the Seven Years War: Commanders, Equipment, Uniforms and Strategies of the 'First World War'

Armies of the Seven Years War: Commanders, Equipment, Uniforms and Strategies of the 'First World War' Paperback – September 1, 2013

Drawn from international sources, many not seen before in English-language publications, this is the definitive reference work for students, readers, and enthusiasts of the Seven Years War period. It details the senior commanders, uniforms, weapons, equipment, artillery, strategy, tactics, and combat involvement (military and naval) of the forces that fought for survival and world supremacy from 1756 to 1763. States covered include Austria, Bavaria, Britain, Brunswick, Denmark, Hanover, Hessen-Darmstadt, Hessen-Kassel, Holland, France, the Palatinate, Portugal, Prussia, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Württemberg, and the minor contingents of the Holy Roman Empire. The colonial struggle in North America is included. Coverage of the intricacies of the uniforms, colors, and standards is in unprecedented depth, many details of which were previously unpublished. The tactics of the "horse and musket" era are examined, as are Frederick the Great's abilities as a war leader who led his armies against the rest of Europe.

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