French & Indian War

A View of the Taking of Quebec
September 13th, 1759
Courtesy of Library and Archives Canada, C-139911

Overview of the French and Indian War

By the early 1700’s, England and France were continual rivals. Their cultural conflicts included different religions and opposing ways of life. English goals in New England were to farm and raise families; create an ideal Protestant society and profit off the natural resources.

Many of the immigrants to New France were single men, rather than family groups. French goals were to maintain friendly trade relations with Native people, converting them to Catholicism and restraining the spread of English imperialism. French fur trade was a way of forming military alliances and making religious converts. Intermarriage was encouraged. The French had dominated the fur trade but it was compromised by English traders in alliance with the Iroquois.

A long-running rivalry between the Algonquians, who the Sokoki allied with, and Iroquois made their alliances with the English and French a likely outcome.

Eight wars were fought on two continents to tip the balance of power.

In Europe:                                                                                   In the Americas:
King William’s War 1688—1697                                                  War of the Grand Alliance 1689-1697
Queen Anne’s War 1702-1713                                                       War of the Spanish Succession 1701-1714
King George’s War 1744 –1748                                                    War of the Austrian Succession 1740 – 1748
French & Indian War 1754—1763                                                War of the Great Empire 1754—1763

The European wars were fought as gentlemen’s wars, governed by archaic rules such as fighting in open fields; firing and reloading as each side marched towards each other; wearing brightly colored uniforms.

The guerilla warfare tactics of the Native warriors and colonial militia proved to be a difficult obstacle.

Major Events of the French & Indian War

1755 British defeated at Fort Duquesne

1756 French take Fort Oswego

1757 American colonists refuse to serve under British commander

1757 Massacre at Fort William Henry

1757-1761 William Pitt guides British war effort

1758 Louisburg and Fort Duquesne captured by British

1759 Battle of Quebec

1759 Battle of Quiberon Bay

1760 Iroquois join British-American alliance

The French and Indian War ended with the Treaty of Paris in 1763. The war provided England enormous territorial gains in North America as the French gave up its Canadian possessions and that retreat left the Abenaki at the mercy of their enemies. However, disputes over subsequent frontier policy and paying the war’s expenses led to colonial discontent and ultimately to the American Revolution. 

See Previous: Dummer’s War

Champlain’s own illustration of his encounter with the Iroquois in July 1609. In a battle thought to have taken place somewhere near the Crown Point peninsula, The explorer and his men used their powerful weapons to change the course of a battle between native peoples- long at war.

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