Guest Author - Rebecca Graf
One of the most wide-spread influential colonial wars was the Seven Years War which touched every colony and set the stage for the American Revolution. Known as the French and Indian War in the colonies where it spilled over, it created many of the colonial leaders.
The major players in this war were the British and the French. The other players that got pulled into the war were the colonists who were from all over Europe and the Indians. The Europeans mainly sided with the British as the majority came from England and lived under British rule. The Indians, on the other hand, fought for both sides as their loyalty was fought over by both sides with promises and trinkets.
What was at stake was the land of the Ohio River Valley and the expansion of the English colonies. As the colonies rose in population, they began to spread out into the areas less inhabited. This was causing the English colonies to begin meeting more of the French region. It all came to a head when an expedition led by a young and inexperienced George Washington went out to survey the land and crossed paths and fire with the French. In an effort to remove French presence, Washington and his men lost the fight despite putting up stockades to help support them. After being released by the French, the British began to see how important the American front could be to them.
The main part of the war took place in Europe, but for the French and Indian campaign it was fought all along the edge of the colonies that bordered the French lands. Forts were erected by both sides in an attempt to gain a foothold and a military advantage over the other side. Nova Scotia saw much of the fighting.
Though fighting began in 1754, it escalated to all-out war in 1755 when the British began to pour troops into the colonies to fight. It was not until 1763 with the Treaty of Paris that fighting ceased in Europe and in North America. This was a war for supremacy that France had to give to England in the end.
Beginning with various forts built in the Nova Scotia area by both sides, the English began to conquer the Acadian French. Their harsh treatment of the losers caused the remaining French to fight all the more. The next major event occurred at Fort Duquesne where the French and the Indians used geography to help defeat a much larger and well-trained British army. With General Braddock of the British dying in battle, Washington was brought up to lead the soldiers, opening the door for his command in the American Revolution.
The Indians began to rise up against the British in many of the colonies as they saw how well the Indians had won at Fort Duquesne. It was not until 1758 that the British were able to begin to make advances against the French and Indians. Better military decisions by British leaders along with lack of rations for the French helped the British come out ahead. Bringing in the British fleet around Louisbourg and other coastal regions helped to defeat the French in North America. It was the capture of Quebec in 1759 that turned the tide completely for the British.
The result of the Seven Years War, a.k.a. French and Indian War, was a stronger and more confident England. The English colonies grew in size with the conquered French territories. It also brought the colonies back into the spotlight of the English monarchy and Parliament which began the landslide of acts and taxes that would cause discontent in the colonies. The French and Indian War set the stage for the American Revolution and the defeat of the British who never fully learned from the French and Indian War that war could not be conducted in the colonies the same way it was in Europe. (1)
(1) Alan Taylor, American Colonies: The Settling of North America, (New York: Penguin, 2001), 428-433.