There has been contention between Britain and France for thousands of years. During the 1700’s this came to a head as Britain and its’ North American colonies tried to expand in size and trade. This could not be done without intruding on French land. This caused France to take an offensive position alongside their Indian allies against their biggest rival. Britain and its colonies persisted forward resulting in The Seven Years’ War or, as some call it, The French and Indian War. The Seven Years’ War was caused by Britain’s need for expansion and resulted in devastating debt, the humiliation of the French, and soured relations between the British and its colonies ultimately leading to the American Revolution.
Britain and its colonies had been developing for hundreds of years and reached a point where their current boundaries could not contain them. The east seaboard of North America was becoming increasingly prosperous and extremely crowded. Colonists started to look at the land past the Appalachian Mountains known as the Ohio River valley for new settlement opportunities and economic growth. The only problem was that it was controlled by the French and many Indian tribes. While this was not ignored it definitely did not deter England and colonists from advancing anyways.
IN 1747 Virginia and Pennsylvania created the Ohio Land Company. This encouraged British Traders to cross the Appalachian Mountains and establish trading posts. Trading in the Ohio River Valley provided an opportunity for England to gain control of the fur trade. With this the colonies of Virginia and Pennsylvania were drawn closer into contact with Indian villages of the Ohio River Valley which eventually caused dramatic conflict. The French felt that they were encroaching on their territory. In an act of opposition the French began establishing posts along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to contain the British expansion. IN 1753 the French sent 3,000 men into the Ohio River Valley to construct forts and take action against the British if necessary. In response George Washington was sent to forts Presque Isle and Le Boeuf to inform them that they were on Virginia land and had to vacate immediately, the French did not comply. The British took this as a threat and pushed for forts of their own to be built to support trade claims.
In 1754 the Albany Conference was called to meet in Albany, NY by the British Board of Trade. There they discussed how they would approach fighting their common enemy, the French. This sparked a series of small battles, the battle of Fort Duquesne, Lake George, and Fort Niagara just to name a few, which would eventually lead to The Seven Years’ War starting in 1756. This war would last until 1763 and would be one of the bloodiest wars in American history. America and Britain emerged victorious after seven long years of fighting. France reluctantly signed the Treaty of Paris of 1763. This treaty would force the French to give up all land the North American mainland, this was devastating. Indians also had to surrender all land east of the Mississippi. Finally Spain had to cede Florida to Britain. The Treaty of Paris of 1763 secured Britain’s position as the dominant world power. But France was beaten and embarrassed, a shell of its former self.
Indians felt hatred towards the colonies for taking their land. The Ottawa chief Pontiac organized attacks against many western towns. General Amherst decided using biological warfare and sent smallpox infected blankets to the Indians. They succeeded in killing hundreds of Indians but caused the crown to create a royal decree called the Proclamation of 1763.
This proclamation gave all land west of the Appalachian Mts. back to the Indians. No settles were allowed to move out there and any settlers already out there had to move back. This was designed to avoid war that would create further expenses, and to concentrate colonies on the eastern...
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