The French and Indian War
Like the Great Awakening, the struggle between England and France for New World empires also helped prepare the colonists for independence. While the English esablished colonies on the Atlantic seaboard, the French built a profitable fur trade with the Indians farther inland. As French colonists moving south from Canada met English colonists moving west of the Appalachians, the two groups lashed in the Ohio Valley. The conflict stemmed from rivalry over territory, fur trade with the Indians, and fishing rights. This rivalry contributed to worldwide conflit between England and France; as a result,the rival nations fought four wars between 1689 and 1763. The first three of these wars King William's War , Queen Anne's war, and King George's war started in Europe and spread to North Amerca. The fourth war, fought between 1754 and 1763, started instead in America and spread to Europe. Because the French and Indians joined forces against the British, this war became known as the French and Indian war. When the French moved far enough south to realize that many English colonists had already settled in the rich Ohio Valley, the French government began building forts to protect its interests there. In response, the British took measure to remove the French troops. In 1753, Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia sent George Washington, a 21 year old surveyor and major in the Virginia militia, with a message warning the French at Fort Le Boeuf that they occupied territory belonging to Virginia and insisting that they vacate the fort at once. when the French refused to leave, Washington took stock of the French armaments and fortifiations and then returned to Governor Dinwiddle, who promoted him to lieutenant colonel. Colonel Washington advised that an English fort be built at the forks of the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers, the most strategic site in the entire upper Ohio River Valley. Before the English could erect the fort, however, the...
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