The History Book Club - NATIVE AMERICANS: FRENCH AND INDIAN WAR Showing 1-37 of 37
PBS The War That Made American Part 1
Who Fought in the French and Indian War?
At the peace conference, the British received the territories of Canada from France and Florida from Spain, opening the Mississippi Valley to westward expansion. During and , the French won a string of victories, defeating in quick succession the young George Washington , Gen. In , Governor Shirley, fearing that the French settlers in Nova Scotia Acadia would side with France in any military confrontation, expelled hundreds of them to other British colonies; many of the exiles suffered cruelly. The tide turned in because William Pitt, the new British leader, saw the colonial conflicts as the key to building a vast British empire. Borrowing heavily to finance the war, he paid Prussia to fight in Europe and reimbursed the colonies for raising troops in North America. In July , the British won their first great victory at Louisbourg, near the mouth of the St. Lawrence River.
Details The rich lands which lay between and to the west of the French settlements of Canada and the British colonies along the East Coast of North America were inevitably destined to become a battleground between the forces of these two European rivals. France and its colonists and Indian allies fought against Britain, its colonists and Indian allies. The war began with conflicts about land. French explorers had been the first Europeans in the areas around the Great Lakes and the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. France had sent traders and trappers to these territories and had established trading centers there. Britain claimed the same land. When the king gave land in North America to someone, the land was considered to extend from the East Coast to the West Coast, even though no one knew where the west coast was.
It determined control of the vast colonial territory of North America. The French and Indian War began over the specific issue of whether the upper Ohio River valley was a part of the British Empire , and therefore open for trade and settlement by Virginians and Pennsylvanians, or part of the French Empire. Behind this issue loomed an infinitely larger one, however: which national culture was to dominate the heart of North America. Settlers of English extraction were in a preponderance in the coveted area, but French exploration, trade, and alliances with Native Americans predominated. British territorial claims rested upon explorations of the North American continent by John Cabot in the latter part of the 15th century.
Washington came away from his early ventures in the West with a conviction that the destiny of Virginia, and later of the United States itself, would be one of expansion. Washington had limited experience with Native American allies during the French and Indian War, but during his presidency declared that Native American policy was one of his top priorities. Learn more about George Washington's early military experience in this article from Mount Vernon.
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In , prior to the outbreak of hostilities, Great Britain controlled the 13 colonies up to the Appalachian Mountains, but beyond lay New France, a very large, sparsely settled colony that stretched from Louisiana through the Mississippi Valley and Great Lakes to Canada. The border between French and British possessions was not well defined, and one disputed territory was the upper Ohio River valley. The French had constructed a number of forts in this region in an attempt to strengthen their claim on the territory. British colonial forces, led by Lieutenant Colonel George Washington, attempted to expel the French in , but were outnumbered and defeated by the French. However, his adversaries in the Cabinet outmaneuvered him by making the plans public, thus alerting the French Government and escalating a distant frontier skirmish into a full-scale war. The war did not begin well for the British.
Many American Indians also fought in the war because their tribes either lived in the disputed areas, were allied with the tribes who lived there or were allied with either the French or the English. The French had far more American Indian allies than the English because they were more successful at converting the various tribes to Christianity and they focused more on trading than on settling North America, so the American Indians saw them as less of a threat to their land and resources. England established many colonies along the east coast of North America during the 17th and 18th century. In the midth century, Great Britain wanted to expand its colonies westward into the interior regions of the continent, particularly the Ohio River Valley where there was a lucrative fur trading industry, but was challenged by the French who occupied much of the land in the interior regions and were also looking to expand into the Ohio River Valley. Flag of Great Britain, also known as the Union Jack, was first adopted in In , fighting broke out between the British and the French in the Ohio country when British troops attempted to expel the French from the area.