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French and Indian War

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The descent of the French on St. John's, Newfoundland, 1762.

The French and Indian War was a part of the Seven Years' War. It took place between 1754 and 1763. The name refers to the part of the Seven Years' War that was fought in what is now the United States and Canada. The war was between the French with Indian allies and the British with British-American and Indian allies. The war is called The Conquest War in Quebec and Ontario, Canada.

Causes of the War

The principal cause was the struggle for control of Prussia. This made the Seven Years War a world war. There were also things to fight about in the colonies:

  • Both the British and the French said they owned the Mississippi country. This land was between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River, from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. Both wanted it for strategic reasons, for the fur trade, and for possible future settlement.
  • Both European countries used Native American claims to the land. The British said it belonged to their Iroquois Indians, and the French said it belonged to their Hurons. Neither side asked what the people of the Ohio Country might want. The land supported the beaver pelt.
  • The British colonists feared the control of a pope in North America. France's land was controlled by the French and the Roman Catholic Church. The Protestant British settlers saw this as a threat to their religious freedoms that they had under English law.
  • The British also were scared that the French were going to attack them as they were sleeping, because they had done it before and killed their families.


Fighting began with the Battle of Monongahela in 1755. General Edward Braddock, the commander, died with many of his men in a failed attack against the French in what later became Pittsburgh. George Washington led the defeated survivors home.[1]

In the Battle of the Plains of Abraham Canada was conquered.


The fighting in North America stopped on Sept. 8, 1763 with the surrender of Montreal and all of Canada to Britain. The war ended with the signing of the Treaty of Paris on February 10, 1763. France lost all of its North American lands east of the Mississippi River. All of Canada was given to Britain except for two small islands near Newfoundland. Britain offered France the choice to give up either its Canadian land or the Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique, which British troops had taken during the war. France chose to keep the islands, which were valuable for their sugar plantations.

British North American colonists became unhappy over their share of the winnings, eventually leading to the American Revolution.


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