The French and Indian War is considered to be part of Seven Years War that took place from 1756 till 1763. It is one of the most fierce and bloodiest battles that ever took place and in which thousands of people were killed. Participants of the war included French, Indians and British. It is believed that the war was fought in order to gain control over North America and clash over colonies between France and England over power and wealth.
The French and Indian War
The French and Indian War is considered to be part of Seven Years War that took place from 1756 till 1763. It is one of the most fierce and bloodiest battles that ever took place and in which thousands of people were killed. Participants of the war included French, Indians and British. It is believed that the war was fought in order to gain control over North America and clash over colonies between France and England over power and wealth. The global war was seen as a product of rivalry that was found between French and British colonists living in the North American territories. The goal of this paper is to analyze the French and Indian War in historical and cultural context in the lights of broad and diverse academic resources.
Before the war had been started, tension prevailed between Britain and France over American territories as each of them aimed at increasing their presence there. The war was undeclared and in history, it is now known as the French and Indian War, started in November, in the year 1753. George Washington from Virginia along with some other men was on their way to Ohio. They had been sent to give a message to the French troops, who had occupied the region[footnoteRef:2]. The demand from the British side was to remove French troops from that area. However, French side did not accept this message and did not withdraw its forces. A year later, orders were given by British officials to George Washington, which instructed him to build a fort near Pittsburgh. However, he had failed to so as the French power was strong in that area. In the same year, Washington and his troops came into clash with the French troops and thus, Washington had experienced a loss and had to retreat the fort that he had built in a month. This incident resulted in small clashes between the two sides[footnoteRef:3]. In the year 1755, General Edward Braddock was sent to look after the British Colonial forces. However, during his journey, he was attacked by French and in the process lost his life. [2: Anderson, Fred (2000). Crucible of War: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766. New York: Knopf] [3: Brumwell, Stephen (2006). Redcoats: The British Soldier and War in the Americas, 1755-1763. Cambridge University Press. ]
The formal declaration of the war took place in May, in the year 1756. During the early three years, the French had been successful in defeating the English at Fort Ticonderoga and Oswego. The most dangerous battle and casualty took place at Fort William, where British troops were massacred by the French and its Indian allies[footnoteRef:4]. [4: Brumwell, Stephen (2006). Redcoats: The British Soldier and War in the Americas, 1755-1763. Cambridge University Press. ]
However, to deal with these issues, the British concentrated on making peace with Indian tribes over there, under the leadership of Lord William Pitt. He concentrated on using their war strategies in order to wage war against the French and to gain advantage over them. Many of the alliances between the French and Indian were broken and hence, British side took keen interest in making alliances with these tribes. This proved to be beneficial for the British side. After years of battled, the French finally were defeated in September, in the year 1759 in Quebec. In the year 1760, Britain had been successful in controlling the entire North American region and the war between Britain and France was over as Britain emerged as the winner. In the year 1763, Treaty of Paris was signed between the two sides, which also ended the European Seven Years Wars[footnoteRef:5]. According to this treaty, France had to give out all of it territories in North America to Britain and Spain. [5: Anderson, Fred (2000). Crucible of War: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766. New York: Knopf]
The French presence ended in North America but Britain had conflicts with the Indians as the lands belonged to the latter. The tension between the Native Americans and British continues for several years[footnoteRef:6]. The outcomes of the war was that the French power ended in North America and Britain had been successful in gaining power but it experienced conflicts with the Native Indians and later, with the colonists that led to the American Revolution. [6: Timothy J. Todish and Todd E. Harburn. A "Most Troublesome Situation": The British Military and the Pontiac Indian Uprising of 1763-1764.(Book review) (Michigan Historical Review)]
North American during the Eighteenth Century
In North America, estimated population of French was 75000. Majority of them lived near St. Lawrence Valley and minority living in Acadia and New Orleans. Few of them were settled near Mississippi River, on its eastern side. Business and trade existed between the French and local tribes and several of the French had married Indian women[footnoteRef:7]. The population of British was estimated to be 1.5 million and most of them were settled in Nova Scotia, Georgia and Newfoundland. British were settled near the coast but still they concentrated on expanding their presence in North America. They had captured Nova Scotia in 1713 from France. Claims were also made by Britain over Rupert's Land. [7: Calloway, Colin G (2006). The Scratch of a Pen: 1763 and the Transformation of North America. Oxford University Press]
Between the French and British, majority of the areas belonged to Native Indian tribes. In north, Abenaki and Mikmag tribes were settled in Nova Scotia, Acadia and some eastern parts of Canada. Native Americans were also present in Ohio Country and Upstate New York, where Shawnee and Mingo tribes were found[footnoteRef:8]. Towards the south, tribes that were not in conflict with French or British included Ojibwa, Winnebago and Potawatomi. During the war, British were actively supported by Iroquois and Cherokee. Majority of the northern tribes supported French as they were their business partners as well supplied them with arms and weapons. Creek and Cherokee were targeted by both French and British in order to gain their support or neutrality. Spain also had presence in North America. However, Florida was the only province it controlled. Furthermore, it had gained power and control in Cuba and West Indies[footnoteRef:9]. [8: Calloway, Colin G (2006). The Scratch of a Pen: 1763 and the Transformation of North America. Oxford University Press] [9: Anderson, Fred (2000). Crucible of War: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766. New York: Knopf]
Context of the War
The French and Indian War is considered to be the gain of colonial power and presence in North America and was driven by the same forces and conflicts that had led to the European Seven Years Wars. The war was on imperialism. Britain and France were in constant competition to gain power and control over colonies, land and business in North America. These conflicts led to the war and disputes over land[footnoteRef:10]. The most obvious dispute was over Ohio Valley. Both sides knew that this region was important as it would assist them to increase their power and control and benefit from these riches and thus, eliminating rivalry as one of the two would be dominant. Although the British side had been successful in winning the war, tensions between the Indians and the British colonists and Revolutionary War. After the end of the war, Britain had started to raise taxes in American colonies in order to generate revenues as its treasury was on the verge of bankruptcy because of constant wars. Furthermore, it also violated the policies it made with Indians and therefore, conflicts between British and Native Americans continued for several years. [10: Axtell, James. The Invasion Within. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005]
The French and Indian War also had detrimental impact on Native Americans of North America. Firstly, the tribes who sided with the French had to face the atrocities of British. Their supplies had been cut off and furthermore, they had to abide by the British rules and regulations. On the other hand, Native tribes who had sided with the British believed that they would get their lands back and hence, the European invasion would end. However, as soon as the French were gone, Britain concentrated on settling on the lands that belonged to these tribes. This led to the Pontiacs War, after the end of…