French and Indian Wars
The French and Indian Wars is a name used in the
United Statesfor a series of conflicts in North Americathat represented the actions there that accompanied the European dynastic wars. In Quebec, the wars are generally referred to as the Intercolonial Wars. While some conflicts involved Spanish and Dutch forces, all pitted Great Britain, its colonies and American Indian allies on one side and France, its colonies and Indian allies on the other. As such, the American conflicts were also part of the persistent Anglo-French Second Hundred Years' War, which was fought intermittently between 1688 and 1815.The expanding French and British colonies were contending for control of the western, or interior, territories. Whenever the European countries went to war, there were actions within and by these colonies although the dates of the conflict did not necessarily exactly coincide with those of the larger conflicts.
The North American wars, and their associated European wars, in sequence, are:
The naming of conflicts after the British monarch of the day is not used by Canadians, who merely employ the name of the larger European conflict (e.g. the "War of the Grand Alliance" rather than "King William's War") or refer to them as the Intercolonial Wars.
As the wars proceeded the military advantage moved inexorably towards the British side. This was largely a reflection of the greater population and productive capacity of the British colonies compared with those of France, combined with the greater ability of the British to resupply their colonies and project military power by sea. The French were able to largely offset this in the first three conflicts by more effective
mobilizationof Native American allies, but were finally overwhelmed in the fourth war.
Ironically, the overwhelming victory of the British played a role in eventual loss of their American colonies. Without the threat of French invasion, the American colonies saw little need for British military protection and resented British limits on the colonization of the new French territories as stated in the
Proclamation of 1763. These pressures contributed to the American Revolutionary War.
The first three of the French and Indian Wars followed the same basic pattern: they all started in Europe and then moved to America. Once the fighting came to America, it was mostly conducted by colonial militias. The final conflict broke this pattern by beginning in North America. Larger numbers of British regular troops were used alongside the militia and almost all French territory seized by the British was not returned. The British victory in the French and Indian Wars reduced France's New World empire to a few West Indian islands,
French Guiana, and St. Pierre and Miquelon, a small island fishing colony off Canada.
British colonization of the Americas
French colonization of the AmericasFurther Reading:
*A Few Acres of Snow: The Saga of the French and Indian Wars by Robert Leckie; Wiley & Son; Hardcover: ISBN 0-471-24690-5; Paperback: ISBN 0-471-39020-8
* [http://www2.marianopolis.edu/quebechistory/encyclopedia/SevenYearsWar-FrenchandIndianWar-TheWaroftheConquest.htm The Quebec History Encyclopedia: "The Seven Years' War in Canada"]
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