Seven Years War in North America
In the Seven Years' War in North America ( English French and Indian War ; French Guerre de la Conquête ) fought the colonial powers Britain and France , backed by their respective Indian allies, 1754-1763 for supremacy in North America . The main location was the British east coast colonies and New France around the Saint Lawrence River (roughly today's Québec ). The dispute was a partial conflict of the Seven Years' War , the beginning of which historiography in general only begins with the onset of fighting in Europe and the formal declarations of war by the European powers involved in 1756. The Peace of Paris of 1763 sealed the end of French colonial rule in North America east of the Mississippi. The war was therefore of great importance for the history of Canada but also for the development of the USA .
The British colonists in North America called the French and Indian War , a term that is used in American historiography to this day, while British historiography is more a British-French conflict within the framework of the Seven Years War sees. The same is true of Anglo-Canadian historiography. The name should not be confused with French and Indian War s (plural), which generally means the French and Indian Wars , a consequence of conflicts between the end of the 17th and mid-18th centuries in North America, which also includes the American equivalent of the seven-year-old War heard, be named.
The term Great War for the Empire , coined by the historian Lawrence Henry Gipson , is sometimes used in English-language literature . In Québec and partly also in France, however, the British conquest of the French colonial empire in North America is remembered, so that the war is mostly referred to as Guerre de la Conquête ("War of Conquest") in Canadian French literature . In France, the war is much more pronounced as part of the global war between Britain and France, a view that is also held in Canada.
The Seven Years' War in North America was the fourth in a series of colonial wars that the two great European powers France and England (or Great Britain) fought overseas, and which are summarized as the French and Indian Wars. Each of these wars had its counterpart in European wars: the King William's War (1689–97) was part of the Palatine War of Succession , the Queen Anne's War (1702–1713) that of the Spanish War of Succession and the King George's War (1744–1748) of the Austrian War of Succession . If these previous wars between the colonists of New England and New France were, in a certain sense, proxy wars , triggered by dynastic disputes between the great European powers, at the beginning of the Seven Years War there was a territorial conflict in North America itself.
The conflict over the Ohio Valley
Until the beginning of the 18th century, the area west of the Appalachian Mountains had remained largely untouched by European settlers. This changed around 1750 when more and more adventurers from the British colonies of Pennsylvania and Virginia ventured into the Ohio area to trade with the local Indians. The fertile areas beyond the Appalachians also aroused the desires of land speculators. As early as 1745, the House of Burgesses , the lower house of Virginia, granted settlement patents over extensive lands in the Ohio Valley to the Ohio Company , a corporation of land speculators. Even Robert Dinwiddie , from 1751 deputy governor of Virginia, held shares in this company, what his efforts also can appear selfish to English rule in the Ohio Country perfectly.
The sovereignty of the British colonies clashed with those of France, which claimed all of North America across the Appalachian watershed as part of New France . France attached particular strategic importance to the Ohio Valley, as it represented an almost continuously navigable connection between the French settlements on the Saint Lawrence River and the Great Lakes and those on the middle and lower reaches of the Mississippi .
To reinforce their claims, the French equipped an expedition led by Pierre Joseph Céloron de Blainville (1693-1759) in 1749 , which carried out surveys and warned the Indian tribes of the area to expel any British traders from the Ohio Valley. To emphasize this demand, a troop of Chippewa and Ottawa Indians, traditional allies of the French, destroyed the village of Pickawillany, the most profitable English trading post in the region.
The Ohio Company, however, continued its efforts undeterred and in 1749 built Fort Cumberland , just a few miles east of the ridge, as a fortified warehouse and starting point for western trade, then another fort on the upper reaches of the Monongahela River, one of the headwaters of the Ohio. In 1752 Michel-Ange Duquesne de Menneville (1700–1778) arrived as the new governor of New France in Québec with the unequivocal order to expel the British from the Ohio Valley. He therefore ordered the construction of a chain of four forts between Lake Erie and the Ohio. The southernmost fort, named after himself Fort Duquesne , was to be built at the point where the Monongahela and the Allegheny unite to form the Ohio. It was at this point that the Ohio Company began building its own fort in February 1754, so direct military confrontation became inevitable.
The third power factor in the Ohio area were the Indian tribes residing in this area: groups of Shawnees and Delawars , who in turn had previously been subjugated by the Iroquois League in the north, had settled here for several decades . The Iroquois practiced their rule in the region via so-called "semi-kings" ( half-kings off), Iroquois envoys, who presided the settlements of the conquered tribes. With the worsening conflict between the two colonial powers, these tribes hoped to ally themselves with France and liberate themselves from Iroquois rule.
The conflict over academia
Another source of conflict was the Canadian province of Akadien , which comprised the present-day provinces of Nova Scotia , New Brunswick and Québec in whole or in part . This area was conquered by British troops in 1710 during the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714) and transferred to Great Britain in the Peace of Utrecht in 1713. The French-born, Catholic population nevertheless enjoyed extensive autonomy and religious freedom; British garrisons were only in Annapolis Royal and in Halifax, founded in 1749, around which a British settlement center developed.
However, France had not come to terms with this loss. French priests, missionaries and officers tried openly or covertly to incite the Acadians to revolt against the British, to recruit them for the French military or to induce them to emigrate to French-controlled areas. Abbé Jean-Louis Le Loutre (1709–1772), Catholic vicar general of Acadia and missionary of the Micmacs , an Indian tribe living there, played a key role here . He asked the Acadians to refuse to swear allegiance to the British king and to emigrate. The Indians under his influence put pressure on the Acadians and started a guerrilla war against the British: At his instigation, there were attacks on British traders, soldiers and settlements. French documents show that the clergyman paid the Indians 100 livres for each British scalp. From 1750 there were repeated violent attacks, in which not only Indians but also Acadians were involved. After the French built Fort Beauséjour on land claimed by Great Britain in 1751 and asked the Acadians to take an oath of allegiance to the King of France, to serve in the French militia or to be treated as rebels, there was only an open outbreak of hostilities here still a matter of time. In 1754 the British governor of Acadia responded with a proclamation that all Acadians who had sworn allegiance but taken arms against the British would be treated as criminals.
The way to war
In 1750, at a meeting in Paris , British and French ambassadors tried in vain to solve the problems in the Ohio Valley and in Acadia. In 1752, Michel-Ange Duquesne de Menneville, the Marquis de Duquesne, was made Governor General of New France (Canada) and was given the express task of securing the Ohio Valley for France and driving the British out of this area. The following year he sent troops to build fortifications on Presque Island (near Erie , Pennsylvania ) and Rivière aux Boeufs (near Waterford ). French officers and missionaries began systematic efforts to reduce the influence of British traders on the Indians and to get them on their side. Not least because of the inaction of the British, the French were able to win most of the tribes for themselves. At the same time, British settlers and merchants from Virginia , encouraged by their Governor Robert Dinwiddie , increasingly penetrated the Ohio Valley, which Dinwiddie claimed as part of his colony.
The French were clearly at a disadvantage due to the numerically smaller population of their colony (about 60,000 against more than 2 million in British North America). In this respect, their chances of a successful outcome to the war were very poor from the start. The warfare of the British was hindered by the lack of a coordinating authority above the individual colonies, above all by the internal conflicts between the governors and the parliaments of the colonies, which led to the urgently needed funds for the construction of forts Gifts to the Indians and for the remuneration of troops were not approved. In the same way, however, the defense of New France was burdened by the conflict between Governor Vaudreuil and General Montcalm and the endemic corruption in the colonies.
Outbreak of war
After learning of new French forts on the Upper Allegheny River , Dinwiddie sent a young officer from Virginia, George Washington , with a written request for the French to leave the region, which was unsuccessful. On the way back, Washington found that the place where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers converge to form the Ohio was an excellent place for a fort. In early 1754, the British therefore began building Fort Prince George . However, the French found out about it, sent in military, forced the British to withdraw without a fight on April 17th, destroyed the fortification and built a larger one in its place, which they named Fort Duquesne after their governor .
Washington had meanwhile been sent west with some soldiers to secure the British positions there, and was staying in the Great Meadows near Fort Duquesne (near today's Uniontown , Pennsylvania). When he learned that there were French soldiers near his camp, he attacked them on May 29, because he wanted to forestall an attack.
With this successful skirmish for the British, the so-called Jumonville incident (after a French officer killed in the process), the war broke out openly. At the news of the raid, the commander of Fort Duquesne dispatched vastly outnumbered reinforcements, including Washington and his men in the hastily built Fort Necessity and, after a brief skirmish, on July 3rd, forcing them to surrender to free withdrawal. With this incident, war had become inevitable.
The following year Major General Edward Braddock was sent to America and appointed British Commander in Chief. Then a French fleet sailed with troops under the German-born General Baron Jean-Armand de Dieskau (1701–1767) to Canada. A British squadron under Vice Admiral Edward Boscawen tried in vain to intercept the French, but was able to place three French ships of the line on June 6 and, after a brief battle, force two of them, the Alcide and the Lys, serving as a troop transport, to surrender.
In the meantime the British had decided to carry out four simultaneous attacks on the French. A predominantly regular expedition under Braddock was to attack Fort Duquesne, a second made up of militia forces under Sir William Johnson was directed against the fort at Crown Point , and a third army, also made up of militia troops, was supposed to drive the French out of Acadia. In a fourth project, troops under William Shirley , the governor of Massachusetts , were to attack Fort Niagara .
In April 1755 Braddock began his march on Fort Duquesne with about 2,200 men, but was defeated and mortally wounded by the French and their Indian allies on July 9 in the Battle of Monongahela . The British attack on the Ohio Valley was repelled, but they were more successful in the north. The militiamen under Johnson was able to create the strategically important fortification Fort Edward (Fort Lyman) on the Hudson River and defeat the French led by Dieskau on September 8, 1755 in the battle of Lake George . Johnson laid the strategically important Fort William Henry on Lake George , but missed the opportunity to attack Crown Point.
Shirley's advance on Fort Niagara was also unsuccessful. The British marched as far as Lake Ontario, but limited themselves to strengthening Fort Oswego . The reason for this were supply problems and French troops in Fort Frontenac , which would have cut the lines of communication in an attack on Fort Niagara.
An expedition made up of New England militias and regular soldiers from the Halifax garrison under Brigadier General Robert Monckton was successful . This unit landed at the British Fort Lawrence in early June and began shortly thereafter with the siege of the nearby French Fort Beauséjour . After a two-week siege, the French defenders capitulated on June 16. With this, the British troops had succeeded in breaking into the French defense system and the strategically extremely important French sea fortress fortress Louisbourg had been isolated from any hinterland since this defeat. At the same time, the French-born settlers of Acadia were cut off from any support from the Canadian core area.
After the Acadians refused to take the oath of allegiance to the British Crown, the British began arresting and deporting the entire French population of Acadia on September 5 , if they did not escape by fleeing. As of October 8th, over 6,000 men, women and children have been shipped to the British colonies in New England . With this tough - and even for the time extraordinarily cruel - measure, the British position in Acadia was secured. A small unit of French troops then carried out a guerrilla war in the woods for several years, but the French were no longer able to make a serious attempt to recapture.
In addition to these major military operations, a cruel guerrilla war began on the borders of the British colonies in 1755, the main victims of which were the largely defenseless settlers. Indians supported by French soldiers made - not least on the road built by Braddock's soldiers - numerous forays into Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia in particular , destroyed settlements and farms and killed or abducted their residents. These attacks were facilitated by the fact that the pacifist Quaker- dominated Parliament of Pennsylvania refused to approve defensive measures and provide funds for long periods of time because of constitutional disputes with the governor. The Abenaki from what is now the Canadian province of Quebéc are said to have killed more than 600 British people. These in turn retaliated with brutal revenge campaigns against Indians and - as far as possible - French settlements. Soldiers under the command of Major Robert Rogers attacked the main Abenakis settlement in September 1759 and carried out a massacre there, which allegedly killed around 200 Indians. However, these numbers do not stand up to scrutiny; in reality, the number of victims was probably much lower. In internal French communications, e.g. B. of 30 dead. For propaganda reasons - and to justify Roger's own high losses - a higher number was reported.
Course of the war from 1756
Despite these massive clashes, Great Britain only declared war on France on May 17, 1756. John Campbell, 4th Earl of Loudoun , was appointed Braddock's successor in 1756, but was no match for his French opponent Louis-Joseph de Montcalm , who was appointed in the same year .
The French captured Fort Oswego on Lake Ontario on August 15, 1756 , while the British under Loudon concentrated 12,000 men in Halifax for an attack on Fort Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island , but this was due to delays in the deployment and the strength of the defenders not carried out. Instead, the French attacked again and captured Fort William Henry on Lake George on August 9, 1757 . The attack by the Indians allied with Montcalm on the British garrison, which had surrendered against free withdrawal, has gone down in history and literature as the Fort William Henry massacre ( James Fenimore Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans ) with far exaggerated casualties .
Despite their success, the French suffered heavily from the blockade of their ports by the British Royal Navy , which largely prevented supplies from France and also the communication, while the naval rule allowed the British to relocate reinforcements and land at any point.
In the summer of 1758, the British played to their numerical superiority and the support of their navy, attacking Louisbourg, Fort Ticonderoga on Lake Champlain and Fort Frontenac on the eastern end of Lake Ontario. Although the attackers at Ticonderoga suffered a heavy defeat on July 8th due to an incompetent commander, Louisbourg, besieged with the support of the British fleet, had to surrender to General Jeffrey Amherst and Admiral Edward Boscawen on July 26th , giving the British control of the Sankt -Lorenz-Bucht and gained access to the St. Lawrence River .
An expedition under Lieutenant Colonel John Bradstreet captured Fort Frontenac in August and thus gained control of Lake Ontario. In July Brigadier General John Forbes began a push against Fort Duquesne . Although the French wiped out a vanguard sent ahead to investigate, Forbes still achieved a decisive success when he concluded a peace treaty with the Indian tribes of the region in Fort Bedford. Since the weak garrison of Fort Duquesne had now lost its allies and was cut off from their connection to Montreal by the fall of Fort Frontenac, they evacuated the fort on November 24th and destroyed it. The British immediately began rebuilding and named their new base Fort Pitt (now Pittsburgh ). This was the first time they had secured control of the Ohio Valley.
In 1759 the British attacked again from two sides. Amherst, who succeeded James Abercrombie , who had been replaced because of the Ticonderoga debacle, as commander-in-chief in North America, advanced north along Lake George and Lake Champlain and took the forts of Ticonderoga (June 25, 1759) and Fort Crown Point . A division of his army under Brigadier John Prideaux besieged the strategically important Fort Niagara at the mouth of the Niagara in Lake Ontario, inflicted a crushing defeat on a French relief army in the battle of La Belle Famille on July 24 and forced the garrison of the fort on the following day Day to surrender.
Meanwhile, a British invasion force of around 9,000 soldiers, 13,500 sailors and 49 ships under General James Wolfe and Admiral Charles Saunders invaded the Saint Lawrence River in June. After a two and a half month siege , she defeated the defenders under Montcalm on September 13 in the decisive battle on the Plains of Abraham , in which both Montcalm and Wolfe fell. On September 18, Quebec surrendered and was occupied. Although Montcalm's successor François-Gaston de Lévis succeeded in defeating the British garrison of Quebec under General James Murray (1721-1794) on April 28, 1760 in the battle of Sainte-Foy , the following siege of Quebec had to occur after the arrival of Reinforcements for the British are canceled.
After a last French attempt to bring reinforcements to Montréal ended with the destruction of the ships intended for this purpose in the battle on the Restigouche River on July 8, 1760, the British were able to complete the conquest of French possessions in North America. On September 8, the defenders of Montréal surrendered to General Amherst, and on September 29, Major Robert Rogers took over Fort Detroit .
One last unsuccessful attempt to regain a foothold in Canada was made by the French in 1762, when strong British troops had been relocated from Canada to the Caribbean . A French fleet under Commodore du Ternay with 750 soldiers broke out of Brest on May 8, 1762 , escaped the British blockade fleet and landed on June 24 in St. John's on Newfoundland . Although the weak British garrison capitulated, news of the landing of the French reached Halifax, from where troops and warships were sent to counterattack. Du Ternay escaped the British fleet and returned to France, but the French troops under the Comte d'Haussonville, left behind in St. John's, were left with nothing but the surrender on September 18th.
In the Peace of Paris on February 10, 1763, the French gave up their holdings in North America - apart from the small archipelago of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon . Acadia, Cape Breton, Canada and the islands of St. Lawrence, all areas east of the Mississippi (Missouri Valley) including Mobile but excluding New Orleans went to England. Spain ceded Florida to England. West Louisiana , thought to reach as far as the Rocky Mountains, remained under Spanish control until the Secret Treaty of San Ildefonso (October 1800) and was acquired by Jefferson for the United States in April 1803.
The Pontiac uprising and its aftermath
The hostilities did not come to a permanent end, however, as the Indian tribes in the area of what is now the US state of Ohio rose up against British rule in the Pontiac uprising in May 1763 (after the Ottawa chief Pontiac ). They hoped for support from the French. The Indians conquered numerous forts and settlements in the Ohio Valley and western Pennsylvania and failed only at Fort Pitt and Fort Detroit, which were besieged from early May to late November 1763. With their skillfully applied guerrilla tactics , Pontiac's Indians were a match for regular British army units. It was not until the autumn of 1764 that the British succeeded in subjugating the Indians again with the help of two expeditions under Colonels John Bradstreet and Henry Bouquet . An essential role was played by the fact that they ran out of ammunition and that France did not support them. Pontiac himself did not capitulate until July 1766.
In the guerrilla attacks by the Indians on settlers, adults and children were taken prisoner and abducted. Almost all of them were accepted into the Indian peoples. Their numbers cannot be precisely determined, but in 1764 alone, British Colonel Henri Bouquet forced the extradition of several hundred whites from only the peoples of the Ohio Valley. It is therefore assumed that never in history have more whites been captured by Indians and subsequently lived with them. It was incomprehensible to the settlers that a large number of the prisoners did not want to leave the Indians. Not only were these children, but adults too preferred living with the Indians to returning to white society.
A consequence of the Pontiac Uprising was the royal proclamation of 1763 , which assigned the British settlers the area east of the Appalachians and the Indians to the west of it. This command was ignored by the settlers and contributed to the alienation between the colonists and the British government. Another consequence of the wars was a high debt burden, which the government tried to raise by increasing taxation. This, in turn, was a major catalyst for the American Revolution .
Fortresses during the French and Indian wars
- Fort William Henry
- Fort Frederick
- Fort Constitution
- Fort Crown Point
- Fort Dayton
- Fort Detroit
- Fort Duquesne
- Fort Mackinac
- Fort Montgomery (Hudson River)
- Fort Niagara
- Fort Oswego
- Fort Pentagouet
- Fort Pownall
- Fort Ticonderoga
- Ben Loeterman, Eric Stange: The War that Made America - two or four-part PBS documentary from 2006 (English, 215 min.)
- Klaus-Jürgen Bremm : Prussia moves the world. The Seven Years War. Theiss, Darmstadt 2017, ISBN 978-3806235777 . [despite the title takes into account the global context of the war]
- Marian Füssel : The price of fame. A world history of the Seven Years' War. CH Beck, Munich 2019.
- Fred Anderson: Crucible of War: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766. Knopf, New York 2000. ISBN 0-375-40642-5
- Fred Anderson: The War that Made America: A Short History of the French and Indian War. Viking, New York 2005. ISBN 0670034541 .
- Daniel A. Baugh: The Global Seven Years War, 1754-1763. Britain and France in a great power contest. Pearson, Harlow 2011, ISBN 978-0-582-09239-6 .
- Frank W. Brecher: Losing a Continent: France's North American Policy, 1753-1763 . Greenwood Press, Westport CT 1998. ISBN 0313307865
- Stephen Brumwell: Redcoats: The British Soldier and War in the Americas, 1755-1763. Cambridge University Press 2006. ISBN 978-0-521-67538-3
- William M. Fowler: Empires at War: The French and Indian War and the Struggle for North America, 1754-1763. Walker, New York 2005. ISBN 0802714110 .
Lawrence Henry Gipson : The British Empire before the American Revolution . 15 volumes, 1936-70; in particular:
- VI: The Great War for the Empire: The Years of Defeat, 1754-1757 . Alfred A. Knopf, New York 1946.
- VII: The Great War for the Empire: The Victorious Years, 1758-1760 . Alfred A. Knopf, New York 1949.
- VIII: The Great War for the Empire: The Culmination, 1760-1763 . Alfred A. Knopf, New York 1954.
- Warren R. Hofstra (ed.): Cultures in Conflict: The Seven Years' War in North America . Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham MD 2007. ISBN 074255130X
- Francis Jennings: Empire of Fortune: Crowns, Colonies, and Tribes in the Seven Years War in America . WW Norton, New York and London 1990. ISBN 0393306402
- William R. Nester: The First Global War. Britain, France, and the Fate of North America 1756-1775 . Praeger / Greenwood, Westport CT 2000, ISBN 0-275-96771-9 .
- Guy Frégault: La Guerre de la Conquête . Fides, Montréal 1955; 2nd, expanded edition 1966. Reprint 2009. ISBN 9782762129892 (= Volume IX by Marcel Trudel and Guy Frégault (eds.): Histoire de la Nouvelle-France . 10 volumes. Fides, Montreal 1963-1999.)
- Marcel Trudel: Le Régime militaire et la disparition de la Nouvelle-France, 1759-1764 . Fides, Montréal 1999. ISBN 2762120624 (= Volume X by Marcel Trudel and Guy Frégault (eds.): Histoire de la Nouvelle-France . 10 volumes. Fides, Montreal 1963-1999.)
- Brumwell, pp. 24-25.
- Brumwell, pp. 26-31.
- For example, Alfred A. Cave: The French and Indian War , Westport, Connecticut 2004, Andrew Santella: The French and Indian War from the same year (Minneapolis 2004) or Eugene Irving McCormac: Colonial Opposition to Imperial Authority During the French and Indian War , from 2009, to name a few.
- For example, Warren R. Hofstra: Cultures in conflict: the Seven Years' War in North America , Plymouth 2007. The German historical scholarship is quite ambivalent here. The expression French and Indian war is used, but is almost always placed in quotation marks in order to remain recognizable as a quote. Firmin Roz and Camille Recht, who published a history of the United States in 1930, used the "French and Indian War" in quotation marks, as did the Central Library in 1957 and the journal History in Science and Education in 1967.
- The Canadian Encyclopedia interprets the North American events as part of the Seven Years' War ( English, French ) In: The Canadian Encyclopedia . Retrieved August 22, 2016 ..
- Cf. Lawrence Henry Gipson: The American Revolution as an Aftermath of the Great War for the Empire, 1754–1763 , in: Political Science Quarterly 65, No. 1, 1950.
- For example, the more than 500-page work by Guy Frégault: La guerre de la Conquête , Fides 1955 or Marcel Trudel: La Guerre de la Conquête, 1754-1760 , Montréal 1975. The name is used in Francophone Canada, which is particularly detailed dealt with, as before, for example at: Dave Noël: La guerre de la Conquête et les populations civiles canadiennes: le cas de l'Île d'Orléans (1750-1765) , Université de Montréal 2005.
- Gustave Lanctot: Perspective économiques et militaires de la guerre de Sept Ans au Canada , in: Culture, Vol. II, 1 (1941) 29-40 (reproduced again on the website of the Encyclopédie de l'histoire du Québec / Quebec History Encyclopedia ).
- The Battle of the Monongahela . 1755. Retrieved August 3, 2013.
- Wikisource Cyclopædia of American Biography / Dieskau, Jean Erdman
- Daniel A. Baugh: The Global Seven Years War, 1754-1763. Britain and France in a great power contest. Harlow 2011, p. 195.
- Marin Trenk: White Indians . Persimplex Verlag, Wismar, 2009, ISBN 978-3-940528-74-2 , pages 70-73