The Seven Year’s War that took place from 1756 to 1763 was the First World War. It was fought in India, Europe, and America and at sea. In North America, imperial rivals Britain and France fought for supremacy. As the war started, the French which was assisted by Canadian militia and Aboriginal allies overpowered various British attacks and captured several British forts. In 1758, the flow turned when Louisbourg was captured by British and subsequently in 1759 Quebec City and in 1760, Montréal. France officially surrendered Canada to he British following the passing of the 1763 Treaty of Paris. Therefore, the Seven Years’ War led to the foundation of the modern Canada .
Reasons and Aims
The Seven Years’ War eroded the alliance of Hanover, Britain and Prussia against the alliance that had been formed by Saxony, Sweden, France, Russia, Austria and ultimately Spain. The commercial and imperial competition between France and Britain and also the enmity between Prussia and Austria drove the war. Prussia was inclined to Britain while Austria was inclined to France. In Europe, Britain directed troops to assist its supporter Prussia that was surrounded by its antagonists. The British war was, however, conducted for the purpose of destroying France which was its business rival. They, therefore, concentrated on launching attacks on the French navy and colonies overseas. France had limited resources to spare for its colonies as it was too dedicated to fighting on the European continent. France also became too devoted to fighting in Europe for the purpose of defending Austria, which could not do anything to assist France overseas.
Hostilities in North America
Hostilities started in 1754 in e Ohio Valley which was claimed by both the British and the French. The French in 1753 constructed fortifications in the area aimed at strengthening their claim over Ohio Valley. To react to this, the Virginia governor who was then a British colony directed militia colonel George Washington to the Ohio frontier. Washington attacked a small French group but he was later defeated by a bigger French force.
The war had not been formally declared but the British started to plan an assault against the French who were in America. In 1755, they gave the orders to Major General Edward Braddock and two normal regiments to America. Other regiments would be brought up in the colonies and a four-pronged attack would be instituted. The attack would be against Niagara, Fort Duquesne, Fort Beausejour and Fort Saint- Fredereric.
The knowledge of these movements made the French to direct six battalions which were led by Baron Armand Dieskau with the aim of reinforcing Louisbourg and Canada. Edward Boscawen and a troop of the British navy made attempts of intercepting and capturing the French convoy but they managed to capture only two ships. The army proceeding on Lake Champlain fought the French close to Lake George leading to Dieskau being captured but chose to let go the operation against Fort Saint-Frederic. Instead, they combined their location at the opposite of the lake where they constructed Fort William Henry. The suggested attack on Niagara did not push through because of supply problems and a lot of desertion. This led to Braddock’s army being defeated by a small troop of French soldiers and Aboriginal combatants. In 1755, the British were, however, successful in Acadia and captured Fort Beausejour with its small military base. The Acadian settlers of the whole region were later rounded up by the New England army and deported.
Additional French army and a new commander got to Canada in 1756. The name of the new commander was Marquis de Montcalm. The subsequent months Britain declares war. The strategy of the French governor general named Marquis de Vaudreul was keeping the British on the defensive and far away from Canadian settlements. In 1756, Montcalm captured the British Fort Oswego on Lake Ontario and hence gained authority over the Great Lakes. Fort William Henry was also captured by the French in 1757.
The Canadian and Aboriginal war parties attacked the American frontier settlements. The Americans were unable to deal with these attacks and Britain had to send more than 20,000 troops to the colonies and devote a large portion of its army to defending the French ports. The French aimed at using a small army with the help of the Canadians and Aboriginal allies. This was for the purposes of tying down these huge British forces in the interior hence sparing more worthy colonies form being attacked. Regardless of the huge numbers of British combatants who arrived in the North America, the French could not allow to send more troops for reinforcements.
The tide of war spun against the French in 1758. This was characterized by Britain’s launch of several main attacks on French posts. Major-General James Abercromby in July led an attack against Fort Carillon with British and American troops who were more than 15,000. He was, however, defeated by only 3,800 people who were led by Montcalm. Britain also instituted a successful attack on Louisbourg which led to the opening up of the St. Lawrence River to the ships belonging to Britain. British destroyed Fort Frontenac in 1758 using its stock of resources for the western posts. The Aboriginal allies of France in the Ohio location ended a separate peace agreement with Britain leading to the abandoning of Fort Duquesne by the French.
Britain captured Guadeloupe in 1759 in the Caribbean and launched three campaigns against French defenses on the mainland. Two armies belonging to Britain attacked Canada while a third seized Niagara. The Royal Navy took Major-General James Wolfe together with 9,000 men to Quebec. General Jeffery Amherst proceeded to Lake Champlain only to stop at Crown Point. Wolfe later forced Montcalm to join in the fight in 1759 but they were defeated in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham. The city gave in the following few days.
The British location at Quebec was, however, weak. The Royal Navy had withdrawn from that region prior to winter and left British army there alone. The Chevaier de Levis became the commander of the French army and overcame British soldiers. The British withdrew to Quebec and Levis set an attack on the city. He was, however, forced to stop the siege with the arrival of the British troops in the St. Lawrence River which dashed all hope of any French reinforcement. The French army went to Montreal and was made to capitulate to Amherst in 1760 hence freeing he British forces for service in other places. In 1762, the British captured Martinique and only the intercession of Spain in 1762 led to the saving of other French islands that were located in the West Indies.
The domination of the British navy was a deciding aspect in the result of the war. The navy’s role in the assaults on Louisbourg and the city of Quebec was critical. It was successful in protecting French ships from getting to the colonies. The British navy also beat the French’s plan of invading Britain. France and Spain had planned a main expedition to invade England. The British navy, however, did not let them succeed with their plan.
Even with the British army victories, the British still staggered under massive national debt in 1760. King George III took office and negotiations for the Treaty of Paris started. Duc de Choseul was identified to be in apposition of regaining valued sugar colonies to Martinique and Guadeloupe and retaining a location for the Grand Bank fisheries. He was also aiming at taking Cape Breton but was forced to take the small islands of Miquelon and St. Pierre. This was for the purpose of forcing the king of Spain to provide compensation for the submission of Spanish Florida to Britain.
France also abandoned Canada and went to Britain since it was less valuable for economic purposes. The size of Canada and its location also rendered it costly to maintain and protect. Additionally, Choiseul was sure that the American colonies would fight for independence and they did not need the protection from Britain anymore. 12 years later, the American colonies revolted against Britain in their quest for independence.
Consequences of the Seven Years’ War
There were a number of effects brought about by the Seven Years’ War. Most of these effects are the result of the enduring period for which the war lasted. The war, in fact, had many consequences that ranged from being clear cut to those that were quite implied in their own nature. It led to a wide scope of economic, social, governmental and political effects in all the nations that were involved in the war. These include France, the Great Britain and Spain. Due to the colonial nature of these nations, there was also the involvement of their colonies in the war. As a result of the colonies’ involvement in the Seven Year’s War, they, themselves together with their colonists and the natives that had occupied the lands that had been claimed by the main European nations of France, Spain and Britain were also affected by the war. There was, in fact, a general impact on the relationship between all the parties mentioned above. Some of the consequences of the war were long term while others were short term. This depended on the parties involved, their position during the war and how they took part in it.
Like in any other war, the Seven Years’ War led to the death of a large number of people. These people ranged from soldiers, women, children and other persons who were not soldiers. There were many deaths of soldiers on both sides of the frontier. Other people such as natives had made alliances with the colonists and, therefore, fought alongside the colonists. Most of these natives were allied to the French. In spite of most of the army attacks taking place in military bases, there were instances when some of this fighting would occur in areas where ordinary members of the public lived or had other activities. It should also not be disregarded that in these attacks, there was the taking of captives as slaves.
The most significantly felt impact of the Seven Years’ War was the financial burden that both France and Britain had to bear. This was essentially due to the long period that the war lasted. Both the French and the British, being at the front line of the war and even its causes, were regarded as being the primary parties to the war. As a result of this, these nations had to prove to each other that one of them was mightier and well deserving over the other. With their disputes unsettled and being at war in their original countries, the dispute between the French and Britain spread fast to the colonies. This led to an increased desire for land as it signified control and power. Both the French and the British wanted to conquer and take control over North America. With both nations advancing westwards, it would mean that only one would gain control since they were not willing to share.
The financial consequences of the Seven Year’s War were felt by both the French and the British as they needed to be well prepared for the attacks on each other’s side. With a number of defeats against the British by the French army, the British Empire had to send troops to the Americas and even fight back at home. The funding of such armies required that both governments use monetary resources to sustain the troops and remain viable. This required supplies such as food, water, women, and medicine at a constant rate. The effect of this was that the governments were getting drained and had to resort back to their citizenry. They would then impose high taxes on the citizens and even the colonists. This lasted for quite a long time and at the end of the Seven Year’s War, the countries had been almost depleted of their resources. For instance, the national debt of Britain doubled.
Another impact of the Seven Year’s War on Britain was that, with the increase in national debt and the rising demand for troops, the Crown made an attempt to levy taxes on its colonies. This was mainly aimed at paying off the debt that it had incurred. This taxation of the colonists in the colonies was not met with compliance. It was, in fact met with san increasingly firm resistance to the point that troops were called in to make certain that the representatives of the British monarch were capable of carrying out their duties effectively.
In spite of the troops that were called in to make certain the performance of the representative’s duties, the colonists still bore their resistance and it kept growing stronger by the day. The colonists, after a long time of trying to unify themselves amongst the American colonies, were finally able to come together and stand for the separation from the British Empire. They bore the belief that they had been neglected by their motherland and that they had developed themselves in every aspect ranging from the political, social and economic spheres. This was in addition to the colonists sharing different, principles, values and goals from those of the British government and people. This led to the occurrence of the American Revolution between 1765 and 1783. The thirteen American colonies merged in unity and fought against the British for their independence. Having already been weakened both physically and financially, the British monarch was weak to defeat the American colonists.
For the French, the Seven Year’s War had an almost similar impact as that experienced by the British. It had a contribution to the beginning of the 1789 French Revolution. In 1778, the French made their return to America’s North. They had established a Franco- American alliance to fight against the Great Britain’s army and government in the American War of Independence. France has taken part in the American Revolution in a costly manner. The King, then Louis XVI, together with his forerunner had spent French resources in their alliance with the American colonists against the British. This had resulted in France being on the edge of bankruptcy. In addition to the royal reserves being depleted, a double decade of poor harvests of cereal, cattle epidemics, drought and the prices of bread going through the ceiling had resulted in strife among the country’s peasants and the poor persons in urban areas. The discontent by these groups of persons over the existing government that levied hefty taxes on them yet failing to offer relief was demonstrated through riots, strikes and looting. This became widespread leading to the abolition of feudalism in 1789. To mark the end of the French Revolution in 17965, a new constitution was approved under the leadership of Napoleon Bonaparte.
For a large number of native individuals and groups of people living in the Americas, the Seven Year War had several consequences. Some of these persons lost their lives during the war. Other people were displaced from their original homes. This could have been as a result of fleeing or captivity. In some instances, these native people lost their lands and property and became assimilated into the common African Americans and whites. These were commonly the Native Indians. As a result of such assimilation, displacement and even death, there was loss of the culture of some of the Native American communities.
The Seven Years’ War also resulted in the signing of the Treaty of Paris. This treaty marked the official end of the French Indian War in 1763. The treat Treaty of Paris was established with the diplomacy by Spanish and French diplomats as they sought peace with the Great Britain. In as much as the treaty was successful in its objective of ending the war, it led to some losses of territory by Spain and France. The Treaty of Paris provided a means for the Great Britain to demonstrate its power over France and Spain. It took over Canada and almost the entire of the North America to the east of the Mississippi River. Britain, additionally, took Florida from the Spanish who fought alongside the French. The Treaty allowed Spain to retain possession of its territory to the Mississippi’s western side together with the city of New Orleans, which it had acquired from the French back in 1762. France, defeated and weakened by the Great Britain, was allowed by the Treaty of Paris to retain control over only a small number of colonies and islands adjacent to Newfoundland and in the West Indies.
The Seven Years’ War was an important turning point in the Canadian history. The 1763 Treaty of Paris led to the formal submission of France from Canada to Britain and also left the continent. The Seven Years’ War, therefore, laid the foundation for the formation of the current Canada. The removal of France as a North American authority, however, provided Anglo-American colonists more confidence as they did not need the protection of the British force. This was an indirect cause of the 1775 American Revolution. The Seven Years’ War had several consequences. These were mainly caused by the long time the war took. The consequences ranged from political, social, economic and even governmental effects depending on the parties that took part in the war, their position and how they participated in the war, either actively or passively. The most common effects of the Seven Years’ War, was the death of many people. These included soldiers, women, children and the native people. Another consequence was financial burdening and weakening of the parties involved such as the French and British. Due to this weakening, the British lost control over the American colonies in the American Revolution when they tried to impose taxes to repay the incurred debt. The French administration, on the other hand, lost control of their subjects in the French Revolution due to extravagant spending in the war. There was also the displacement, death and assimilation of the native people resulting in the loss of many native cultures. The Seven Years’ War also led to the signing of the Treaty of Paris that ended the war. It also led to the division of land giving Britain a big chunk of American land, Spain a little land and the French not as much land as they had initially.