Quick Facts About French and Indian War
The French and Indian War (1754-1763) was the final military contest between Great Britain and France to determine which country would control most of eastern North America. The previous conflicts were King William’s War (1689-1697), Queen Anne’s War (1702-1713), and King George’s War (1740-1748).
The French and Indian War was part of a worldwide contest for empire between Britain, France, Spain and other European nations, known as the Seven Years’ War.
In North America, the British and French clashed because France wanted to maintain its fur trading empire in Canada and the Ohio Country, while British colonists coveted the same area for westward expansion.
The name of the French and Indian War refers to Britain’s two main enemies, the French forces in North America, and their Indian allies.
In 1752, the Marquis Duquesne was made governor-general of New France with specific instructions to take possession of the Ohio Valley, removing all British presence from the area.
The French and Indian War began when band of Virginia militiamen commended by George Washington engaged a small number of French troops in 1754, near the French Fort Duquesne, where modern day Pittsburgh is located.
George Washington’s troops won the first engagement of the French and Indian War, but he was soon defeated by a superior force sent out from Fort Duquesne, leaving the French in command of the entire region west of the Appalachian Mountains.
Even though hostilities began in 1754, the French and Indian War did not officially begin until Great Britain declared war on France 1756, starting the Seven Years’ War.
The last major fighting in the French and Indian War resulted in the fall of Montreal on September 8, 1760.
Although the French and Indian War in North America ended in 1760 a peace treaty was not signed until the end of the Seven Years’ War in Europe in 1763.
The Treaty of Paris in 1763 virtually expelled France from eastern North America and left Great Britain in control of a vast empire inhabited by hostile Natives and coveted by American colonists eager for westward expansion.