Chapter 1 | 3
Chapter 1 The Seven Years’ War
By 1750, Britain already had an expanding empire. Other European countries, such as France and Spain, also had an interest in gaining colonies and saw Britain’s success as a threat. It was the struggle between the French and British colonies that was to spark a war that would spread to Europe and the rest of the world. For more than 100 years, British colonists had been settling along the eastern coast of North America. Some came looking for farmland, others for religious freedom and some to escape problems at home. The numbers of settlers had grown until there were over a hundred thousand living in colonies such as Virginia, New York and Georgia. The colony of New France lay to the north of the British colonies in America. The British and French sometimes fought each other when wars took place in Europe. In the early 1750s, the French moved south along the western side of the Appalachian Mountains to create a chain of forts. British colonists became alarmed since they traded with tribes in the area and had hoped to establish farms to settle. The British governor and the colonists of Virginia were determined to stop the French from spreading their settlements ever westward. In 1753 the Governor sent a letter of protest to the French, carried by a 21-year-old surveyor and militia officer by the name of George Washington. He was met courteously, but told in no uncertain terms that the French were in the Ohio Valley to stay. By 1754 Washington was made a colonel in the Virginia militia and sent with 300 men to seize the French Fort Duquesne. Its position at the junction of the Allegheny and Ohio Rivers made it very important for transportation in a place with few roads. As a possible war approached, both the British and French sought allies among the local tribes. The Iroquois joined the British, while the Shawnee and Delaware joined the French.
Area of British control Area of French control Louisbourg