How did the French and Indian War impact the British Empire?

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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The French and Indian War was part of a larger global conflict known as the Seven Years' War. The war involved virtually every European power, and included a war on the continent as well as the imperial conflict between France and Great Britain. The main effects of the French and Indian War, which was what the American colonists called the war in America, were that the British and colonists, along with a few Iroquoian allies, won control of Canada and virtually all of what is now the United States east of the Mississippi River. In fact, the French lost all of their colonies in the Western hemisphere, with the exception of two small trading posts in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and a handful of Caribbean islands, including Saint-Domingue.

So in the short term, the conflict added a tremendous amount of territory to the Empire. In the long term, however, the results of the French and Indian War triggered a major imperial crisis, as the British attempted to solidify their control over the American colonies. Anxious to recoup some of the expense of the conflict and desirous of avoiding new Indian wars, Parliament levied a series of taxes and import duties even as they forbade American settlement west of the Appalachian Mountains. These actions marked an unwelcome change in the imperial relationship between Britain and its American colonies, and they eventually led to the American Revolution.

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