The French and Indian War (The Seven Years' War)

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What were the main reasons for the French and Indian War?

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“An effort to control the Ohio Country was the most direct cause of the French and Indian War. Britain and France competed to control the valuable fur trade on the North American mainland and the rich sugar production on the islands of the West Indies.  Both nations received military assistance from colonists in these wars, but also relied on the help of Native American peoples who participated because of their own rivalries for land and power.”  The first conflict was King William’s war (1689-1697).  Next was Queen Anne’s war (1702-1713). This was known in Europe as the War of the Spanish Succession. The French and British fought battles along the New England frontier.  The third conflict was King George’s War (1744-1748), it began outside of North America in 1739 when Spain tried to halt trade between its North American colonies and Britain.  “In 1745 New England militiamen captured the French naval fortress of Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island (near the mouth of the St. Lawrence River), but the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (1748) returned the fortress to France. The last of the conflicts between Britain and France for control of North America was the French and Indian War. It began in the struggle for control of the Ohio Valley. “

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In the middle of the 18th century (1700's), the British and the French were both trying to establish positions in the Ohio valley, including western Pennsylvania. Bear in mind that the British and French had been enemies for centuries in Europe, and had fought several wars.

Before long, British and French forces clashed over their attempts to gain control of this territory by establishing forts in the area.  Indian tribes who were unhappy with the British efforts to expand westward joined with the French.  There were minor conflicts for several years in the Ohio valley as well as further north into the Great Lakes and Canada before the war was officially declared in 1756.  

The turning point of the war was in 1759 when the French surrendered their garrison in the city of Quebec.  By the end of 1760, the British had gained control of the whole area.

This was confirmed with the Treaty of Paris in 1763, which gave all of North America east of the Mississippi River -- other than New Orleans -- to the British.

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