George Washington was a young commander in the Seven Years' War, known in North America as the French and Indian War. This role dovetailed with his business interests in the recently formed Ohio Company. Washington's half-brothers, Lawrence and Augustine, were among a group of investors who had organized the Ohio Company as a way to move Westward into the Ohio territory (today western Pennsylvania and a part of West Virginia). Along with his half brothers, George Washington himself was a major shareholder in the company. The British government had granted the corporation 500,000 acres of land in the Ohio Valley, assuming it met requirements that included settling one hundred families in the area within seven years.
The French, who were already in the Ohio Valley, were upset by the British claims to territory they believed was their own and more upset when the Ohio company began establishing trading posts in the area. This led to armed conflict. Washington, because of his investments, had a very strong financial interest in helping to win the French and Indian War and ousting the French from the region.
The outcome of this war, however, generated the tensions that led to the American Revolution, one tension of which was the British blocking the Ohio Company from expanding as far to the West as it wished by establishing the Appalachian mountains as a hard border to the colonies.