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

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How did land boundaries change after the French and Indian War?

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After the French and Indian War, the British gained control of nearly all of North America east of the Mississippi River. This made the British the undisputed colonial power on the continent. They gained control of the Ohio River watershed as well as Canada. This included all the lands in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River watersheds. The Royal Proclamation of 1763 defined how the British government would govern these newly acquired lands and outlawed English settlement west of the Appalachian Mountains. The territory west of these mountains was to be for exclusive settlement by Native Americans, called the Indian Reserve, although it remained in the dominion of the English Crown.

The Spanish gained control of the Louisiana Territory west of the Mississippi River which was incorporated into New Spain and administered from Havana until it was briefly returned to the French in 1801 when Napoleon conquered Spain.

Most French territory in the Caribbean, except for Haiti and Guadeloupe, was also ceded to the British and Spanish.

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The French lost control of their North American territories at the end of the French and Indian War. Great Britain won the war and gained Canada and all the French territories east of the Mississippi River. Great Britain also received Spanish Florida.

Great Britain's acquisition of this vast territory turned out, however, to be a largely Pyrrhic victory. A Pyrrhic victory is one in which the costs outweigh the benefits received. The French and Indian War was very expensive for the British. Further, attempts to get the colonists to help pay for the war backfired, as did attempts to try to put more controls on the colonies. Britain's taxation and constraint of the colonists led to the American Revolution, in which Britain relinquished not only its French acquisitions south of Canada but also the thirteen original colonies. Nevertheless, Great Britain kept Canada and emerged as the nineteenth-century superpower, so all was not lost.

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After the French and Indian War, the land boundaries changed because France was completely ejected from continental North America.  Where France had once owned a great deal of land on the continent, it now owned none.

Specifically, France gave its Canadian territories to Britain after the war.  It gave the Louisiana Territory (what was later acquired by the US as the Louisiana Purchase) to Spain.  Spain gave Florida to Britain.

So, after the war, the British owned all of North America east of the Mississippi River and Spain owned the Louisiana Territory.  France no longer owned anything on the continent.

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