Seven Years' War
The Seven Years War was a worldwide conflict and in America it was known as the French and Indian War. It officially began in 1756 when the first fighting began, and when England declared war on France. Before its start, battles and conflicts were taking place between England and France inside North America for many years.
There were essentially two conflicts. One was focused on maritime and colonial conflict between Britain and its enemies France and Spain. The second was a conflict between Frederick II (the Great) of Prussia and Frederick's opponents, which included Austria, France, Russia, and Sweden.
Britain was victorious during the maritime and colonial war because of the strength of the British navy. Britain's strength came from the wealth of colonial expansion and its economy, and public finances.
The French had planned to invade Britain but had been badly defeated in 1759 by the British. The British victories against the French help them make colonial conquests in North American cities such as Louisburg, Quebec, and Montreal. In addition, the British colonized three areas in the West Indies: Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Havana; in Manila; as well as French bases in West Africa. They also captured a French base in India called Pondicherry. The victories demonstrated and continued Britain's global domination.
In Europe, Frederick II invaded Austria's ally Saxony in fear of what could have been an Austro-Russian attack on him. Though it was a successful invasion, a powerful coalition against Frederick was established. Due to the success, Frederick also went on to invade Bohemia but the Austrian fought back and stopped Frederick, who then withdrew.
Most of Frederick's success was due to his fighting against politically divided alliances, such as Russia centering on East Prussia, the Austrians focus on Silesia, and the French devoting their efforts to fighting Britain. Prussia and Frederick did survive the war, but not without many casualties
By 1760, the French were ousted from Canada, and three years later, France's allies in Europe each had either made peace with Prussia or were defeated. When Spanish tried to help France in the Americas, they failed, and of course France suffered losses against the British in India.
The Seven Years War ended when two treaties were signed in February of 1763, the Paris Treaty and the Hubertusburg Treaty. The Paris Treaty gave Louisiana to Spain, took away all of France's claims in Canada, and Britain received Spanish Florida, Upper Canada, and some overseas French property.
Because of the war and the treaties, the colonial and maritime supremacy of Britain was sustained, and the 13 American colonies were strengthened since they no longer had rivals in the north or south.
Unfortunately, 15 years later French was still bitter about the losses they sustained during the Seven Year War, especially the colonial empire they once had. This led to their intervention in the American Revolution on the side of the colonists.
In summary, the Seven Years War was the last major conflict that occurred before the French Revolution that involved most of the powers of Europe, including France, Saxony, Sweden and Russia on one side, and Prussia, Hanover, and Britain on the other side. Great Britain and France struggled for control of North America and India.
To link to this Seven Years' War page, copy the following code to your site: