When France and England declared war on each other in Europe in 1689, French and English colonists in America also began to fight. With their Native American allies, they attacked each other’s settlements and forts. During the 1700s, two ore wars between France and England fueled wars in their colonies. Neither side won a clear victory in these wars. A final war, The French and Indian War (1754-1763), decided which nation would control the northern and eastern parts of North America.
The seeds for the war were planted when British fur traders began moving into the Ohio River valley in the 1750s. British land companies were also planning to settle colonists there. The French and their Native American allies became alarmed. To keep the British out of the valley, Charles de Landlade destroyed the village of Pickawillany and its British trading post.
The British traders were forced to leave, and their French built forts to protect the region linking their Canadian and Louisiana settlements. This upset the Virginia colony, which claimed title to the land. In 1753, the lieutenant governor of Virginia sent a small group of soldiers to tell the French to leave. Their leader was a 21-year old major named George Washington.
The British wanted to build a fort at the head of the Ohio River but the French and Indians took it over, calling it Fort Duquesne. George Washington was on his way to defend Fort Duquesne when he learned of its surrender. He and his men pushed on and built another small fort, Fort Necessity. Following Washington’s surprise attack on a French force, the French and their allies attacked Fort Necessity on July 3, 1754. After Washington surrendered, the French let him march back to Virginia. The French and Indian War had begun. This war became known as the Seven Years’ War, a worldwide struggle for an empire between France and Great Britain.
How did the French attempt to keep the English out of the Ohio Valley?
Who are the sides in the French and Indian War?
What was the job of young George Washington in 1753?