French and Indian War

The French and Indian war, which lasted from 1754 to 1763, served to establish control in the relatively new continent of North America, and laid the essential foundation for the Revolutionary War to occur. The conflict began over the issue of land. The British monarch at the time, King George II, had decreed that all of North America was the property of England. The French, however, had been the first settlers in the areas around the Great Lakes and Ohio, and therefore felt that they had first rights to the territory.

The French had established Fort Duquesne in the state of Virginia. In 1754, a young George Washington was ordered by the governor of Virginia, by request of the British government, to go and attempt to remove the French by force from the region. The French refused to leave, and Washington's group of 150 men laid siege, killing 10 Frenchmen and marking the official beginning of the French and Indian War.

Washington, realizing that the French fort was too well protected for complete overthrow, retreated and built Fort Necessity. The French formed alliances with local Indians, and in the next confrontation, it was Washington's forces that were forced to withdraw, due to being outmaneuvered by the French and Indian use of tree cover and camouflage. Fort Necessity fell to the French and Indian forces on July 3rd, 1754, and the first battle of the war, the battle of Fort Duquesne, was claimed by the French and Indian alliance.

General Edward Braddock of Britain was sent on July 9th, 1754, along with a force of 1,300 militia men to Fort Duquesne, with the goal of taking Fort Duquesne captive. Braddock's forces were similarly defeated by the ingenuity of the French and Indian force, and were forced to retreat. General Braddock was mortally wounded during the fight, and died a few days after.

The French and Indian War continued to rage for the next few years, with the French and Indian alliance maintaining the upper hand until 1757, when English Prime Minister William Pitt took steps to actively defeat the French in the New World so as to weaken the war that was simultaneously going on in Europe. New numbers of British soldiers arrived, and with colonial assistance, took Fort Duquesne in 1758. Fort Niagara, Quebec, and Montreal were captured in the next two years, which gave the British control of France's main land parcels and source of revenue in the New World.

War continued in Europe, Africa, and Asia until 1763, when the Treaty of Paris was signed and the war was formally concluded, with the French accepting defeat.

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