Seven Years’ War


Theme: the Seven Years’ War was a global war fought for territory between France (Austria, and various Native American peoples of French Canada) and the British (Prussia, Hanover, and the Iroquois Confederacy).  Britain would win the war under the leadership of William Pitt, whose bold and imaginative decisions would not only bring battlefield victory but create a set of post-war assumptions and problems that would set the stage for the American Revolution.  The war would also prove the training ground for many of the officers who would serve in the American revolution, and a testing of the tactics of regular and irregular (guerrilla) warfare.

Map of Fort Ticonderoga


Map of Fort Ticonderoga

1. French-British Wars, 1689-1815 – a long century of war


2. Origins of the Seven Years’ War


-Iroquois Confederacy loses its ascendancy over peoples of the Ohio River Valley

-British-American settlers push into Ohio River region

-French extend influence in the same region, build forts, and thwart efforts of British colonial land companies to profit from claims to the region

-concerns over protecting Hanover (birthplace of George II) and protestant northern Europe from French and Prussian power

-realignment of European balance of Power (Austria aligns with France; Prussia with Hanover and Britain)


            3. British Defeats, 1754-1756

-failure of the Albany Congress (and Albany Plan) to promote colonial unity

-Edward Braddock’s defeat in the Ohio Valley – 1755

-capture of Nova Scotia and deportation of Arcadians

-Battle of Lake George – fought to inconclusion (British respond by building Fort William Henry and French by building Fort Carillon (aka Fort    Ticonderoga)

-British loss of Fort Oswego on Lake Ontario and Native American alliance with French

-“Massacre” at Fort William Henry


     4. Enter William Pitt (British minister in charge of government)

-new strategy – attack French colonies in Caribbean, India, and North America

-pay Hanover and Prussia to fight the French on the continent

-treat the Americans as allies rather than subordinates and pay them too, and handsomely, for supplying and fighting the war


5. British Victories


  -Louisboug falls to British (and they control St. Lawrence River)

  -John Forbes leads a deliberate invasion of the Ohio River Valley that forces French to abandon Fort Duquesne

  -the last French victory: Montcalm at Fort Carillon – 1758

- Wolfe and Montcalm at Quebec – 1759

- Surrender of Montreal and New France – 1760

- Treaty of Paris ends war – 1763


6. Why English Won?

            -adaptation to irregular warfare

            -building of forts and roads to move troops to the frontier

            -lavish spending

            -but many lessons not learned……



Vocabulary: Iroquois Confederacy, Edward Braddock, Fort Duquesne, New France, marquis de Montcalm, Fort William Henry, Fort Carillon (Fort Ticonderoga), James Wolfe, William Pitt, Battle of Quebec, pays d’en haut, Albany Congress, Hanover