The French and Indian War

The French and Indian War actually did not occur between the French and the Indians.  It was the part of the Seven Years’ War that occurred on North American soil and referred to the enemies of the British – the French and various American Indian tribes.  Some times the war is known as the King William’s War, Queen Anne’s War, Fourth Intercolonial War, and the Great War for the Empire.  By the end of the French and Indian War, the British had captured territories such as New France (which was east of the Mississippi) and Spanish Florida.

There were several factors that led up to the French and Indian War.  The French and British both claimed the territory between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River, which stretched from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico.  They both set up trading posts and forts.  The British felt they had the right due to royal grants while the French felt they had the right because La Salle claimed the Mississippi River for the French.  Both however ignored the Native American claims to the land.

The Protestant English colonists also feared the influence of the French, who were predominately Roman Catholic, thinking French control would destroy their freedom of religion.  At the same time, the French feared anti-Catholicism persecution from the English.  Finally, the fertile fishing grounds of the Grand Banks in Newfoundland were coveted by both sides.

The Seven Years’ War in Europe officially began in 1754.  Native Americans sided mostly with the French, although the Iroquois did side with the British.  Major George Washington was among the colonial troops that confronted the French.  The French and Indian War lasted until 1763, when the Treaty of Paris was signed on February 10th.

At the end of the French and Indian War, France gave Spain French Louisiana to compensate for the loss of Florida during the war.