The Great War for Empire

The French and Indian War as a World War

Authored by: William Burns

The Routledge Handbook of American Military and Diplomatic History

Print publication date:  August  2014
Online publication date:  September  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415533805
eBook ISBN: 9781315817347
Adobe ISBN: 9781317813354


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The American border conflict between Britain and France which began in 1754, known to the British-American colonists as the French and Indian War, rapidly grew into the global and European conflict known as the Seven Years War, which began in Europe in 1756 and lasted until 1763. Hostilities in America also predated the outbreak of war in Europe in the earlier Anglo-French conflicts, the Nine Years War (1688–1697) and the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714). In the Seven Years War, however, American hostilities actually precipitated the war in Europe, indicating the degree to which Imperial politics were driving Anglo-French rivalry. The difficulty of establishing borders in North America, much of whose geography was unknown, and the conflicted relations each side had with Native groups with their own agendas made it impossible to establish a lasting settlement of the French and British claims on the continent.

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