The French and British governments fought for many years over which country would be the strongest and have the most control over other countries and resources. Things got much worse in the early 1750's. Both English and French settlers moved into the Ohio River Valley, near present day Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The land had rich soil for crops, the river provided ample navigation and the forests, hills and mountains were filled with game and fur bearing animals.

The English settlers had moved northwest from Virginia and French settlers had moved east from the Great Lakes, or south from Canada. Each group thought they owned the rights to the land. Each group resented the other.

Triggering Event:

Battle of Jumonville

  • In 1754, the British government decided to push the French settlers out of the area. Young George Washington led a troop of soldiers to Fort Duquesne, the main post in the Ohio River Valley, to push them out by force.

  • On the way, they encountered a French scouting party. George Washington’s men massacred the party.

  • General Washington marched his troops to Great Meadows, a large natural clearing and built Fort Necessity, thus establishing British rule over the area.

  • The French fought back and sent 600 soldiers to force Washington to surrender the fort.

  • Washington did surrender Fort Necessity and the French and Indian War had begun.


New Territory

The British won the French and Indian War. As a result:

  • All French territory, including Canada, was turned over to the British.

  • France was effectively expelled from the New World.

  • France was allowed to keep a few small islands off the coast of Canada and in the Caribbean.

  • They also agreed to stay out of India.

  • This made Great Britain the supreme military power in that part of Asia.

  • To pay for Spain's loss of Florida to England, Spain was awarded the Louisiana territory.

  • The entire face of North America had been dramatically changed.

New Conflict

  • Following the war, England issued the Proclamation of 1763, which stopped settlement west of the Appalachian Mountains.

  • Britain wanted to appease the Native American tribes who had developed positive relations with France.

  • British settlers, however, ignored the proclamation and moved into Indian lands anyway.

Debts, Debts, Debts

All wars are expensive. It costs a lot of money to hire soldiers, feed and clothe them, buy guns and ships, hire soldiers and officers, buy horses, equipment, food and the endless items needed to conduct a war. War is BIG Business and very expensive!

Because English had incurred significant debt while fighting the French and Indian War in and for the colonists, Parliament attempted to recoup the financial loss by issuing the 1765 Stamp Act on the colonists. The Stamp Act was a tax on virtually all printed documents. The tax was badly received by the colonists, who began a boycott of British goods and even attacked British tax collectors. Parliament repealed the Stamp Act and instead issued the Declaratory Act, which maintained Britain’s right to tax the colonists. These tax issues would become the cause of an even greater conflict 10 years later – The American Revolution.