The French and Indian War

More of this Feature

• Part 2: The Beginning of the War
Part 3: The English Take Control
Part 4: Victory and Lessons Learned

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Timeline of the War
The First European Settlements in America
Colonial Times

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French and Indian War: Developments
Maps of the War

Part 1: The Colonies in America

People from Europe began coming to America to live in the 17th Century. Spain, France, Sweden, Holland, and England claimed land.

The first French settlement was Quebec, in 1603. It was a large settlement but little more than a trading center, like most other French settlements.

The first permanent settlement in North America was the English colony at Jamestown, in 1607, in what is now Virginia. John Smith and company had come to stay. The Pilgrims followed, in 1620, and set up a colony at Plymouth, in what is now Massachusetts.

Other English colonies sprang up all along the Atlantic coast, from Maine in the north to Georgia in the south. France, meanwhile, was taking control of most of eastern Canada. Swedish and Dutch colonies took shape in and around what is now New York.

England forced Sweden and Holland out of the picture in one way or another. Soon, English interests came into conflict with French interests. Disputes arose over the Ohio Territory and parts of Canada. War was approaching.

At first glance, it looked like a mismatch. English troops outnumbered French troops almost 2-to-1. English colonies had their own militias and produced their own food. French settlements had to rely on soldiers hired by fur-trading companies and food from the homeland.

On the other hand, French forces were controlled by a single government and had settlements that were close together and, therefore, more easily defended. Each English colony had its own assembly government, and the colonies often argued with one another over simple things.

Next page > The Beginning of the War > Page 1, 2, 3, 4

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David White