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This was one of the many wars that made up the French and Indian Wars. See the Master Project Indian Wars

The summary is taken from French and Indian War and Atlas of the North American Indian, Revised Edition, 2000.

French and Indian War

What most historians call the French and Indian War was really the final conflict in a long series of wars among the the European colonial powers for world dominance. After a period of peace, undeclared war began again in North America in 1754. The French and Indian War is the common American name for the war between Great Britain and France in North America from 1754 to 1763. Two years of colonial fighting precipitated the Seven Years' War in Europe, in 1756. The war erupted into the world-wide conflict, which lasted from 1756 to 1763, and thus the French and Indian War came to be regarded as the North American theater of that war. In Canada, it is usually just referred to as the Seven Years' War, although French Canadians often call it La guerre de la Conquête ("The War of Conquest"). In Europe, there is no specific name for the North American part of the war. The name refers to the two main enemies of the British colonists: the royal French forces and the various Native American forces allied with them, although Great Britain also had Native allies. The French and Indian War was the most extensive and most decisive of the colonial wars, with France suffering defeat.

Competition over the Ohio Valley triggered this new round of hostilities. The British staked their claim to the region on the basis of two treaties: the Treaty of Lancaster (1744) with the Iroquois (Haudenosaunee), who had earlier claimed the area by right of conquest over other tribes; and the Treaty of Logstown (1748) with the Shawnee, Lenni Lenape (Delaware), and Wyandot (as the Huron came to be known in the region), negotiated by George Croghan, a Pennsylvania trader. After land grants to the Ohio Company of Virginia in 1749, English adventurers, traders, and settlers began trickling into the Forks of the Ohio region, whereupon France reasserted its territorial claims.

A force of Ottawa and Chippewa (Ojibway) warriors under the French trader Charles Langlade moved against the Ohio center of English trade, Pickawillany (near present-day Piqua, Ohio), in 1752; they killed the Miami chief Demoiselle and 13 of his warriors, plus a trader, capturing three other traders. Then the governor of New France, Marquis Duquesne, sent out a force of Frencmen and Indian auxiliaries to fortify the region. The expedition constructed a chain of posts from Lake Erie to the Forks of the Ohio, including Presqu'Isle (Erie, Pa.), Fort Le Boeuf (Waterford), and Fort Venango (Venango). At this show of power, Indian nations began returning to the French fold despite the trade advantages the English offered (less expensive and better-quality goods). Among the pro-French Indians in the region for the time being were members of the Ottawa, Algonkin, Wyandot, Chippewa, Potawatomi, Sac, Shawnee, and Seneca tribes. And the Lenni lenape, who had lost their lands in the east to earlier English expansion and Iroquois aggression, and who now feared the same in the Ohio Valley, likewise offered their backing to the French. With their smaller colonial population, the French were considered less of a threat to Indian land tenure than the British.

In the fall of 1753, Governor Robert Dinwiddie of Virginia ordered out a force of militiamen, under a 21 year-old major by the name of George Washington, to inform the French garrison at Fort Le Boeuf that their post was situated on English soil. The French, however, refused to leave. The following spring, Governor Dinwiddie sent in a party of woodsmen to build a fort at a junction of the Ohio, Allegheny, and Monongahela Rivers (the Forks of the Ohio), as well a second detachment of reinforcements, again under Washington. Dinwiddie tried to enlist Cherokee, Chicakasaw, and Catawba warriors for the expedition but, because of a dispute with fellow colony South Carolina over trade relations with the southern Indians, he failed to do so. Washington, however, managed to secure help of Half-King and other Mingo (a band of Iroquois) at Great Meadows.

The dispute erupted into violence in the Battle of Jumonville Glen in May 1754, during which Virginia militiamen under the command of George Washington ambushed a French patrol. On learning that a French patrol was nearby in the Allegheny Mountains, Washington took the offensive with a detachment of 40 provincials plus 12 Mingo; they killed 10 Frenchmen, including a French ambassador, and captured 20 others. The French later charged that their patrol had been on a peace mission; Washington claimed, however, that the French had indicated hostile intent. In any case, with this minor frontier incident, a world war had begun. In response to Washington's action, the French ousted Dinwiddie's building party from the Forks of the Ohio site; renamed the new post there Fort Duquesne (later Fort Pitt, then Pittsburgh); and, using it as a base of operations, launched an army of 900, including some Lenni Lenape, Ottawa, Wyandot, Algonkin, Chippewa, Abenaki, and missionized Iroquois, under Major Coulon de Villiers.

Meanwhile, Washington's men had retreated to Great Meadows, where they constructed Fort Necessity. The French force attacked during a rainstorm that rendered the English swivel guns useless, and Fort Necessity capitulated. The French allowed Washington and his men, many of of them sick and wounded, to march out of the Ohio Valley and back to Virginia. The French, for the time being, had control of the region.

The war was fought primarily along the frontiers separating New France from the British colonies from Virginia to Nova Scotia, and began with a dispute over the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers, the site of present-day Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The English recognized the importance of the Iroquois tribes to military success in the north. William Johnson, the New York trader and land speculator who had built Fort Johnson among the Mohawk, kept up his efforts to enlist Iroquois support. Trusted by the Indians because of his participation in their ceremonies, his ties to them through Indian women, and his more-than-fair trade practices, he made some headway despite their misgivings about being drawn into another colonial conflict. Johnson won over Hendrick (one of the Mohawk who had traveled in 1710 to meet Queen Anne and whose daughter was one of Johnson's mistresses).

British operations in 1755, 1756 and 1757 in the frontier areas of Pennsylvania and New York all failed, due to a combination of poor management, internal divisions, and effective French and Indian offense. The 1755 capture of Fort Beauséjour on the border separating Nova Scotia from Acadia was followed by a British policy of deportation of its French inhabitants, to which there was some resistance.

After the disastrous 1757 British campaigns (resulting in a failed expedition against Louisbourg and the Siege of Fort William Henry, which was followed by significant atrocities on British victims by Indians), the British government fell, and William Pitt came to power. Pitt significantly increased British military resources in the colonies, while France was unwilling to risk large convoys to aid the limited forces it had in New France, preferring instead to concentrate its forces against Prussia and its allies in the European theatre of the war. Between 1758 and 1760, the British military successfully penetrated the heartland of New France, with Montreal finally falling in September 1760.

Fort Ticonderoga was built between 1755 and 1758 by the French. It was originally known as Fort Carillon. Attacked in 1758, by British forces under Maj. Gen. James Abercrombie, the fort was successfully defended by the Marquis de Montcalm. A second assault the following year, this time led by Gen. Jeffrey Amherst, managed to take the fort and it passed into British hands. Though viewed as a stronghold, it became a quiet backwater as the fighting moved north.

The outcome was one of the most significant developments in a century of Anglo-French conflict. France ceded French Louisiana west of the Mississippi River to its ally Spain in compensation for Spain's loss to Britain of Florida (which Spain had given to Britain in exchange for the return of Havana, Cuba). France's colonial presence north of the Caribbean was reduced to the islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, confirming Britain's position as the dominant colonial power in the eastern half of North America.

Origin of the name

The conflict is known by several names. In British America, wars were often named after the sitting British monarch, such as King William's War or Queen Anne's War. Because there had already been a King George's War in the 1740s, British colonists named the second war in King George's reign after their opponents, and thus it became known as the French and Indian War. This traditional name remains standard in the United States, although it obscures the fact that American Indians fought on both sides of the conflict. American historians generally use the traditional name or the European title (the Seven Years' War). Other, less frequently used names for the war include the Fourth Intercolonial War and the Great War for the Empire.

Basic information

Date: 1754–1763

Location: North America

Result: British Victory Treaty of Paris

Territorial changes: France cedes Canada to Great Britain, retaining Saint Pierre et Miquelon, and transfers Louisiana to Spain; Spain cedes Florida to Great Britain


  • France
  • New France
  • Abenaki
  • Algonquin/Algonkin
  • Caughnawaga Mohawk
  • Lenni Lenape (Delawares),
  • Mi'kmaq/Micmac
  • Chippewa (Ojibway)
  • Ottawa/Ottawas - Chief Pontiac, an Ottawa leader who became famous for his role in Pontiac's Rebellion (1763–1766), an American Indian struggle against the British military occupation of the Great Lakes region following the British victory in the French and Indian War. Historians disagree about Pontiac's importance in the war that bears his name. Nineteenth century accounts portrayed him as the mastermind and leader of the revolt, while some subsequent interpretations have depicted him as a local leader with limited overall influence.
  • Shawnee/Shawnese
  • Wyandot/Wyandoes (as the Huron came to be known in the region)
  • Potawatomi
  • Sac
  • Mingo/Mingoes (a band of Iroquois) - Half-King, an American Indian leader who played a pivotal role in the beginning of the French and Indian War. He was known to European-Americans as the Half King, a title also used to describe several other historically important American Indian leaders. His name has been spelled in a variety of ways.
  • Mohikons
  • Miamies - Chief Demoiselle, known by the British as "Old Briton" and by the French as "La Demoiselle", was an eighteenth-century Piankashaw chieftain who fought against the French in 1747.
  • Missionized Iroquois
  • Seneca (before the war)


  • Great Britain
  • British America
  • Iroquois Confederacy (Haudenosaunee)
  • Onondaga
  • Oneida
  • Seneca
  • Tuscarora
  • Mohawk - Chief Hendrick (one of the Mohawk who had traveled in 1710 to meet Queen Anne and whose daughter was one of William Johnson's mistresses).
  • Cayuga
  • Catawba
  • Cherokee (before 1758)

Commanders and leaders

French & Indian War's Photos

French and Colonials

  • Charles Langlade - A Great Lakes fur trader of French Canadian and Ottawa heritage. His father was Augustin Langlade; his mother, Domitilde, was a sister of Ottawa war chief Nissowaquet. As a child, Langlade was educated by Jesuit missionaries. Métis chieftain attacked Pickawillany in June 1752 and, with a force consisting of around 240 Ottawa and Ojibwa, eventually captured Memeskia and ritually cannibalized him. Langlade's raid on Pickawillany, which drove British traders out of the Ohio Country, was one of the events leading up to the French and Indian War.
  • Marquis Duquesne - French Governor General of New France. He was born in Toulon.
  • Major Louis Coulon de Villiers - a French Canadian military officer during the French and Indian War (Seven Years' War). Perhaps his greatest claim to fame is the fact that he is the only military opponent to force George Washington to surrender. Coulon was born into a prominent French Canadian family.
  • Louis-Joseph de Montcalm † - Beginning in 1756, Montcalm took over as commander-in-chief of the French forces in North America. He was a much-feared and respected general who lost his life at the Battle of Quebec.
  • Marquis de Vaudreuil - In 1755, he became the governor of Canada, replacing the Marquis Duquesne.
  • François-Marie de Lignery
  • Chevalier de Lévis (POW)
  • Joseph de Jumonville

British and colonials

  • George Croghan - An Irish-born Pennsylvania fur trader, Onondaga Council sachem, land speculator, British Indian agent in colonial America and, until accused of treason in 1777, Pittsburgh's president judge and Committee of Safety Chairman keeping the Ohio Indians neutral. For fifteen years Deputy Indian agent under the "Mohawk Baron", Sir William Johnson.
  • Earl of Loudoun - Appointed commander-in-chief of the British forces in 1756, Loudoun presided over, and caused, many devastating failures for the British.
  • Lieutenant Governor Robert Dinwiddie - The colonial leader of Virginia in 1754, Dinwiddie was concerned about French encroachment on the Virginia border. In late 1753, he sends a 21-year-old major in the Virginia military named George Washington to tell the French to back away from the border.
  • William Johnson - Johnson began his career as the Indian agent for the colony of New York. During this period he was one of the most successful negotiators with many Indian nations, especially the Iroquois. During the war he became a war hero as well, leading the British to victory at the Battle of Lake George in 1755.
  • Lieutenant Colonel George Munro - In history, Munro met defeat as the leader of Fort William Henry in 1757. In literary history, he is a central figure in James Fenimore Cooper's classic The Last of the Mohicans.
  • Jeffrey Amherst
  • Major General Edward Braddock † - The first general to arrive from Britain. He was killed in 1755 at the first battle for Fort Duquesne.
  • James Wolfe † - Major British general who led the British to victory in the Battle of Quebec.
  • James Abercrombie
  • Edward Boscawen
  • George Washington - Washington began his career as a brash and careless diplomat and military leader. After being asked to resign after the Fort Necessity fiasco, he returns as a volunteer under British authority. The French and Indian War is where Washington learned how to be a leader.
  • Colonel Henry Bouquet - was a prominent British Army officer in the French and Indian War and Pontiac's War. Bouquet is best known for his victory over Native Americans (American Indians) at the Battle of Bushy Run, lifting the siege of Fort Pitt during Pontiac's War.
  • William Pitt - Pitt assumed leadership of the British ministry in December 1756. His aggressive new policies for the war were a crucial part of turning the tide in Britain's favor in the latter half of the war.
  • Captain Robert Rogers - Leader of the Rangers, a rough-and-tumble force of men from New Hampshire. Operated as spies and participated in guerrilla warfare against the French to great success throughout the war.

Timeline for the war

  • March 15, 1744-October 18, 1748: King George's War: The warm-up to the French and Indain War between France and England, also fought for domination over North America. Ends with the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle and no clear victor.
  • 1752-1753: Agitation grows Tension grows between France and England over competing land and trading claims. Minor skirmishes break out, particularly in rural areas.
  • November-December 1753: The message: George Washington carries Virginia's ultimatum over French encroachment to Captain Legardeur de Saint-Pierre at Riviere aux Boeufs. He rejects it.
  • May 28, 1754: The first battle: Washington defeats the French in a surprise attack. His troops retreat to Great Meadows and build Fort Necessity.
  • July 3, 1754: The French take Fort Necessity
  • July 17, 1754: Washington's resignation: Blamed for Fort Necessity, Washington resigns. He will later return as a volunteer under British authority.
  • June 17, 1755: The British seize Acadia (Nova Scotia)
  • July 9, 1755: The Battle of the Wilderness: British Colonel William Johnson's forces win, making Johnson the first British hero of the war.
  • May 8-9, 1756: Declarations of War: Great Britain declares war on France. France declares war on Great Britain.
  • August 14, 1756: Fort Oswego: The French capture this fort on the banks of the Great Lakes.
  • August 8, 1757: Fort William Henry: The commander-in-chief of the French forces, Louis-Joseph de Montcalm takes Fort William Henry. The infamous massacre occurs, later dramatized in James Fenimore Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans.
  • July 8, 1758: The French take Fort Ticonderoga
  • July 26, 1758: Louisbourg: The British seize Louisbourg, opening the route to Canada.
  • August 27, 1758: Fort Frontenac: The French surrender this fort on Lake Ontario, effectively destroying their ability to communicate with their troops in the Ohio Valley.
  • October 21, 1758: British/Indian Peace: The British make peace with the Iroquois, Shawnee, and Delaware Indians.
  • November 26, 1758: The British recapture Fort Duquesne It is renamed "Pittsburgh."
  • May 1, 1759: The British capture the French island of Guadeloupe in the Caribbean
  • June 19 to July 11, 1759 - The Albany (NY) Convention/Congress/Conference: The meeting of six colonial governors and six Indian "national presidents" of the Iroquois Confederation (Iroquoian nation-states, including Seneca, Cayuga, Oneida, Onandaga, Mohawk, and Tuscarora who "re-joined" them after 1712). Benjamin Franklin was one of the organizers of this meeting. (The Cherokee and Tuscarora considered themselves to be in amity with the U.S. later).
  • June 26, 1759: The British take Fort Ticonderoga
  • July 25, 1759: A Slow Route to Victory: The British take Fort Niagara; the French abandon Crown Point. After these two victories, the British control the entire western frontier.
  • September 13, 1759: Quebec: The British win the decisive Battle of Quebec. Montcalm and Wolfe, the commanding generals of both armies, perish in battle.
  • May 16, 1760: French Siege of Quebec fails
  • September 8, 1760: Montreal: Montreal falls to the British; letters are signed finishing the surrender of Canada.
  • (circa) September 15, 1760: The functional end of the war: The British flag is raised over Detroit, effectively ending the war.
  • 1761: The British make peace with the Cherokee Indians
  • September 18, 1762: French attempt to retake Newfoundland fails
  • February 10, 1763: Treaty of Paris: All French possessions east of the Mississippi, except New Orleans, are given to the British. All French possessions west of the Mississippi are given to the Spanish. France regains Martinique, Guadeloupe and St. Lucia.
  • April 27, 1763: Indian Wars: Pontiac, the Ottowa Chief, proposes a coalition of Ottowas, Potawatomies and Hurons for the purpose of attacking Detroit.
  • May 9, 1763: Battle of Detroit: Pontiac's forces lay siege to Detroit. That summer, his allies destroy forts at Venango, Le Boeuf and Presque Isle.
  • July 1763: Smallpox: Men of the garrison at Fort Pitt infect besieging chiefs with blankets from the smallpox hospital. Soon faced with an epidemic, the Indians retreat.
  • October 31, 1763: Pontiac capitulates at Detroit Indian power in the Ohio Valley is broken.



Forts and Places

  • Fort George/Fort Duquesne/Fort Pitt - This centrally located fort in what is now Pittsburgh, PA changed hands many times during the war. It was the site of England's first disastrous battle, in which Braddock lost his life.
  • Fort Necessity - This hastily constructed fort in Great Meadows, PA was the site of George Washington's first defeat in 1754. Later in American history, it oddly came to symbolize the rugged spirit of the colonials.
  • Fort William Henry - Site of the most notorious massacre in colonial history, this fort located near the Hudson River fell to the French in 1757.
  • Louisbourg - An important city on the east coast of Canada (in present-day Nova Scotia). It was a French stronghold of arms and supplies.
  • Ticonderoga - A major French fort and city north of Albany. The British failed repeatedly to seize it; they finally succeeded in 1759.

American Indian history

Settler / Native Conflicts / History

After the War

  • The War That Made America
  • Unlocking the secrets of the French and Indian War
  • FORGOTTEN WAR: Struggle for North America, tells the little-known story of how the native people of North America controlled the outcome of this war that defined our history as a nation and a people. This one-hour special taps an international panel of experts to dig beneath the familiar history, and shed new light on the multi-cultural blend of natives, Europeans, and Africans that was the North America of the 1750’s.
  • Original Images of the French & Indian War 1754-63 (Maps)
  • The French and Indian War
  • French and Indian War
  • American Revolution: Fort Ticonderoga Falls
  • Proclamation of 1763
  • The French and Indian War (1754-1763)
  • The Seven Years War of 1756-1763
  • A General Topography of North America and the West Indies (1768). London: R. Sayer & T. Jefferys.
  • Anderson, Fred (2000). Crucible of War: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766. New York: Knopf. ISBN 0375406425.
  • Anderson, Fred (2005). The War that Made America: A Short History of the French and Indian War. New York: Viking. ISBN 0670034541. - Released in conjunction with the 2006 PBS miniseries The War that Made America.
  • Brumwell, Stephen (2006). Redcoats: The British Soldier and War in the Americas, 1755-1763. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521675383.
  • Calloway, Colin G (2006). The Scratch of a Pen: 1763 and the Transformation of North America. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195300710.
  • Cave, Alfred A. (2004). The French and Indian War. Westport, Connecticut - London: Greenwood Press. ISBN 031332168X.
  • Fowler, William M. (2005). Empires at War: The French and Indian War and the Struggle for North America, 1754-1763. New York: Walker. ISBN 0802714110.
  • Jennings, Francis (1988). Empire of Fortune: Crowns, Colonies, and Tribes in the Seven Years' War in America. New York: Norton. ISBN 0393306402.
  • Nester, William R (2000). The first global war: Britain, France, and the fate of North America, 1756–1775. Westport, CT: Praeger. ISBN 9780275967710. OCLC 41468552.
  • Seymour I. Schwartz (1999). The French and Indian War. 1754-1763. The Imperial Struggle for North America. Edison, NJ. Cloth.
  • Waldman, Carl (2000, 1985). Atlas of the North American Indian, Revised Edition. New York: Checkmark Books, An Imprint of Facts On File, Inc.