France Finds a Foothold in Canada
In 1598, the Edict of Nantes was issued by the crown of France. It granted limited religious freedom to French Protestants, and stopped religious wars between the Protestants and Catholics.
In 1608, France established Quebec. (Catholic) The leading figure was Samuel de Champlain, an intrepid soldier and explorer whose energy and leadership earned him the title "Father of New France".
The government of New France (Canada) was under direct control of the king. The people did not elect any representative assemblies.
New France Sets Out
New France contained one valuable resource - beaver.
French Catholic missionaries, notably the Jesuits, labored with much enthusiasm to convert the Indians to Christianity and to save them from the fur trappers.
Antoine Cadillac- founded Detroit in 1701 to thwart English settlers pushing into the Ohio Valley.
Robert de La Salle- explored the Mississippi and Gulf basin, naming it Louisiana.
In order to block the Spanish on the Gulf of Mexico, the French planted several fortified posts in Mississippi and Louisiana. The French founded New Orleans in 1718.
Illinois became France's garden empire of North America because much grain was produced there.
The Clash of Empires
The earliest battles among European power for control of North America, known to British colonists as King William's War (1689-1697) and Queen Anne's War (1702-1713). Most of the battles were between the British colonists, the French, and the French ally Spain.
The wars ended in 1713 with peace terms signed at Utrecht. France and Spain were terribly beaten and Britain received French-populated Acadia and Newfoundland and the Hudson Bay. The British also won limited trading rights in Spanish America.
The War of Jenkins's Ear started in 1739 between the British and Spaniards. This small battle became a war and became known as King Georges's War in America. It ended in 1748 with a treaty that handed Louisbourg back to France, enraging the victorious New Englanders.
George Washington Inaugurates War with France
In 1754, George Washington was sent to Ohio Country to secure the land of the Virginians who had secured legal rights to 500,000 acres. His 150 Virginia militia killed the French leader, causing French reinforcements to come. The Virginians were forced to surrender on July 4, 1754.
In 1755, the British uprooted the French Acadians fearing a stab in the back, and scattered them as far as Louisiana.
Global War and Colonial Disunity
The French and Indian War (Seven Years' War) started in 1754. It was fought in America, Europe, the West Indies, the Philippines, Africa, and on the ocean.
In Europe, the principal adversaries were Britain and Prussia on one side and France, Spain, Austria, and Russia on the other. The French wasted so many troops in Europe that they were unable to put enough forces into America.
The Albany Congress met in 1754. Only 7 of 13 colony delegates showed up. It attempted to unite all of the colonies but the plan was hated by individual colonists and the London regime.
Braddock's Blundering and Its Aftermath
General Braddock set out in 1755 with 2,000 men to capture Fort Duquesne. His force was slaughtered by the much smaller French and Indian army. (Braddock's Blunder) Due to this loss of troops, the whole frontier from Pennsylvania to North Carolina was left open to attack. George Washington, with only 300 men, tried to defend the area.
In 1756, the British launched a full-scale invasion of Canada.
Pitt's Palms of Victory
In 1757, William Pitt became the foremost leader in the London government. He was known as the "Great Commoner." He attacked and captured Louisbourg in 1758.
To lead the attack in the Battle of Quebec in 1759, Pitt chose James Wolfe. The two opposing armies faced each other on the Plains of Abraham, the British under Wolfe and the French under Marquis de Montcalm.
Montreal fell in 1760. The Treaty of Paris (1763) ended the battle and threw the French power off the continent of North America.
Intercolonial disunity had been caused by enormous distances; geographical barriers; conflicting religions, from Catholics to Quakers; varied nationalities, from German to Irish; differing types of colonial governments; many boundary disputes; and the resentment of the crude back-country settlers against the aristocrats.
Americans: A People of Destiny
In 1763, Ottawa chief, Pontiac, led several tribes, aided by a handful of French traders who remained in the region, in a violent campaign to drive the British out of the Ohio country. His warriors captured Detroit in the spring of that year and overran all but 3 British outposts west of the Appalachians.
The British countered these attacks and eventually defeated the Indians.
London government issued the Proclamation of 1763. It prohibited settlement in the area beyond the Appalachians. (The Appalachian land was acquired after the British beat the Indians). It was made to prevent another bloody eruption between the settlers and Indians. Many colonists disregarded it.