The Seven Years War: 1755 - 1762

The Seven Years War: 1755 - 1762
England Defeats France But Is Left with a Huge Debt After the War
ne of the most important wars in the history of the
world was the Seven Years War. This war featured
intense fighting between the French and English for control
of North America. Because many Native American tribes
allied themselves with armies on both sides, this conflict is
sometimes called the French and Indian War. At the end of
this war, England had soundly defeated the French forces
and gained control of all land east of the Mississippi
When the Seven Years War began, France’s North
American empire stretched along the Mississippi River and
into Canada (for details, see map below). England had
established thirteen colonies along the Atlantic coast. As
more and more English colonists arrived, the pressure to
In one of the first battles of the
expand British territory into western lands increased.
Seven Years War, a young George
Washington and his English troops
Standing in the way were the French and their Indian allies.
were defeated at Fort Necessity.
The first battle between the French and the English
took place in the summer of 1754 at Fort Necessity in the Ohio Valley. Led by 21-yearold George Washington, the English forces were soundly defeated and forced to retreat.
This began a series of victories for France, who held the upper hand in the early stages
of the war.
In the years that
followed, however, the
English were able to take
advantage of their superior
numbers (there were ten
times more Englishmen than
Frenchmen in North
America) and they gradually
gained the upper hand. In
1757, British forces invaded
French strongholds in
Canada. After several
victories, the English army
captured the important city
of Quebec and France was While England established its thirteen colonies along the Atlantic Coast, France
outposts to the west and north. Fort Necessity (circled above), which
soon forced to leave Canada established
stood right on the border of French and English claims, would become the site of
the first true battle of the Seven Years War.
Image of George Washington courtesy Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia
The Seven Years War: 1755 - 1762
European Presence in
North America Before 1754
Before the Seven Years War the presence of the French in
North America posed a serious military threat to the 13
British colonies.
European Presence in
North America After 1763
After the Seven Years War the French fled from Canada
and the Ohio valley. The amount of land controlled by
England more than doubled.
England emerged from the Seven Years War victorious. In the process, they more
than doubled the size of their North American empire when they gained control of all the
land east of the Mississippi River with the signing of the Treaty of Paris (see maps
above). However, financing the war had left England with a very large debt. In order to
raise money to pay off this debt, the British government decided to tax the colonists.
Soon after the Seven Years War, Parliament established laws such as the Stamp
Act, the Townshend Acts and the Tea Act which were intended to help England raise
money from the thirteen colonies. To the English, it made perfect sense to have the
colonists help pay off their war debt since the British military had been fighting to
protect them from France in the first place. However, many colonists were angered that
they had not been consulted when these taxes were created. They protested the British
policy of “taxation without representation”. Disputes over these taxes led to
demonstrations and even violence against British officials in many colonial ports. In a
few short years, England and the colonists would go to war to settle their differences.
The Seven Years War: 1755 - 1762
NAME: ____________________________________________ DATE: ____________
DIRECTIONS: Use information from the reading to answer each of the following
questions in a complete sentence.
1. At the beginning of the Seven Years War, what parts of North America did France
control? What parts of North America did England control?
2. What was the first battle of the Seven Years War? Who led the English forces?
3. What were some positive results of the Seven Years War for the English?
4. What large problem did England face after the Seven Years War?
5. How did England try to raise money to pay off their debt after the Seven Years War?