I am Canadian- the British and French Conflicts

This is an attempt to simplify the study of the battles which occurred between the British and the French in the Canadian part of the new world. European history is so complicated and I get confused easily when trying to study it. I have tried to make this as simple as possible to give an idea of what happened over the mid 15th to 16th centuries. Here goes.

The Inter-colonial Wars,  otherwise known as the French and Indian Wars, took place between 1689 and 1763. They reflected colonial conflicts which were an extension of conflicts between European powers. Although Spain and the Netherlands were somewhat involved in these conflicts, the majority of the fighting was between the British and the French and their respective Indian allies. The source of the conflicts were for territories that could boost their shares in the fur trade. Prior to these French and Indian Wars, there were what is known as the Beaver Wars. These wars were also called the Iroquois Wars or the French Iroquois Wars. As the name indicates, the wars were about controlling the beaver trade. Initially this war was mostly fought amongst the First Nations tribes, but eventually France and England joined in to help themselves out to what they wanted of the beaver trade. The beaver were disappearing fast, and the Iroquois were very intent on taking control of as much of the beaver trade as they could.

From Wikipedia:

The North American wars, and their associated European wars, in sequence, are:

Years of War North American War European War Treaty
1688–1697 King William’s War
1st Intercolonial War (in Quebec)
War of the Grand Alliance
War of the League of Augsburg
Nine Years’ War
Treaty of Ryswick (1697)
1702–1713 Queen Anne’s War
2nd Intercolonial War
War of the Spanish Succession Treaty of Utrecht (1713)
1744–1748 King George’s War
3rd Intercolonial War
War of Jenkins’ Ear
War of the Austrian Succession Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (1748)
1754–1763 The French and Indian War
4th Intercolonial War
6th Indian War[1]
Seven Years’ War Treaty of Paris (1763)


Imperial Wars timeline
Imperial Wars timeline

As can be seen from the above charts, there are two names for each war, one an American name and the other a European name.

A brief summary of each war:

King Williams War or the Second Indian War or First Inter-colonial War (1668-1697) – part of the larger European Nine Years War or Grand Alliance War

Count Frontenac receiving the envoy of Sir Williams Phipps demanding surrender of Quebec 1690
Count Frontenac receiving the envoy of Sir Williams Phipps demanding surrender of Quebec 1690
King Williams War Campaigns

The Treaty of Ryswick, which ended King Williams War, didn’t last very long. Five years later the Queen Anne’s war beagan.

Queen Anne’s War or War of the Spanish Succession or Second Inter-colonial War or Third Indian War (1702-1713)

European occupation of North America before 1702
European occupation of North America before 1702
North America after Queen Annes War
North America after Queen Annes War
Queen Anne 1702
Queen Anne 1702

This war ended with the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. This treaty was much more significant for the French as they ceded their claims to Newfoundland, the Hudson’s Bay Company territories in Rupert’s Land, and the Acadian colony of Nova Scotia,

Here’s another perspective on how things looked before the Treaty of Utrecht took place.

New France - the extent of French domination in 1713.
New France – the extent of French domination in 1713.

 King George’s War or Third Inter-Colonial war or Austrian Succession War, or Third French Indian War (1744-1748)

Acadia 1743 just before King George's War
Acadia 1743 just before King George’s War
British forces landing at Louisbourg in 1745
British forces landing at Louisbourg in 1745

This war was mainly fought over Acadian territory. Britain captured Louisbourg, but later returned it to the French after the Treaty of Aix-la-Chappelle in 1748.

 The French Indian War or Fourth Inter-colonial War or Seven Years War, or Sixth Indian War (1754-1763)

The French and Indian war
The French and Indian war (1754-1763)

The most famous battle to take place in Canada during this war was on the Plains of Abraham  located in present day Quebec City. This battle was  pivotal in the larger Seven Years War also referred to as the French and Indian wars. However, the Seven Years War refers to the whole battle that European powers (mainly Britain and France) were engaged in to win territories all over the world, namely,  North America, Central America, the West African coast, India, and the Philippines. The war took place  between 1754 and 1763.

the Battle on the Plains of Abraham: the death of General Wolfe painted by Benjamin West
Plains of Abraham
Plains of Abraham

This battle was fought by British and French armies and the British soundly won. The Treaty of Paris signed in 1763 was the end of the Seven Years War. Four countries signed the treaty: Britain, France, Spain and Portugal. What this treaty meant for North America was that France ceded their lands to Britain: Canada and the eastern half of French Louisiana which is on the east side of the Mississippi to the Appalachian mountains. Spain also ceded Florida to Britain. France had already given Louisiana over to the Spanish. France maintained fishing rights off Newfoundland and the two small islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon where they could dry their fish. Britain gave France in exchange for Canada, the island of Guadaloupe where they had a sugar colony. France didn’t think the North American land would amount to much, so they gave it up for the small Caribbean island.

Although they were allowed to leave Canada, many french people stayed after Britain took control. The British allowed French law to continue to operate under British authority. This continues to present day. During the war there was an expulsion of the french from the Maritime provinces, Acadia. The British forced them to leave between 1755-1764 and they put them into the thirteen colonies. About 11,500 were ex-pulsed. Some of these people fled to Louisiana. Later the British let the French return, but refused them to go to Nova Scotia. They had to go to mainland New Brunswick which remains a bilingual province. From 1763-1791 most of New France became the Province of Quebec.

North America 1762-1783
North America 1762-1783

After the American Revolution many British Loyalists went up into Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Quebec. Once the Consitutional Act of 1791 came into effect the Province of Quebec was split in two making Upper Canada and Lower Canada. The names upper and lower were given according to their positions on the St. Lawrence river. Upper Canada received English law and governance whereas Lower Canada was under French civil law.

Upper and Lower Canada 1791
Upper and Lower Canada 1791

Also subsequent to the War of 1812 the 49th parallel was established as the border between the states and Canada from the great lakes to the Rocky Mountains.

Well, that concludes my race through the inter-colonial wars. I hope you found it informative. I certainly learned a lot.









6 thoughts on “I am Canadian- the British and French Conflicts

    1. Sure. I try to picture what it really looked like living through those times. I’m a lover of maps too. Tough to get a picture if you don’t even know where something took place.

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