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A description of the series of wars over the control of the north american continent

The French and Indian Warwhich took place between 1754-1763, began due to a conflict between England and France over control of the Ohio River Valley. Both sides wanted the valley so they could expand their settlements into the area.

The bigger issue looming over this conflict though was control of the North American continent, according to the book Empires At War: This was hardly the first time the French and English had grappled.

Ancient enmities going back at least to 1066 had often driven these two nations to conflict, but this time the struggle was not about the usual familial claims to thrones or who should control some petty duchy or principality or even who would dominate the continent of Europe.

It was a competition to determine who would dominate the other continents of the world. France considered it a part of New France and Britain considered it a part of Virginia. Pennsylvania Trail of History Guide: The French recognized the strategic importance of the valley as a link in their far-flung empire, which stretched from New France, in Canada, to Louisiana, along the Mississippi River.

A series of events happened that led to the start of the French and Indian war. The first major event was when Virginia Governor Robert Dinwiddie sent 21-year-old Major George Washington to deliver a message to Fort LeBoeuf, which was located at what is now modern day Waterford, Pennsylvania, that the fort was on British land and the French should immediately leave the Ohio River Valley. Washington arrived at the fort on December 11, 1753, in the middle of a raging snowstorm, and delivered the ultimatum to the commander of the fort, Captain Jacques Legardeur de Saint-Pierre.

Before Washington reached the fort though it had already been overtaken by French forces who renamed it Fort Duquesne. Washington decided to move his troops to the nearby fortified storehouse at Red Stone Creek and wait for reinforcements before attempting to take Fort Duquesne back from the French. While marching to Red Stone Creek, Washington and his troops camped at a place called Great Meadows, at what is now Farmington, Pennsylvania, and decided to build a small way station there complete with a storehouse.

Battle of Jumonville Glen: To prevent this, on May 28, Washington and his men, with some help from their Indian allies, the Iroquois, located and ambushed Jumonville and his scouting party at their camp. Washington later reported that the Indians, without orders, had scalped and killed the wounded French soldiers. Whatever the truth, Washington appears not as a leader in control of his forces, but as one who allowed control to slip away — if he ever really had it. On June 3, Washington and his men completed building a fort at Great Meadows to defend themselves against French soldiers enraged by the murder of Jumonville.

Effects Of The War

During the month of June, Washington received reinforcements, boosting the number of his troops to 400, and worked on widening the road to Red Stone Creek while continuing to use Fort Necessity as his base camp. Toward the end of June, Washington learned a large force of French and Indian soldiers from Fort Duquesne were heading their way. On the morning of July 3, 600 French soldiers and 100 Indians approached and began attacking the fort.

Fort Necessity took heavy casualties and Washington lost about one third of his men. After negotiating for several hours, Van Braam was handed a document outlining the terms of surrender, which he delivered to Washington. Washington later denied this assassination charge and explained that Van Braam told him the document only said the British were responsible for the death of Jumonville.

When the Battle of Fort Necessity was officially over, the British were allowed to withdraw their troops, retain their weapons except for their swivel cannons. The British left the fort for Willis Creek on July 4. The events of the war, as well as the debt that the British government incurred during the war, later paved the way for the American Revolution.

To learn more about the French and Indian War, check out this article on the best books about the French and Indian Wa r. Pennsylvania Trail of History Guide. The French and Indian War Timeline. Why George Washington Remembered July 3rd. Rebecca is a freelance writer and history lover who got her start in journalism working for small-town newspapers in Massachusetts and New Hampshire after she graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B. Visit this site's About page to find out more about Rebecca.