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colonial war

1689 - 1763


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In North America, there were four major inter-colonial wars between France and England (then Great Britain) between 1689 and 1763. These four conflicts took place in America as a consequence of European wars. Although some of these wars also involve Spain and the Netherlands, in every war there is on one side France, its empire of New France, and its Amerindian allies against England, its Thirteen Colonies , and his own Amerindian allies.

In the United States, wars are called the French and Indian Wars, a name that fails to describe the other part of the belligerents namely the British and their allies.

The four wars, and their associated European wars, are:


Duration of the conflict North American War European war Treaty
1689 - 1697

First intercolonial war

(See the page on the Franco-Iroquois war)

War of the Augsburg League Treaty of Ryswick
1702 - 1713

Second intercolonial war

War of Succession of Spain Treaties of Utrecht
1744 - 1748

Third intercolonial war

War of Succession of Austria Treaty of Aachen
1754 - 1763

Fourth intercolonial war

(See page on the 7 years war)

Seven Years War Treaty of Paris


First intercolonial war

The first intercolonial war (1688-1697), called by English historiography "King William's War, Second Indian War, Father Baudoin 's War, Castin' s War", connected in Europe with the war of the League of Augsburg, is a conflict who has different issues in America. Here, clashes occur for the control of the Gulf of St. Lawrence fishery and the fur of the Great Lakes and Hudson Bay. It is the first of the colonial wars between the French settlers of New France and the English settlers of New England, an almost uninterrupted series of conflicts that will end with the definitive defeat of the first ones at the end of the war of the Conquest in 1763.


Second intercolonial war

The Second Intercolonial War (or Queen Anne's War in British Historiography) refers to the American Theater of the War of the Spanish Succession between 1702 and 1713. This conflict is the second of the intercolonial wars that pitted the French and English colonies in America. North for control of the continent. The Amerindian allies of the European powers were also involved in the fighting, as was Spain, then allied with France.

The war unfolded on three fronts:

1.The Spanish Florida and the English Province of Carolina were each subject to attack by both sides. The English hired the Mobile-based French in what was more like a proxy war with the support of the Native American tribes. This theater of operations did not entail major territorial changes, but eliminated almost all the American Indian populations of Florida, as well as the Spanish network of missions in the zone.

2.The English colonies of New England clashed with French and Amerindian forces based in Acadia and Canada. The city of Quebec was attacked several times - but never fell - by British expeditions. The capital of Acadia, Port Royal, was taken in 1710. The French and their Native American allies led raids against targets in the Massachusetts Bay Province, including the famous Deerfield raid in 1704.

3.On Newfoundland, English settlers based in Saint John west of the island fought for control of the island with the French settlers in Plaisance, to the east. Most military operations were reduced to raids of destruction of the economic tools of the adversary. The French captured St. John's in 1709 but the British quickly reoccupied it after the French had abandoned it.

Following a provisional peace in 1712, the Treaty of Utrecht put an end to the conflict in 1713. France abandoned its claims on Acadia, Hudson's Bay and Newfoundland for the benefit of England but retained Cape Breton Island and some islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Some terms of the treaty were ambiguous and the claims of many Amerindian tribes were not included in the treaty, which foreshadowed future conflicts.

Amerindian allies for the Kingdom of France:


Amerindian Allies for the Kingdom of Great Britain:



North America in 1702 then in 1713



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The third American inter-colonial war, in English King George's War, took place from 1744 to 1748 between the French and English provinces of Canada. This is an episode of the War of Austrian Succession (1740-1748). 
In America, rivalry is still rife between the English colonies and the French colony. During the thirty years of peace (1714-1744) that followed the second intercolonial war (1702-1713), France and England worked to strengthen their positions by multiplying forts and fortresses on their territory. The French erected the Fortress of Louisbourg on Isle Royale (Cape Breton Island) to ensure a French presence in Acadia.

Fur and fishing are still issues of the conflict, but a new one has been added: the territory west of the Appalachians, the Ohio Valley. The English colonies of the Atlantic coast consider this space as a natural extension of their territory while the French do not want to sacrifice the route by which they pass to go to distant Louisiana, their possession of the Gulf of Mexico. 
New France does not have the means to launch large-scale attacks, and is content with small attacks on villages in New England. For their part, the inhabitants of Boston absolutely want to get rid of the embarrassing presence of Louisbourg and they organize, in 1745 the seat of the fortress which must surrender after a little over 40 days, to the great amazement of the French who had yet described as impregnable.

France tries to regain its stronghold in 1746 but it is a complete failure. However, she made a splash in India by seizing Madras, an important spice counter for England.

When the war ended in 1748 with the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, deciding to return to the situation before the war, France exchanged with England Madras against Louisbourg. Louisbourg continues to ensure a French presence in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.



There may be precise information on the number of Amerindians engaged during the Colonial Wars, but we know that the control of Great Britain on the seas allowed him to send troops and equipment in much larger quantities. than France. Thus, more than 20,000 men (out of 140,000) served in North America, not to mention the equally numerous colonial forces, 12,000 regular soldiers and 21,000 provincials. France had only 6,800 regular soldiers and about 15,000 Canadian militiamen in Canada, and counted on the support of her Amerindian allies; In Louisbourg, the British forces could bring 28,000 men against 6,000 in the French (aided by 500 Indians). The game was necessarily uneven.

It is also known that in 1755, 250 Canadian militiamen and 600 Amerindians succeeded in defeating Edward Braddock's 1500-strong British army.