For the English colonies, the French and Spanish colonies were an hindrance to westward expansion, trade and cooperation with Native Americans. They saw the French and Spanish as a potential military threat in the new world. The English, who where mainly protestant, thought of the French and Spanish colonies as a bastion of Roman Catholic Christianity, which bothered them greatly. In 1739, Great Britain declared war on Spain in what was known as the War of Jenkin’s Ear, which was fought mostly in the New World. Then this war merged into the much intenser and larger war of the Austrian Succession, which saw Great Britain and France as opponents. This war started in 1744 and lasted until 1748. The war had turned out to be a draw but intensified British and France rivalry, and both kingdoms increased its military and fortifications in the New World.
The population growth of the British continental colonies proved to be a source of tension. In 1700 the population was 250,000, it grew to 1.75 million in the 1760s. The colonists saw the colonies as a very dense populated area even though by today’s standards they are considered to but very low density areas. The colonist decided to push west into the Appalachian Mountains and beyond. They had started to creep into areas already claimed by France. The first people to start the march were fur traders and land speculators. The first people were getting rich because they would get land at a low cost on unsettled land and then would turn around and sell Kneibel 2
it as a high price to people that would arrive later on. One of these spectators would become very famous, George Washington of Virginia.
The English were moving into an area that was claimed by the people who had been there for hundreds of years, such as the Ottawa and Delaware in the Ohio Valley. These people had good relations with the French, who also had the region dotted with numerous forts. Other people that had occupied the land were the Iroquois confederation in New York, and the Cherokee in the colonies of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. It was impossible for there not to be warfare between the French and the Natives and the English. The English as they went westward began building outposts in the Ohio Valley. This was meant as a challenge to the French and its allies. They went along the eastern seaboard where the French had previously settled and gained control of the Canadas, the Great Lakes, the Ohio River and the Mississippi River valleys, all the way down to New Orleans. Neither the French or The Natives wanted the English to move in. By 1755 the French at Fort Duquesne beat General Edward Braddock’s British and American army.
The Albany Congress was a meeting of representatives of seven of the British North American colonies in 1754. Representatives met daily at Albany, New York from June 19 to July 11 to discuss better relations with the Indian tribes and common defensive measures against the French. The Congress produced Benjamin Franklin’s Albany Plan of Union, an early attempt to form a union of the colonies. The plan was passed by the congress but rejected by King George II. This plan would show up in the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution. This congress tried to make treaties with the tribes, which attended the meetings. The treaties failed with the natives because they were purposed just as the French and Indian War was getting going and the
Natives saw the English as the weaker of the two.
The rulers in London saw the war in the New World as a way to cripple the French and to promote their and their colonies’ interests. William Pitt put around 23,000 troops into the colonies to suppress the Indians and drive France off the continent. They had produced victories with the huge army at a considerable cost. After two victories the Iroquois sent an army to join the British attack on Fort Niagara on Lake Ontario. By this victory in 1759, the British cut...
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