When the British replaced the Dutch in Manhattan in 1613, tensions grew between them and the French due to trade rivalries. With French and Iroquois skirmishes occurring in the later phase of the beaver wars, the English backed a larger wave of Native American attacks on the French (“French and Indian Wars”). This stopped what would have been the first French invasion on the English in the Champlain valley preeminently. The French responded a few minor attacks but the mini “King William’s War” was over quickly. There was never any direct fighting between the two European sides but the indirect aggression escalated the conflict between the two rival nations. As the European powers developed in this region, conflicts developed on a larger, national scale and the motives for warfare became political rather than economic.
The British had spread throughout the coastal region and were headed west (Jenkins, 74). The French had taken a different strategy; they occupied much of the northern US and Canada region (Jenkins, 74). Their chains of forts were sparsely spread through the great lakes region, but their presence was significant. The clashing of the French and British looking to spread west came about in the Ohio region, where the war ultimately started. The Native Americans were present throughout the conflicted land, but still provided a significant force (“History of Lake Champlain”). With more defined positions in America, the warfare took a more formal shape. The guerilla, brutal fashion of the past was over as more advanced European style fighting spread into the inner Americas (Schneider, 60).
Conflict across the seas furthermore developed the conflict in the Americas. French and British trade disagreements and complex ally disputes brought about skirmishes in Europe. This conflict in Europe translated into conflict in America, highlighting the national political disputes that ultimately were responsible for the war.
As Queen Anne took over the British crown at the turn of the 18th century, she too started her own war with the French in the Champlain region (“French and Indian Wars”). Ambitious strategies from both sides fizzled out again pretty quickly. So with no resolution, the tension grew between the two nations – the French built a fort at Crown Point and conflicts developed more in Europe (Schneider, 50). Finally, the French and Indian War broke out in Saratoga and New Hampshire. The French took a strong start to the fighting gaining control of Lake George in the south.
As the fighting developed, the French lost their firm control and the British managed some success at Lake Champlain, winning Fort Crown Port and gaining back control of much of the lake. They moved north with more and more success, skipping from fort to fort on their march up to Montreal (Schneider, 62). In 1760, 17,000 British troops arrived in Montreal and force a French surrender in the final battle of the war. The British had a stronger navy and a larger population and thus an advantage that led them to a decisive victory (“History of Lake Champlain”). They were also able to weaken the French control in the Ohio region, establishing a western front for the expansion of British colonies.
The trend towards a more politically dominated warfare scene ultimately highlights the problems the colonists had with the way the Europeans ran their colonies in the Americas. For the Europeans, conflicts across the seas in the Americas had nothing to do with the people there, but rather the need for a large national political scope. Colonists wanted their own control to have their own personalized say in what mattered to them, not the political sphere of nobility across the Atlantic.
“French and Indian Wars.” Warpaths2peacepipes. Web.
“History of Lake Champlain.” Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. Web.
Jenkins, Jerry, and Andy Keal. The Adirondack Atlas: A Geographic Portrait of the Adirondack Park. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse UP, 2004. Print.
Schneider, Paul. The Adirondacks: A History of America’s First Wilderness. New York: H. Holt, 1997. Print.