5 Things You Didn't Know About The Seven Years War

On May 15, 1756, the Seven Years War, also known as the French and Indian War officially began when England declared war on France.  Here are 5 things you didn't know about the Seven Years War...

 
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The Seven Years’ War Actually Lasted Nine Years The war lasted nine years, despite the name, and changed the political and cultural face of the continent. Although hostilities began in 1754, Britain did not formally declare war on France until 1756. France reciprocated three weeks later. Nine years of armed conflict between the two countries on the North American continent ended with the ratification of the Treaty of Paris by the British Parliament on February 10, 1763.

It Was Actually a World War We think of World War I as being the conflict that occurred in the 1910s, but the Seven Years War would be a more accurate candidate for that title. It was a global war that involved parties on five continents as the main combatants -- the British and French -- fought it out not only in North America but in their colonies in other parts of the world as well. While Britain kept up the fight in North America against France, it relied on its ally Prussia, led by Frederick the Great, to sustain the fight in Europe against France, Austria, Russia and Sweden.

 
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George Washington Struck The War’s First Blow In 1753, Virginia Governor Robert Dinwiddie dispatched 21-year-old George Washington to southwestern Pennsylvania with a written order to French forces to vacate the contested territory of the Ohio Valley. When the French refused, Lieutenant Colonel Washington returned the following year with a force of hundreds and ambushed a small scouting party on May 28, 1754. The first military action of Washington’s life resulted in the deaths of 13 enemy soldiers and launched the French and Indian War. Two decades after fighting to extend the dominion of King George III over the North American frontier, Washington would lead the armed rebellion to expel the king’s forces.

This Is The War That Led to The Cajun Culture Hostilities built steadily after the Battle of Fort Necessity -- the one that Washington lost -- and the British wanted to ensure that they wouldn't face any more opposition than they had to. One area of concern was the large Acadian French population in eastern portions of what's now Canada. The Acadians promised to remain neutral and not oppose the British, but that wasn't good enough. As a result, in 1755, the British forcibly expelled a large portion of the Acadian French population, who fled to France and other parts of North America. Many settled in French-controlled Louisiana, and their name -- Acadian -- gradually changed into Cajun.

It Set The Stage For The American Revolution After paying Prussia to fight in Europe and reimbursing the American colonies for military expenses, Britain found itself in deep debt at war’s end. As a result, it enacted the Sugar Act of 1764, the Stamp Act of 1765, the Townshend Acts of 1767 and other unpopular measures aimed at raising funds from its 13 American colonies, which gave birth to protests against “taxation without representation.” These acts were so detrimental to the colonists that eventually, the anger and stress boiled over into the American Revolutionary War.