Tag Archives: Seven Years War

Not Cowboys & Indians, Part 3

So for the 3rd post in the Not Cowboys & Indians series, I will focus on the 18th century. I cannot, of course, cover all the battles, but I hope to offer you a view of what it was like in Canada at the time.

Queen Anne's War

A map depicting the state of European occupation of North America at the start of Queen Anne’s War, as the North American theatre of the War of the Spanish Succession is known.

The first war in the 18th century was Queen Anne’s War, also known as the Third Indian War, and it took place between 1702 and 1713. The main issue was the rivalry between France and England in America, which had been left unresolved by the Treaty of Ryswick in 1697.

The War was primarily fought in Europe, in France and England, and later Great Britain. The war also involved many Native tribes allied with each nation.

The war was fought on three fronts:

1. Spanish Florida and the English Province of Carolina were each attacked from the other, and the English engaged the French at Mobile (Alabama), involving allied Indians on both sides. This war had the effect of nearly wiping out the Indian population of Spanish Florida, including parts of present-day southern Georgia, and destroying Spain’s network of missions in the area.

2. The English colonies of New England fought with French and Indian forces based in Acadia and Canada. Quebec City was repeatedly targeted by British expeditions, and the Acadian capital (Port Royal) was taken in 1710. The French and Wabanaki Confederacy fought the New Englanders’ expansion into Acadia.

3. In Newfoundland, English colonists based at St. John’s, disputed control of the island with the French based at Plaisance. Most of the conflict consisted of economically destructive raids against the other side’s settlements. The French successfully captured St. John’s in 1709, but the British quickly reoccupied it after the French abandoned it.

Broad conclusion of this war was: the British received Acadia (now Nova Scotia), Newfoundland and fur trading posts in the Hudson Bay area. France managed to keep several islands in the Saint Lawrence River and Cape Breton Island at the north-eastern end of Nova Scotia.

There were casualties on both sides:
* Spain (50-60); French Indian allies (50); Spanish Indian allies (many).
* Great Britain (900); New England (200); Carolina (150); Indian allies (light).

The 18th century had many other wars in North America. A few are:

1722 – 1725: Father Rale’s War (a series of battles between New England and the Wabanaki Confederacy (specifically the Mi’kmaq, Maliseet, and Abenaki), who were allied with New France.

1744 – 1748: King George’s War (It took place primarily in the British provinces of New York, Massachusetts Bay, New Hampshire, and Nova Scotia. Its most significant action was an expedition organized by Massachusetts Governor William Shirley that besieged and ultimately captured the French fortress of Louisbourg, on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, in 1745.)

1749 – 1755: Father Le Loutre’s War. The war began with the British unilaterally establishing Halifax, which was a violation of an earlier treaty with the Mi’kmaq, signed after Father Rale’s War. With the fall of Beausejour, Le Loutre was imprisoned and the Acadian expulsion began. The British forces rounded up French settlers and deported the Acadians and burned their villages at Chignecto to prevent their return. The Acadian Exodus from Nova Scotia during the war spared most of the Acadians who joined it – particularly those who went to Ile St. Jean and Ile Royal – from the British deportation of the Acadians in 1755.

1754 – 1763: Seven Years’ War. The war was fought mostly between the colonies of British America and New France, with both sides supported by military units from their parent countries of Great Britain and France, who declared war on each other in 1756.

1763 – 1766: Pontiac’s War. This war was launched by a loose confederation of Native American tribes, from the Great Lakes region, the Illinois Country, and Ohio Country. More warriors from many tribes joined the uprising. They wished to drive British soldiers and settlers out of the region. The war is named after the Ottawa leader Pontiac, the most prominent of many native leaders in the conflict.

1775 – 1776: the American Revolutionary War. The war initially began in the resistance of many Americans to taxes imposed by the British parliament, which they held to be unlawful. In the end, the Americans received their independence, and British recognition of the United States of America. The territorial changes at the end of the war were that Britain lost the area east of Mississippi River and south of Great Lakes & St. Lawrence River to independent United States & to Spain; Spain gained East Florida, West Florida and Minorca; Britain ceded Tobago and Senegal to France. And the Dutch Republic ceded Negapatnam to Britain.

1789, the Nootka Crisis. The Pacific Northwest was little explored by European ships before the mid-18th century. But by the end of the century, several nations were vying for control of the region, including Britain, Spain, Russia, and the United States.

1792, the destruction of Opitsaht. American merchant and maritime fur trader Captain Robert Gray built the establishment on Meares Island in (present day British Columbia). In 1792, a newly constructed ship was launched, making it the first American-built vessel in the Pacific Northwest. Just before launching the ship, the fort was abandoned. However, Gray desired to leave nothing of use to the natives because of a foiled attack against his men conceived by the Tla-o-qui-aht people. So he ordered the destruction of 200 homes in the local village of Opitsaht. This is known in part because of entry in his own ship’s log, admitting he let his passions go too far.

1796, the Newfoundland expedition. This war was a series of fleet manoeuvres and amphibious landings in the coasts of Newfoundland, Labrador and Saint Pierre and Miquelon, carried out by the joint French and Spanish fleets against the British in North America. When they landed at Bay Bulls, they found that there wasn’t much of a force there to protect Newfoundland. And so they took dozens of British prisoners. The combined fleet then sailed toward Saint Pierre and Miquelon, which were held by the British at that time. The combined expedition destroyed over 100 fishing vessels from the Newfoundland fleet and burned fishing stations along the Newfoundland coast, including the base of the English garrison at Placentia Bay.

In my next post in this series, I will focus on the 19th century.


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“I Don’t Thirst After the Blood of the Garrison …”

French attack St. John's Newfoundland 1762

French attack St. John’s Newfoundland 1762 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Two cities in Canada share the distinction of being real “war veterans”:  St. John’s, and Quebec.  They have been bombarded, besieged and bothered more than any others.  Quebec was captured only twice, by the Kirke brothers in 1629 when Champlain was out of supplies, and by Wolfe in 1759.  It withstood heavy attacks by General Lévis in 1760, and by the Americans under Arnold and Montgomery in 1775.  There was also an attack by a British force from New England in 1690, but Governor Frontenac repulsed it easily.

St. John’s was raided by the Dutch, but the worst attacks were by the French, who had a base in Placentia.  Iberville took it in 1696 (see my May 19 post: Iberville is Ordered to Hudson Bay ) and destroyed the fort and settlement.  The French attacked again under Subercase in 1705 and under St. Ovide de Brouillion in 1708.  Once again St. John’s was destroyed.

The last attack by the French was in 1762 when St. John’s was captured by d’Haussonville.  This was a tactical move.  France knew that the Seven Years’ War was ending, and felt that by capturing Newfoundland it would be in a better position to bargain at the peace table.  D’Haussonville was sent from France with four ships which eluded British warships outside Brest in a thick fog.  He reached the Bay of Bulls on June 24, and then marched to St. John’s, which he captured.

The British struck back as soon as possible.  Colonel William Amherst was sent from New York, and a fleet under Lord Colville sailed from Britain to deal with the four French warships at St. John’s.  The French position was strong but Amherst captured it easily after a three-day march from Torbay.  The attack amounted to a series of letters.  Amherst wrote to d’Haussonville urging him to surrender.  D’Haussonville replied that he would not surrender until he had no more powder to fire.  Amherst replied that if d’Haussonville blew up the fort when he left it, every man in the garrison would be put to the sword.  After another exchange of letters, Amherst wrote:   “I don’t thirst after the blood of the garrison, but you must determine quickly or expect the consequences.”  D’Haussonville then surrendered quietly on September 18, 1762.

To learn more about today’s post, I suggest visiting British Battles, and The Rooms, and then Newfoundland Grand Banks.


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We Are Not Merchants

English: Oil on canvas painting of British Gen...

English: Oil on canvas painting of British General Sir Frederick Haldimand. See source for additional information. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On October 25, 1780, Sir Frederick Haldimand, Governor of Quebec, (which, at the time also included Ontario) protested that laws favoured merchants and not the inhabitants.

Haldimand served in the British Army during the Seven Years War and in the American Revolution. In 1778, he succeeded Sir Guy Carleton as Governor-In-Chief of Quebec. He helped settle loyalist refugees and Native American allies settle in Canada. His reluctance to giving in to pressure from the English speaking made him very unpopular with the English.

There’s a lot more to Frederick Haldimand, so I highly recommend reading more about his time in Canada. You can start at The Canadian Biography Online.


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