Seven Years' War
The Seven Years' War was a world war that took place between 1754 and 1763 with the main conflict being in the seven year period 1756-1763. It involved most of the great powers of the time and affected Europe, North America, Central America, the West African coast, India, and the Philippines. In the historiography of some countries, the war is alternatively named after combatants in the respective theaters: the French and Indian War (North America, 1754–63); Pomeranian War (with Sweden and Prussia, 1757–62); Third Carnatic War (on the Indian subcontinent, 1757–63); and Third Silesian War (with Prussia and Austria, 1756–63).
The war was driven by the antagonism between Great Britain (in personal royal union with the principality of Hanover in Germany) and the Bourbon Dynasty (in France and Spain), resulting from overlapping interests in their colonial and trade empires, and by the antagonism between the Hohenzollern Dynasty (in Prussia) and Habsburg Dynasty (with their Holy Roman Emperors and archdukes in Austria), resulting from territorial and hegemonial conflicts in the Holy Roman Empire. The Diplomatic Revolution established an Anglo-Prussian alliance, allied with some smaller German states and later Portugal, as well as an Austro-French camp, allied with Sweden, Saxony and later Spain. The Russian Empire left its offensive alliance with the Habsburgs upon the succession of Peter III in 1762, and like Sweden concluded a separate peace with Prussia. The war ended with the peace treaties of Paris (Bourbon France and Spain, and the Georgian/Hanoverian Dynasty in Great Britain) and of Hubertusburg (German Hohenzollerns, Habsburgs, Saxon elector) in 1763. The war was characterized in Europe by sieges and arson of towns as well as open battles involving extremely heavy losses; overall, some 900,000 to 1,400,000 people died.
Great Britain expelled its French and Spanish rivals in the contested overseas territories, gaining the bulk of New France in eastern Canada, Spanish Florida, some individual Caribbean islands in the West Indies, the colony of Senegal on the West African coast and superiority over the French trading outposts on the Indian subcontinent. The native American tribes were excluded from the peace settlement, and were unable to return to their former status after the resulting Indian Wars of Pontiac's Rebellion in the Ohio Country, west of the Appalachian Mountains in North America. In Europe, Frederick II ("the Great") of Prussia failed to complete a preemptive strike against Austria, and his forces were nearly annihilated by numerically superior opponents at the Battle of Kunersdorf. However, Frederick recovered, regained ground and managed to avoid any concessions in Hubertusburg, which remained status quo ante bellum. British Prime Minister William Pitt (1st Earl of Chatham) said that "America was won in Germany" referring to the Prussian war effort, which enabled Great Britain to keep her continental commitments limited while focusing on her "blue water policy", successfully establishing naval supremacy elsewhere. French and allied forces were able to occupy Prussian and Hanoverian territories up to East Frisia. But French ambitions to invade Britain in 1759 and to continue with their guerre de course were thwarted by a British Royal Navy blockade, which also impaired French nautical supply routes to her colonies. The involvement of Portugal, Spain and Sweden did not return them to their former status as Great Powers. Spain's short intervention resulted in the loss of Florida, though it gained the former French Louisiana in North America, west of the Mississippi in exchange and Britain returned the western portion of the Spanish island of Cuba and the occupied portion of the main island of Luzon with the city of Manila in the Spanish colony of the Philippine Islands off eastern Asia.
In Canada, France, and the United Kingdom, the name Seven Years' War is used to describe the North American conflict which began and originated much earlier in 1754 as well as the European and Asian conflicts which began in 1756, as the name Nine Years' War was already taken previously by historians to describe an earlier conflict.
In the United States, however, the North American portion of the war is popularly known as the French and Indian War. Many scholars and professional historians in America, such as Fred Anderson, however, follow the example of their colleagues in other countries and refer to the conflict as The Seven Years' War, regardless of the theatre.
In French Canada, the conflict is sometimes referred to as La Guerre de la Conquête (War of the Conquest).
The conflict in India is termed the Third Carnatic War while the fighting between Prussia and Austria is called the Third Silesian War. In Swedish historiography, the name Pommerska kriget (Pomeranian War) is used, as Swedish involvement was limited to Pomerania in northern central Germany.
The war was described as the first "world war", although this label was also given to various earlier conflicts such as the Eighty Years' War, the Thirty Years' War, the War of the Spanish Succession and the War of the Austrian Succession, and to later conflicts such as the Napoleonic Wars. The Anglo-French portion of the world-wide conflict, involving both empires, was one of the most significant phases of the Second Hundred Years' War, which is a name occasionally used by some historians to describe the continuous level of world-wide conflict over the entire 18th Century, compared to the more famous and compact religious struggle of the 17th Century.
This war is often said to be a continuation of the War of the Austrian Succession which had lasted from 1740 to 1748, in which King Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great, had seized the rich province of Silesia from Austria. Empress Maria Theresa of Austria had signed the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748 in order to gain time to rebuild her military forces and to forge new alliances, which she did with remarkable success. The political map of Europe had been redrawn in a few years as Austria abandoned its twenty-five year alliance with Britain. During the so‑called Diplomatic Revolution of 1756, the centuries-old enemies: France, Austria and Russia, formed a single alliance against Prussia.
Prussia's only major assistance came from Great Britain, her newfound ally, whose reigning dynasty saw its ancestral Hanoverian possessions in Germany being threatened by France. In many respects the two allied powers' forces complemented each other excellently. The British had the largest, most effective navy in the world, while Prussia had the most formidable land force in continental Europe. This allowed Britain to focus its military resources on colonial expeditions. The British had hoped that the new series of alliances formed during the Diplomatic Revolution would maintain the peace, but, in fact, they proved the catalyst for the eruption of hostilities in Europe in 1756.
The Austrian army had undergone an overhaul along the lines of the Prussian system. Maria Theresa, whose knowledge of military affairs might have shamed many of her generals, had pressed relentlessly for reform. Her interest in the welfare of the soldiers had gained her their unqualified respect. Austria had suffered several humiliating defeats to Prussia in the previous war, and, strongly dissatisfied with the limited help she had received from the British, now saw France as the only ally who could help her retake Silesia and check Prussia's expansion.
A further cause for war arose from the heated colonial struggle between the British Empire and French Empire which, as they both expanded, met and clashed with one another on two continents. Of particular dispute was control of the Ohio Country in North America, which was central to both countries' ambitions for further expansion and development. By 1754 France and Britain were already fighting in that theater.
For much of the eighteenth century, France approached its wars in the same way: it would let its colonies defend themselves, or with minimal help, send them only limited numbers of troops—or perhaps inexperienced soldiers—anticipating that fights for the colonies would likely be lost anyway. This strategy was to a degree forced upon France: geography, coupled with the superiority of the British navy, made it difficult for the French navy to provide significant supplies and support to French colonies. Similarly, several long land borders made an effective domestic army imperative for any ruler of France. Given these military necessities, the French government, unsurprisingly, based its strategy overwhelmingly on the army in Europe: it would keep most of its army on the European continent, hoping that such a force would be victorious closer to home. The plan was to fight to the end of hostilities and then, in treaty negotiations, to trade territorial acquisitions in Europe in order to regain lost overseas possessions. This approach did not serve France well in the war, as the colonies were indeed lost, but although much of the European war went well, by its end France had few counterbalancing European successes.
The British—by inclination as well as for pragmatic reasons—had tended to avoid large-scale commitments of troops on the Continent. They sought to offset the disadvantage this created in Europe by allying themselves with one or more Continental powers whose interests were antithetical to those of their enemies, particularly France.:15-16 For the Seven Years' War, the British chose as their principal partner the greatest military strategist of the day, Frederick the Great, and his kingdom, Prussia, then the rising power in central Europe, and paid Frederick substantial subsidies to support his campaigns.:106 In marked contrast to France, Britain strove to actively prosecute the war in the colonies, taking full advantage of its naval power. The British pursued a dual strategy of naval blockade and bombardment of enemy ports, and also utilised their ability to move troops by sea to the utmost. They would harass enemy shipping and attack enemy colonies, frequently using colonists from nearby British colonies in the effort.
The Russians and the Austrians were determined to reduce the power of Prussia. Along with France, plans were advanced in 1756 for mutual defense and an attack by Austria and Russia on Prussia to be subsidized by France.
The formal opening of hostilities in Europe was preceded by fighting in North America, where the westward expansion of the British colonies located along the eastern seaboard began to run afoul of French claims to the Mississippi valley in the late 1740s and early 1750s. In order to forestall the expansion of Virginia and Pennsylvania, in particular, the French built a line of forts in what is now western Pennsylvania in the mid-1750s. British efforts to dislodge them led to conflicts generally considered to be part of the French and Indian War, as the Seven Years' War is known in the United States.
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The British Prime Minister, the Duke of Newcastle, remained optimistic that war could be prevented from breaking out in Europe by the new series of alliances. However a large French force was assembled at Toulon, and the French opened the campaign against the British by an attack on Minorca in the Mediterranean. A British attempt at relief was foiled at the Battle of Minorca and the island was captured on 28 June (for which Admiral Byng was court-martialed and executed). War between Britain and France had been formally declared on 18 May nearly two years after the first fighting had broken out in the Ohio Country.
Having received reports of the clashes in North America, and having secured the support of Great Britain with an Anglo-Prussian alliance, Frederick II of Prussia crossed the border of Saxony on 29 August 1756, one of the small German states in league with Austria. He intended this as a bold pre-emption of an anticipated Austro-French invasion of Silesia. The Saxon and Austrian armies were unprepared, and their forces were scattered. At the Battle of Lobositz, King Frederick prevented the isolated Saxon army from being reinforced by an Austrian army under General Browne. The Prussians then overran the Electorate, resulting in the Prussian occupation of Saxony and the surrender of the Saxon Army at Pirna in October 1756 which was then forcibly incorporated into the Prussian forces. The attack on the neutral Electorate of Saxony caused outrage across Europe and led to the strengthening of the anti-Prussian coalition. The only significant Austrian success was the partial occupation of Silesia.
Britain had been surprised by the sudden Prussian offensive, but now began shipping supplies and money to her ally. A combined German force was organised under the Duke of Cumberland to protect Hanover from a French invasion. The British attempted to persuade the Dutch Republic to join the alliance, but the request was rejected as the Dutch wished to remain fully neutral. Despite the huge disparity in numbers, the year had been a successful one for the Prussian-led forces on the continent, in contrast to disappointing British campaigns in North America.
In early 1757, Frederick II again took the initiative by marching into the Kingdom of Bohemia, hoping to inflict a decisive defeat on the Austrian forces. After winning the bloody Battle of Prague in which both forces suffered major casualties, the Prussians laid siege to the city, but had to lift the siege after a major Austrian counter-attack and Frederick's first defeat at the Battle of Kolín. That summer, the Russians had invaded East Prussia and defeated a smaller Prussian force in the fiercely contested Battle of Gross-Jägersdorf. Further defeats followed. Frederick was forced to break off his invasion of Bohemia, and withdraw back into Prussian-controlled territory.
Things were looking very grim for Prussia at this time, with the Austrians mobilising to attack Prussian-controlled soil and a French army under Soubise approaching from the west. In November and December the whole situation in Germany was reversed. First Frederick devastated Soubise's French force at the Battle of Rossbach and then routed a vastly superior Austrian force at the Battle of Leuthen. With these victories, Frederick once again established himself as Europe's premier general and his men as Europe's most accomplished soldiers. In spite of these successes, the Prussians were now facing the prospect of four major powers attacking on four fronts (France from the West, Austria from the South, Russia from the East and Sweden from the North). Meanwhile a combined force from a number of smaller German states such as Bavaria had been established under Austrian leadership, thus threatening Prussian control of Saxony.
This problem was compounded when the main Hanoverian army under Cumberland was defeated at the Battle of Hastenbeck and then forced to surrender entirely at the Convention of Klosterzeven following a French Invasion of Hanover. The Convention removed Hanover and Brunswick from the war, leaving the Western approach to Prussian territory extremely vulnerable. Frederick sent urgent requests to Britain for more substantial assistance, as he was now without any outside military support for his forces in Germany.
The British had suffered further defeats in North America, particularly at Fort William Henry. At home, however, stability had been established. Since 1756, successive governments led by Newcastle and William Pitt had both fallen. In August 1757, the two men agreed to a political partnership and formed a coalition government which gave new, firmer direction to the British war effort. The new strategy emphasised both Newcastle's commitment to British involvement on the European continent, particularly in defence of Germany, and William Pitt's determination to use British naval power to launch expeditions to seize French colonies around the globe. This "dual strategy" would dominate British policy for the next five years.
In late 1757, thanks to the Prussian victories at Rossbach and Leuthen, the situation appeared to have swung in Frederick's favour, while the sudden decision of the Russian Empire to withdraw its troops from East Prussia offered further relief. Frederick, calculating that no further Russian advance was likely until 1758, then moved the bulk of his eastern forces to Pomerania to repel a Swedish invasion. Within a short period they had driven the Swedes back, occupied most of Swedish Pomerania and blockaded its capital Stralsund. George II of Great Britain, on the advice of his British ministers, revoked the convention of Klosterzeven and Hanover reentered the war. Over the winter the new commander of the Hanoverian forces, Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick, regrouped his army and launched a series of offensives that drove the French back across the River Rhine.
Between October 10 and 17, 1757, Hungarian general, András Hadik, serving in the Austrian army, executed what may be the most famous hussar action in history: when the Prussian King Frederick was marching south with his powerful armies, the Hungarian general unexpectedly swung his 5,000 force of mostly hussars around the Prussians and took their capital Berlin. The city was spared for a negotiated ransom of 200,000 thalers. When King Frederick heard about this shameful occupation of Berlin, he immediately sent a larger force to free the city. Hadik rode back with his Hussars behind the Austrian lines, and was subsequently promoted to the rank of Marshal.
In early 1758, Frederick launched an invasion of Moravia, and laid siege to Olomouc. Following an Austrian victory at the Battle of Domstadtl, Frederick broke off the siege and withdrew from Moravia. It marked the end of his final attempt to launch a major invasion of Austrian territory. East Prussia had been occupied by Russian forces over the winter, and would remain under their control until 1762, although Frederick did not see the Russians as an immediate threat and instead entertained hopes of first fighting a decisive battle against Austria that would knock her out of the war.
In April 1758, the British concluded the Anglo-Prussian Convention with Frederick, in which they committed to pay him an annual subsidy of £670,000. Britain also dispatched a force of 9,000 troops to reinforce Ferdinand's Hanoverian army, the first British troop commitment on the continent and a reversal in the policy of Pitt who had previously opposed such a move. Ferdinand had succeeded in driving the French from Hanover and Westphalia and re-captured the port of Emden in March 1758, before crossing the Rhine with his own forces which caused alarm in France. Despite Ferdinand's victory over the French at the Battle of Krefeld and the brief occupation of Düsseldorf, he was then forced to withdraw across the Rhine by successful manoeuvring by larger French forces.
By this point Frederick had grown increasingly concerned about the Russian advance from the east and marched to counter it. In August 1758, at the Battle of Zorndorf a Prussian army of 35,000 men under Frederick fought to a standstill a Russian army of 43,000 commanded by Count Fermor. Although both sides suffered heavy casualties and the Russians withdrew from the field in good order, Frederick claimed a victory. In the undecided Battle of Tornow on 25 September, a Swedish army repulsed six assaults by a Prussian army, but did not push home an attempt to move on Berlin following the Battle of Fehrbellin.
The back-and-forth nature of the war continued as on 14 October, Marshal Daun's Austrians surprised the main Prussian army at the Battle of Hochkirch in Saxony. Frederick lost much of his artillery but retreated in good order, helped by the densely wooded landscape. The Austrians had ultimately made little progress in the campaign in Saxony despite Hochkirch and had failed to achieve a decisive breakthrough. After a thwarted attempt to take Dresden, Daun's troops were forced to withdraw to Austrian territory for the winter, so that Saxony remained under Prussian occupation.
In France, 1758 had been a disappointing year and in the wake of this a new Chief Minister, the Duc de Choiseul was appointed. Choiseul planned to end the war in 1759 by making strong attacks on Britain and Hanover.
The year 1759 saw some severe Prussian defeats. At the Battle of Kay, or Paltzig, the Russian Count Saltykov with 47,000 Russians defeated 26,000 Prussian troops commanded by General Carl Heinrich von Wedel. Though the Hanoverians defeated an army of 60,000 French at Minden, Austrian general Daun forced the surrender of an entire Prussian corps of 13,000 men in the Battle of Maxen. Frederick himself lost half his army in the Battle of Kunersdorf, the worst defeat in his military career, and one that drove him to the brink of abdication and suicide. The disaster resulted partly from his misjudgment of the Russians, who had already demonstrated their strength at Zorndorf and at Gross-Jägersdorf.
The French planned to invade the British Isles during 1759 by accumulating troops near the mouth of the Loire and concentrating their Brest and Toulon fleets. However, two sea defeats prevented this. In August, the Mediterranean fleet under Jean-François de La Clue-Sabran was scattered by a larger British fleet under Edward Boscawen at the Battle of Lagos. In the Battle of Quiberon Bay on 20 November, the British admiral Edward Hawke with 23 ships of the line caught the French Brest fleet with 21 ships of the line under Marshal de Conflans and sank, captured or forced aground many of them, putting an end to the French plans.
1760 brought even more disasters to the Prussians. The Prussian general Fouqué was defeated in the Battle of Landshut. The French captured Marburg, and the Swedes part of Brandenburg-Prussian Pomerania. The Hanoverians were victorious over the French at the Battle of Warburg, their continued success preventing France from sending troops to aid the Austrians against Prussia in the east. Despite this the Austrians, under the command of General Laudon captured Glatz (now Kłodzko) in Silesia. In the Battle of Liegnitz Frederick scored a victory despite being outnumbered three to one. The Russians under General Saltykov and Austrians under General Lacy briefly occupied his capital, Berlin, in October. The end of that year saw Frederick once more victorious, defeating the able Daun in the Battle of Torgau, but he suffered heavy casualties and the Austrians retreated in good order.
Prussia began the 1761 campaign with just 100,000 available troops, many of them new recruits. 1762 brought two new countries into the war. Britain declared war against Spain on 4 January 1762; Spain reacted by issuing their own declaration of war against Britain on 18 January. Portugal followed by joining the war on Britain's side. Spain, aided by the French, launched an invasion of Portugal and succeeded in capturing Almeida. The arrival of British reinforcements stalled a further Spanish advance, and the Battle of Valencia de Alcántara saw British-Portuguese forces overrun a major Spanish supply base.
In February 1761 Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick surprised French troops at Langensalza, and then advanced to besiege Cassel in March. He was forced to lift the siege and retreat after French forces regrouped and captured several thousand of his men at the Battle of Grünberg. At the Battle of Villinghausen, Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick defeated a 92,000-man French army. The Russians under Zakhar Chernyshev and Pyotr Rumyantsev stormed Kolberg in Pomerania, while the Austrians captured Schweidnitz. The loss of Kolberg cost Prussia its last port on the Baltic Sea. In Britain, it was speculated that a total Prussian collapse was now imminent.
Britain now threatened to withdraw its subsidies if Prussia didn't seriously consider offering to make concessions to secure peace. As the Prussian armies had dwindled to just 60,000 men Frederick's survival was severely threatened. Then on 5 January 1762 the Russian Empress Elizabeth died. Her Prussophile successor, Peter III, at once recalled Russian armies from Berlin (see: the Treaty of Saint Petersburg (1762)) and mediated Frederick's truce with Sweden. This turn of events has become known as the miracle of the House of Brandenburg. In the aftermath, Frederick was able to drive the Austrians from Silesia in the Battle of Freiberg (29 October 1762), while his Brunswick allies captured the key town of Göttingen and compounded it by taking Cassel.
The long British naval blockade of French ports had sapped the morale of the French populace. Morale declined further when news of defeat in the Battle of Signal Hill in Newfoundland reached Paris.
By 1763 Frederick had Silesia under his control and had occupied parts of Austria. The British subsidies had been withdrawn by the new Prime Minister Lord Bute, and the Russian Emperor had been overthrown by his wife Catherine the Great who now switched Russian support back to Austria and launched fresh attacks on Prussia. Austria, however, had been weakened from the war and, like most participants, was facing a severe financial crisis. In 1763 a peace settlement was reached at the Treaty of Hubertusburg ending the war in central Europe.
British amphibious "descents" 
Great Britain planned a "descent" (an amphibious demonstration or raid) on Rochefort, a joint operation to overrun the town and burn the shipping in the Charente. The expedition set out on 8 September 1757, Sir John Mordaunt commanding the troops and Sir Edward Hawke the fleet. On September 23, the Isle d'Aix was taken, but due to dithering by military staff such time was lost that Rochefort became unassailable, and the expedition abandoned the Isle d'Aix, returning to Great Britain on October 1.
Despite the operational failure and debated strategic success of the descent on Rochefort, William Pitt—who saw purpose in this type of asymmetric enterprise—prepared to continue such operations. An army was assembled under the command of Charles Spencer, 3rd Duke of Marlborough; he was aided by Lord George Sackville. The naval squadron and transports for the expedition were commanded by Richard Howe. The army landed on 5 June 1758 at Cancalle Bay, proceeded to St. Malo, and finding that it would take a prolonged siege to capture it, instead attacked the nearby port of St. Servan, and burned the shipping in the harbor amounting to roughly 80 French privateers and merchantmen, as well as four warships which were under construction. The force then re-embarked under the threat of the arrival of French relief forces. An attack on Havre de Grace was called off, and the fleet sailed on to Cherbourg; but the weather being bad and provisions low, that too was abandoned, and the expedition returned, having damaged French privateering and provided a further strategic demonstration against the French coast.
Pitt now prepared to send troops into Germany; and both Marlborough and Sackville, disgusted by what they perceived as the futility of the "descents", obtained commissions in that army. The elderly General Bligh was appointed to command a new "descent", escorted by Howe. The campaign began propitiously with the Raid on Cherbourg. With the support of the navy to bombard Cherbourg and cover their landing, the army drove off the French force detailed to oppose their landing, captured Cherbourg, and destroyed its fortifications, docks, and shipping.
The troops were reembarked and the fleet moved them to the Bay of St. Lunaire in Brittany where, on 3 September, they were landed to again operate against St. Malo; however, this action proved impractical. Worsening weather forced the two armies to separate: the ships sailed for the safer anchorage of St. Cast, while the army proceeded overland. The tardiness of Bligh in moving his forces allowed a French force of 10,000 men from Brest to catch up with him and open fire on the reembarkation troops. A rear-guard of 1,400 under General Dury held off the French while the rest of the army embarked; they could not be saved, 750, including Dury, were killed and the rest captured.
The colonial conflict mainly between France and Britain occurred in India, North America, Europe, the Caribbean isles, the Philippines and coastal Africa. During the course of the war, Great Britain gained enormous areas of land and influence at the expense of the French.
Great Britain lost Minorca in the Mediterranean to the French in 1756 but captured the French colonies in Senegal on the African continent in 1758. The British Royal Navy captured the French sugar colonies of Guadeloupe in 1759 and Martinique in 1762, as well as the Spanish cities of Havana in Cuba, and Manila in the Philippines, both prominent Spanish colonial cities. However expansion into the hinterlands of both cities met with stiff resistance. In the Philippines, the British were confined to Manila in a deteriorating military situation before their agreed upon withdrawal at the war's end.
North America 
The campaign began with the seizure of a British encampment (later Fort Duquesne) in the disputed Ohio Valley by the French. This was followed by an attack led by George Washington, then a lieutenant colonel in the British colonial militia Virginia Regiment, at Jumonville Glen in 1754. The British attacked with bayonets the 31 French sleeping in the early morning hours. Ten were killed, including commander Jumonville, whose brother pursued Washington. Washington surrendered at the Battle of Fort Necessity. Both France and Britain then sent troops in strength to North America. In June 1755, British Major General Edward Braddock led about 2,000 army troops and provincial militia on an expedition to retake Fort Duquesne but the expedition was a disaster. In further action, Admiral Edward Boscawen fired on the French ship Alcide on 8 June 1755, capturing her and two troop ships. The British harassed French shipping throughout 1755, seizing ships and capturing seamen. In September 1755, French and British troops met in the inconclusive Battle of Lake George.
The third British action was the assault on Acadia in the Battle of Fort Beauséjour, which was immediately followed by their expulsion of the Acadians. These actions contributed to the formal declarations of war in spring 1756.
During the war, the Seven Nations of Canada were allied with the French; they were Native Canadian groups living in the Laurentian valley. Throughout New England, New York and the Northwest, Native American tribes formed differing alliances with the major belligerents, with many siding with the French. They hoped to push out the British colonial settlers for good. The Iroquois, dominant in what is now Upstate New York, sided with the British but did not play a large role in the war.
In 1756 and 1757 the French won major victories at Oswego and Fort William Henry, although the latter win was tainted when France's native allies broke the terms of capitulation and attacked the retreating British column, slaughtering wounded soldiers and taking captives. French naval deployments in 1757 also successfully defended the key fortress of Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island, securing the approaches to Quebec in Canada.
William Pitt's focus on the colonies for the 1758 campaign paid off with the taking of Louisbourg after French reinforcements were blocked by the Battle of Cartagena, and the successful capture of Fort Duquesne and Fort Frontenac. The British also continued the process of deporting the Acadian population with a wave of major operations against Île Saint-Jean (present-day Prince Edward Island), the St. John River valley, and the Petitcodiac River valley. The British successes were overshadowed by their embarrassing defeat in the Battle of Carillon, in which 4,000 French troops repulsed 16,000 British troops.
All of Britain's campaigns against New France succeeded in 1759, part of what became known as an Annus Mirabilis. Fort Niagara and Fort Carillon fell to sizable British forces, cutting off French frontier forts further west. On 13 September 1759, following a three-month siege of Quebec, General James Wolfe defeated the French at the Plains of Abraham outside the city. The French staged a counteroffensive in the spring of 1760, with some success in a victory at the Battle of Sainte-Foy, but failed to retake Quebec due to a lack of naval support. French forces retreated to Montreal, where on 8 September they surrendered in the face of overwhelming British numerical superiority. This defeat has had serious ramifications in Canada to this day. The Quebec sovereignty movement sees this as their principle's defining moment.
Seeing French defeat, in 1760 the Seven Nations of Canada resigned from the war and negotiated the Treaty of Kahnawake with the British. Among its conditions was their unrestricted travel between Canada and New York, as the nations had extensive trade between Montreal and Albany, as well as populations living throughout the area.
In 1762 toward the end of the war, French forces attacked St. John's, Newfoundland. If successful, the expedition would have strengthened France's hand at the negotiating table. Though they took St. John's and raided nearby settlements, the French forces were eventually defeated by British troops at the Battle of Signal Hill. This was the final battle of the war in North America, and it forced the French to surrender to the British under Lieutenant Colonel William Amherst. The victorious British now controlled all of eastern North America.
The history of the Seven Years' War in North America, particularly the expulsion of the Acadians, siege of Quebec, the death of Wolfe and the Battle of Fort William Henry, generated a vast number of ballads, broadsides, images, and novels (see Longfellow's Evangeline, The Death of General Wolfe; Wood, James Fenimore Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans), maps and other printed materials, which testify to how this event captured the imagination of the British and North American public long after Wolfe's death in 1759.
South America 
Between September 1762 and April 1763, the Spanish forces led by Don Pedro Antonio de Cevallos, Governor of Buenos Aires, made a campaign against the Portuguese in South America. The Portuguese territories of Colonia do Sacramento and Rio Grande de São Pedro were conquered by the Spaniards and the Portuguese forces were forced to surrender and retreat. The Colonia of Sacramento and the near territories were under Spanish control until the Treaty of Paris (1763).
Mughal Empire 
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In India the outbreak of the Seven Years' War in Europe resulted in a renewal of the long running conflict between French and British trading companies in the region for influence. The war spread beyond southern India and into Bengal, where British forces under Robert Clive recaptured Calcutta from the Nawab Siraj ud-Daulah, a French ally, and ousted him from his throne at the Battle of Plassey in 1757. In the same year the British also captured the French settlement in Bengal at Chandernagar.
However, the war was decided in the south. Although the French captured Cuddalore, their Siege of Madras failed, while the British commander Sir Eyre Coote decisively defeated the French under the Comte de Lally at the Battle of Wandiwash in 1760 and overran the French territory of the Northern Circars. The French capital of Pondicherry fell to the British in 1761; together with the fall of the lesser French settlements of Karikal and Mahé this effectively eliminated French power from India.
West Africa 
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In 1758 at the urging of an American merchant Thomas Cumming, Pitt dispatched an expedition to take the French settlement at Saint Louis. The British captured Senegal with ease in May 1758 and brought home large amounts of captured goods. The success of the mission convinced Pitt to launch two further expeditions to take the island of Gorée and the French trading post on the Gambia. The loss of these valuable colonies further weakened the French economy.
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The Anglo-French hostilities were ended in 1763 by the Treaty of Paris, which involved a complex series of land exchanges, the most important being France's cession to Spain of Louisiana, and to Great Britain the rest of New France except for the islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon. Faced with the choice of retrieving either New France or its Caribbean island colonies of Guadeloupe and Martinique, France chose the latter to retain these lucrative sources of sugar, writing off New France as an unproductive, costly territory. France also returned Minorca to the British. Spain lost control of Florida to Great Britain, but received part of New Orleans and the Louisiana Territory west of the Mississippi River from the French. The exchanges suited the British as well, as their own Caribbean islands already supplied ample sugar, and with the acquisition of New France and Florida, they now controlled all of North America east of the Mississippi.
In India, the British retained the Northern Circars, but returned all the French trading ports. The treaty, however, required that the fortifications of these settlements must be destroyed and never rebuilt, while only minimal garrisons could be maintained there, thus rendering them worthless as military bases. Combined with the loss of France's ally in Bengal and the defection of Hyderabad to the British side as a result of the war, this effectively brought French power in India to an end, making way for British hegemony and eventual control of the subcontinent.
European boundaries were returned to their status quo ante bellum by the Treaty of Hubertusburg (February 1763). Prussia thus maintained its possession of Silesia, having survived the combined assault of three neighbours, each larger than itself. Prussia gained enormously in influence at the expense of the Holy Roman Empire. This increase in Prussian influence, it is argued, marks the beginning of the modern German state, an event at least as influential as the colonial empire Great Britain had gained. Others, including Fred Anderson, author of Crucible of War, believe the war was needless and overly costly.
France's navy was crippled by the war. Only after an ambitious rebuilding programme by France in combination with Spain was it again able to challenge Britain's command of the sea.
However, the British government was close to bankruptcy, and Britain now faced the delicate task of pacifying its new French-Canadian subjects, as well as the many American Indian tribes who had supported France. George III's Proclamation of 1763, which forbade white settlement beyond the crest of the Appalachians, was intended to appease the latter, but led to considerable outrage in the Thirteen Colonies whose inhabitants were eager to acquire native lands. The Quebec Act of 1774, similarly intended to win over the loyalty of French Canadians, also spurred resentment among American colonists. Victorious in 1763, Great Britain would soon face another military threat in North America—this time from its longtime subjects, who no longer had to fear a hostile neighbouring power.
The Seven Years' War was the last major military conflict fought on the European continent before the outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars in 1792.
Cultural references 
- The novel The Luck of Barry Lyndon (1844) by William Makepeace Thackeray is set against the Seven Years' War. This is a quote about the war from the novel:
"It would require a greater philosopher and historian than I am to explain the causes of the famous Seven Years' War in which Europe was engaged; and, indeed, its origin has always appeared to me to be so complicated, and the books written about it so amazingly hard to understand, that I have seldom been much wiser at the end of a chapter than at the beginning, and so shall not trouble my reader with any personal disquisitions concerning the matter."
- Stanley Kubrick's movie Barry Lyndon (1975) is based on the Thackeray novel.
- The events in the early chapters of Voltaire's Candide are based on the Seven Years' War; according to Jean Starobinski, ("Voltaire's Double-Barreled Musket", in Blessings In Disguise, (California, 1993) p. 85), all the atrocities described in Chapter 3 are true to life. When Candide was written, Voltaire had been opposed to militarism; the book's themes of disillusionment and suffering underscore this position
- The board games Friedrich and, more recently, Prussia's Defiant Stand and Clash of Monarchs are based on the events of the Seven Years' War
- The Grand strategy wargame Rise of Prussia covers the European campaigns of the Seven Years' War
- The novel The Last of the Mohicans (1826) by James Fenimore Cooper and its subsequent adaptations are set in the Northern American Theatre of the Seven Years' War
- The Partisan in War (1789), a treatise on light infantry tactics written by Colonel Andreas Emmerich, is based on his experiences in the Seven Years' War.
- The Seven Years' War is the central theme of G. E. Lessing's 1767 play Minna von Barnhelm or the Soldiers' Happiness.
- Numerous towns and other places now in United States were named after Frederick the Great to commemorate the victorious conclusion of the war, including Frederick, Maryland, and King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.
- The fourth scenario of the second act in the RTS Age of Empires III is about this military conflict, with the player fighting along with the French and against the British.
See also 
Media related to Seven Years' War at Wikimedia Commons
- Great Britain in the Seven Years' War
- France in the Seven Years' War
- French India
- List of wars
- Rule of 1756
- Wars and battles involving Prussia
- Heidler 2007 p. 28 (note No. 53).
- Füssel (2010), p. 7
- Bowen, HV (1998). War and British Society 1688–1815. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. p. 7. ISBN 0-521-57645-8.
- Füssel (2010), p. 8
- Tombs, Robert and Isabelle. That Sweet Enemy: The French and the British from the Sun King to the Present. London: William Heinemann, 2006.
- Szabo, Franz, A. J. The Seven Years War in Europe: 1756-1763, Longman, 2007, p. 2. ISBN 0-582-29272-7.
- Szabo, Franz, A. J.The Seven Years War in Europe: 1756–1763, Longman, 2007, pp. 24-28. ISBN 0-582-29272-7.
- Szabo, Franz, A. J..The Seven Years War in Europe: 1756-1763, Longman, 2007, p. 14. ISBN 0-582-29272-7.
- Pritchard, James (2004). In Search of Empire: The French in the Americas, 1670-1730. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 356. ISBN 0-521-82742-6.
- Dull, Jonathan R. (2007). The French Navy and the Seven Years' War. Lincoln NE: University of Nebraska Press. p. 14. ISBN 0-8032-1731-5.
- Borneman, Walter R. (2007). The French and Indian War: Deciding the Fate of North America. New York: HarperCollins. p. 80. ISBN 978-0-06-076184-4.
- Lee, Stephen J. (1984). Aspects of European History, 1494-1789. London: Routledge. p. 285. ISBN 0-416-37490-5.
- Till, Geoffrey (2006). Development of British Naval Thinking: Essays in Memory of Bryan Ranft. Abingdon: Routledge. p. 77. ISBN 0-714-65320-9.
- Schweizer, Karl W. (1989). England, Prussia, and the Seven Years War: Studies in Alliance Policies and Diplomacy. Lewiston NY: Edwin Mellen Press. ISBN 0-88946-465-0.
- Black, Jeremy (1999). Britain As A Military Power, 1688-1815. London: UCL Press. pp. 45–78. ISBN 1-85728-772-X.
- Vego, Milan N. (2003). Naval Strategy and Operations in Narrow Seas. London: Frank Cass. pp. 156–157. ISBN 0-7146-5389-6.
- Szabo, Franz, A. J.The Seven Years War in Europe: 1756-1763, Longman, 2007, pp. 17-18. ISBN 0-582-29272-7.
- Anderson p.129
- Rodger pp. 265–67
- Anderson p. 170
- Dull p. 71
- Carter pp. 84–102
- Anderson p. 176
- Anderson pp. 211–12
- Anderson pp. 176–77
- Anderson pp. 215–16
- Szabo pp. 148–55
- Szabo pp.179–82
- Szabo pp. 162–69
- Szabo pp. 195–202
- Anderson p. 491
- Fish 2003, p. 2
- Anderson p. 492
- Anderson p. 498
- Julian Corbett, England in the Seven Years War: A Study in Combined Strategy, 2 Vols., (London, 1918).
- N. A. M. Rodger, The Command of the Ocean: A Naval History of Britain, 1649-1815, (London, 2004)
- Anderson (2000), pp. 51–65.
- Fowler, pp. 74–75, 98.
- D. Peter MacLeod, "'Free and Open Roads': The Treaty of Kahnawake and the Control of Movement over the New York-Canadian Border during the Military Regime, 1760–1761," read at the Ottawa Legal History Group, 3 December 1992 (1992, 2001), accessed 31 January 2011
- Virtual Vault: "Canadiana", Library and Archives Canada
- The Canadian Encyclopedia, retrieved 17 June 2006.
- E.g., Canada to Confederation p. 8: Barriers to Immigration, mentioning the mother country's image of New France as an "Arctic wasteland with wild animals and savage Indians".
- According to Anderson, "Beyond the inevitable adjustments in the way diplomats would think of Prussia as a player in European politics, six years of heroic expenditure and savage bloodshed had accomplished precisely nothing." (p. 506)
- Kennedy, Paul (1976). The Rise and Fall of British Naval Mastery (book ) (new introduction ed.). London: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-684-14609-6.
- MacLeod, D. Peter (2008). Northern Armageddon: The Battle of the Plains of Abraham. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre. ISBN 9781553654124.
- Thackeray 2001 p. 72
- Anderson, Fred. Crucible of War: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754–1766. Faber and Faber, 2000. excerpt and text search
- Baugh, Daniel. The Global Seven Years War, 1754-1763 (Pearson Press, 2011) 660 pp; online review in H-FRANCE
- Carter, Alice Clare. The Dutch Republic in Europe in the Seven Years' War. MacMillan, 1971.
- Duffy, Christopher. Instrument of War: The Austrian Army in the Seven Years War (2000); By Force of Arms (The Austrian Army in the Seven Years War, Vol II (2008)
- Dull, Jonathan R.. The French Navy and the Seven Years' War. University of Nebraska Press, 2005.
- Fish, Shirley When Britain ruled the Philippines, 1762–1764: the story of the 18th century British invasion of the Philippines during the Seven Years' War. 1stBooks Library, 2003. ISBN 1-4107-1069-6, ISBN 978-1-4107-1069-7
- Fowler, William H.. Empires at War: The Seven Years' War and the Struggle for North America. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 2005. ISBN 1-55365-096-4.
- Füssel, Marian (2010). Der Siebenjährige Krieg. Ein Weltkrieg im 18. Jahrhundert (in German). München: Beck. ISBN 978-3-406-60695-3.
- Heidler, David Stephen; Heidler, Jeanne T.. Daily lives of civilians in wartime early America: from the colonial era to the Civil War. Greenwood Publishing Group; 2007. ISBN 978-0-313-33526-6.
- Keay, John. The Honourable Company: A History of the English East India Company. Harper Collins, 1993.
- Marston, Daniel. The Seven Years' War. Essential Histories. Oxford, UK: Osprey, 2001. ISBN 1-84176-191-5. excerpt and text search
- McLynn, Frank. 1759: The Year Britain Became Master of the World. London: Jonathan Cape, 2004. ISBN 0-224-06245-X.
- Rodger, N.A.M.. Command of the Ocean: A Naval History of Britain 1649–1815. Penguin Books, 2006.
- Smith, Digby George. Armies of the Seven Years War: Commanders, Equipment, Uniforms and Strategies of the 'First World War' (2012)
- Szabo, Franz A.J.. The Seven Years' War in Europe 1756–1763. Longman, 2007, Paperback edition, ISBN 0-582-29272-7.
Primary sources 
- de Ligne, Prince Charles-Joseph, Mon Journal de la guerre de Sept Ans. Textes inédits introduits, établis et annotés par Jeroom Vercruysse et Bruno Colson (Paris, Editions Honoré Champion, 2008) (L'Âge des Lumières, 44).
- Thackeray, William M.. The Luck of Barry Lyndon. 2001. A novel
- The Seven Years' War from The Canadian Encyclopedia
- Leuthen Journal
- The French Army 1600–1900
- Events and the participants in the Seven Years' War
- Seven Years' War timeline
- Another Seven Years' War timeline
- Memorial University of Newfoundland's page about the war
- Kronoskaf.com: Seven Years' War Knowledge Base
- 1759: From the Warpath to the Plains of Abraham Virtual Exhibition.
- The Seven Years' War in Canada
- Clash of Empires and The Battle of the Plains of Abraham – The Canadian War Museum