History Exam Essay

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The French and Indian War resulted from ongoing tensions in North America as both French and British as well as the colonists attempted to extend each country’s territory. The war pitted France, French colonists, and their Native allies against Great Britain, the Anglo-American colonists and the Iroquois Confederacy. Before the outbreak of war, the British controlled the 13 colonies up to the Appalachian Mountains, but beyond that was New France, a very large and not so settled colony that stretched from Louisiana through the Mississippi Valley and up to the Great Lakes into Canada. The border between French and British territories was not very well defined, and one of the disputed territories was the upper Ohio River valley. The French built forts in the region to attempt to strengthen their claim on the region. A Virginia militia, led by Lieutenant Colonel George Washington, attempted to drive off the French in 1754. Washington was outnumbered and defeated by the French. When news of this defeat reached the British Prime Minister, he called for a quick undeclared retaliatory strike. Unfortunately, this was leaked and made public which alerted the French Government and escalated the event into a full-scale war. In the first engagement of the war, Washington defeated a French reconnaissance party in the southwestern part of Pennsylvania. With a surprise attack, the Virginians killed 10 French soldiers and took 21 prisoners. Despite this victory, the war did not begin well for the British. The British Government alienated potential Indian allies and colonial leaders failed to cooperate with General Edward Braddock. As the war waged on, it slowly started to involve the Spanish. Spanish King Charles III offered to come to the aid of his cousin, French King Louis XV, and their representatives signed an alliance known as the Family Compact. The agreement was that the
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