The Seven Years’ War was a war that some would call a world war. This war was in the North American colonies, Europe, the Caribbean, South America, India, the Philippines, and West Africa. In North America the Seven Years’ War was called the French and Indian War, everywhere else it was call just plain Seven Years’ War. Britain and France officially declared war in 1756 starting the Seven Years’ War.
In the Battle of the Monongahela the troops that had been dispatched to America under General Braddock arrived in May of 1755. Braddock added George Washington to his army and set out for the Ohio country to defeat the French. His first goal was to conquer the fort along the banks of the Monongahela River; Fort Duquesne. Braddock, who was impatient with his heavy artillery, took a flying force of 1300 men. The soldiers crossed the Monongahela river before the French and their Indian allies had time to set an ambush. The French and Indians had received reinforcements and would not give up without a fight. Lacking experience in woods fighting, the British troops soon became disorganized and even started firing on each other. Braddock regained some control, but after three hours of fighting, he was shot in the lung and fell to the ground dead. Washington organized a rear guard for the retreating (and fleeing) British soldiers, but 878 were reported dead or wounded after the battle.
Other British offensive moves were made in 1755, but with little or no successes. The French remained dominant in the Ohio country for 3 more years after Braddock’s defeat in 1755. Finally Britain declared war on France, expanding the battle ground to Europe and intensified conflicts in North America. From 1756-1758, the French had the upper hand. The British forces suddenly had their fortune turn in 1759. This year was internationally remembered for the sudden wealth and growth of the British Empire. It was called Annus Mirabilis. Then in 1760 the British capture of Ticonderoga, Quebec, and Fort Niagara effectively ended the French resistance in North America.
Britain hoped to avoid a massive war, but this hope did not prevail, the French took a large army to Menorca, a Mediterranean island owned by Britain. When the British could not bring aid fast enough they surrendered to the French.
Britain’s ally, Prussia, was ruled by Frederick III who saw this growing war as an opportunity to expand his small country in Europe. Dividing his army to guard Prussia, he struck out to Saxony in the east. Because Austria was right beside Saxony, Austria rushed to Saxony’s aid, but were unable to defeat the dominant Prussian army. The Prussians forced the surrender of the army of Saxony and made the soldiers join the Prussian army. This occupation of Saxony surprised Europe and strengthened the anti-Prussian alliance. Britain stood by Prussia and began shipping soldiers and money to support the war on the mainland of the continent. The battle over the center of Europe quickly upset the region for the next six year.
1757 was marked mostly by Prussian successes, but 1758-1760 resulted in defeat after defeat. During this difficult time for Prussia, only the support of Britain, the neighboring ally of Hanover, and the determination of the king of Frederik III kept them fighting. Frederick’s position became dire after his defeat at the battle of Kunersdorf, where he lost half his army. The Russians who defeated him, and the Austrians, who saw an opportunity, both advanced on Berlin and had a chance at destroying Prussia. Both forces became wary of advancing too far beyond their supplies, and withdrew, in what Frederik called the Miracle of the House of Brandenburg. Though pushed to their limits several times in the war, the Prussians and Hanoverians on the mainland survived the war intact. Thanks to the death of the Russian Empress the second Miracle of the House of Brandenburg saved the Prussians form utter defeat. Russia arranged the treaty of St. Petersburg in 1762, leaving Austria to face Prussia alone and giving Frederik renewed hope. The British were weary of the war and demanded that Frederik arrange peace or forfeit the British help. This lead to the Treaty of Paris in 1763.
In addition to gaining control of all of Eastern North America, the British gained territories in the Caribbean. They were able to gain control of most of Florida from the Spanish, as well as capturing Havana, the capital of Cuba. The conflict in South America were strictly between the Spanish and Portuguese. The Spaniards surprised the Portuguese by capturing the Colonia de Sacramento and Rio Grande de Sao Pedro These cities in Uruguay and Brazil respectively, were important port cities for Portugal. The territories were returned at the end of the Seven Years’ War.
The British and the French had disputed for years over who had more trading area in India. In the course of the war, the British captured nearly every French fort on the coast of India and conquered France’s ally Bengal. While the forts were returned at the end of the war, Britain became the predominant European force in India moving forward. While they were acquiring colonies from everywhere else in the world, the British also captured Manila, the capital city of the Philippines it was an import port for the spanish. The British were unable to control the rest of the war. Western Africa had been slowly colonized and built up by the French during the colonization era. In the Seven Years’ War, the British captured the French colony of Senegal. This and the British’s other gains came as part of the Annus Mirabilis. 1759 is remembered as the year of miracles because the remarkable string of victories the British empire managed. For the first several year of the Seven Years’ War, Britain was a factor, but did not accomplish much. However, in the second half of the war they expanded their colonies, destroyed the French navy, and helped Hanover and Prussia on the European mainland.
In conclusion the Seven Years’ War was a expensive, bloody war for the countries involved. At the end of the day almost nothing was accomplished as the treaties were organized status quo ante bellum. The major winner was Britain while the major loser was France.