The Great Frontier War: Britain, France, and the Imperial Struggle for North America, 1607-1755

By William R. Nester | Go to book overview

Introduction

I heard the bullets whistle, and, believe me, there is something charming in the sound.

—George Washington

If asked when George Washington penned those valiant words, many might well attribute them to some battle of the American Revolution. Actually, Washington uttered them as a hotheaded, reckless, gangly youth of 23 in the French and Indian War (1754–1763), a struggle in which he fought for rather than against Britain. Indeed, no one was more responsible for sparking that war than Washington, first by trudging through the wilderness in the dead of winter with a message from Virginia Governor Dinwiddie to the French to abandon their forts in the upper Ohio River valley; then a half year later by ordering the war’s first shots when his troops ambushed Captain Jumonville; and finally, when he ignominiously surrendered his force at Fort Necessity and unwittingly signed a surrender document in French naming him Jumonville’s assassin! Washington was no hero on either side of the Atlantic in that war.

What is popularly known as the ‘‘French and Indian War’’ was the last and overwhelmingly the largest of five wars fought between the French and British for mastery over the eastern half of North America. The fighting raged not just in eastern North America but across swaths of Europe (where it was known as the Seven Years’ War), the Caribbean Islands, West Africa, India, the East Indies, Argentina, the Philippines, and on the seas linking those far-flung lands. The war was the first fought around the world.

Overshadowing the war’s scale was its results. The last French and Indian

-ix-

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The Great Frontier War: Britain, France, and the Imperial Struggle for North America, 1607-1755
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • 1 - Trade and Conquest 1
  • 2 - Economies and Societies 53
  • 3 - Armies and Navies 109
  • 4 - 1754 175
  • 5 - 1755 217
  • Bibliography 275
  • Index 315
  • About the Author 327
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