The first major war that the colonies of the United States participated in was the French and Indian War. The war was between the four groups of the British and American colonists and the French and some native American tribes. The war lasted from 1756 to 1763.
The French controlled the Mississippi and the Ohio river valleys. They began building forts at strategic locations in these areas. The British thought this was a threat, so they started building forts as well. During this period the French started moving into areas that the British had claimed.
Problems started in 1754 when the Virginia governor sent Major George Washington to evict the British from Fort Duquesne. Before they got to the Fort, they came across a French scouting party. Washington ordered his troops to fire on them. They killed 12 and wounded 22 of the scouting party. The war was on.
During the early part of the war years, the British were defeated numerous times. General Braddock and his troops lost a major battle to a small band of the enemy when they tried to take Fort Duquesne.
In 1756 the war started to turn in favor of the British and colonists. This was because William Pitt had become the new British Secretary of State. He immediately started investing more money into the war effort. The new resources started to turn the tide in battles. The British started capturing more French forts.
In 1759 the British won the battle of the Plains of Abraham. This allowed them to take over Quebec. The very next year they took over Montreal and won major control of Canada. During the period of time that followed, the battles became smaller. However, because the British and colonists were better supplied, they were more capable than their French counterparts.
On February 1, 1763 the war officially ended. France gave up all it’s rights with the signing of the Treaty of Paris. This meant that the French gave up all land claims in North America.
The French and Indian war led to future major consequences for all parties concerned. First, the British spent lots of money and resources to win the war. Second, the cost, for controlling these areas won, were high. Third, the British decided to add more taxes on the colonists, to pay for their loss in revenue. Fourth, the colonists learned how to fight. Fifth, leaders colonist leaders like George Washington were developed for the future Revolutionary war. Sixth, this would lead the French into becoming allies with the colonists, during the American Revolution. Seventh, it would eventually lead to the expansion of America west of the Mississippi river.
The French and Indian war was a prelude to the Revolutionary war and the birth and liberation of America from the British.