Contributor: Meghan Vestal. Lesson ID: 12231
The U.S. had a very difficult birth. It was formed through many wars and conflicts among many foreign countries within its borders. Learn how important the largely forgotten French and Indian War was!
After Christopher Columbus landed in North America in 1492, European nations began establishing settlements in North America.
By the 1700s, the eastern halves of present-day Canada and the United States and the Caribbean were occupied by European countries. The British and French occupied the largest territories, although the Spanish and the Dutch also claimed land in North America.
As these European colonies continued to grow, tension grew among the European nations. They began fighting over land needed to expand their colonies and natural resources that could be traded in Europe.
To make matters worse, there were no clear boundaries that defined where one nation’s land began and ended.
The French and the British had significant tension over the Ohio Valley, that was centered between two regions occupied by the French and the British. The Ohio Valley provided access to the Mississippi River, the ability for each European power to expand their territory in North America, and natural resources used for trade.
The French began setting up forts in the Ohio Valley, which angered the British. The British officer, George Washington (who would go on to lead the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War and become the first president of the United States), led an attack on the French forts, hoping to force the French out of the Ohio Valley. This attacked started the French and Indian War.
The French and Indian War would eventually become a global war that would last for seven years. Many historians have referred to it as the first world war because it was the first time many major world powers were involved in armed conflict with one another.
To learn more about the French and Indian War, watch the video below and take notes on the following questions.
When you are finished watching the video, move on to the Got It? section to take a quiz on what you just watched.