The French and Indian War

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!


United States

learning style
personality style
Lion, Beaver
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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  • Was the United States first colonized by United States citizens?
  • Since there was no such country at the time, what countries did have colonies in North America?

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 Dutch claimed land in North America.

globe and early European ship

As these European colonies grew, 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, 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, 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 attack started the French and Indian War.

The French and Indian War would eventually become a seven-year global war. 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.

  • Why did the war begin?
  • What countries and people were involved in the War?
  • Where was the war fought?
  • How did the war end?

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When you are finished watching the video, move on to the Got It? section to take a quiz on what you just watched.

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