This week in history: French and Indian War

By Cody Carlson

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 13 2013 6:36 p.m. MST

In his book “Crucible of War: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766,” historian Fred Anderson wrote: “France surrendered to Great Britain all territories and claims in North America east of the Mississippi River except New Orleans and guaranteed the unrestrained navigation of the river to all British subjects ... France also surrendered all fortifications built and all territories occupied in India since 1749.”

In central Europe, Prussia and Austria singed the Treaty of Hubertusburg on Feb. 15, 1763. This treaty proved not nearly as dramatic as the one concluded between Britain and France. Rather, Frederick and Maria Theresa simply agreed to return to the status quo ante bellum. The two monarchs swore an oath of friendship and Frederick, as an elector within the Holy Roman Empire, agreed to vote for Maria Theresa's son for emperor in the next election.

For the British colonists in North America the conclusion of the French and Indian War would have profound consequences for the post-war period. For the first time, London had taken a direct political interest in colonies and had paid a substantial sum of money for their defense. Before the war, Britain made money from the colonies but had spent little.

The war left Great Britain with a total wartime debt of approximately £146 million. It was that debt that led the king and parliament to experimenting with new taxes on the American colonies in the 1760s. The new taxes ultimately proved to be a major factor in the outbreak of the American Revolution.

Cody K. Carlson holds a master's degree in history from the University of Utah and currently teaches at Salt Lake Community College. He is also the co-developer of the History Challenge iPhone/iPad apps. Email: ckcarlson76@gmail.com

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