France and Britain fight for supremacy

Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, France and Britain competed for supremacy in the world. Although France had four times Britain’s population and ten times its army, its navy was insignificant. Finally, in a world conflict involving colonies scattered around the world, naval supremacy proved determinant.

In North America during the 17th century neither empire was dominant. Territories, such as Acadia (today’s New Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New-Brunswick and the state of Main, US) changed hand regularly. The French, English and Scots tried to found settlements there. In 1632 France established a base of Port-Royal on the Annapolis Basis, but New England conquered the territory in 1654.

The British were forced to give up in 1670, but the French were annihilated in 1690… Well, in 1610, during the war of the Spanish Succession, part of Acadia was conquered by the British, but the French still controlled Cape Breton and today’s Prince Edward Island (ile St. Jean). Besides Eastern Main and New Brunswick were controlled by the natives Abenakis who were allied with France. France had to cede its claims over vast territories in the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713.

The French had to give up Newfoundland (retaining only fishing rights along the northern coast of the island). In the North, the French had to recognize British control over the Hudson Bay drainage basin where fur traders from both countries had been competing since 1670. Finally France had to give the Iroquois the access to the Great Lakes, thus New England was in full control of the region.

But all these cessions and conquests were yet to be confirmed in an even larger conflict which came in the 1750ies…

The Seven Years’ war changed Canada for ever.

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