The Seven Years War and its Impact on the First British Empire

Introduction

The seven year war was a serious military war that happened from 1756 to 1763. The war happened between Prussia and Great Britain including a coalition of smaller States of Germany against a grouping that included nations like France, Russia, Australia, Saxony, and the nation of Sweden. The war broke out after Australia had attempted to win back the province of Silesia. Silesia is a region in central Europe that is primarily situated in Southwest Poland and lies in the northern part of the Czech Republic. After the First World War, the region of Silesia was divided amongst Czechoslovakia, Poland and Germany1. After the Second World War, Poland occupied most of Germany’s Silesia. Silesia is a very rich region hence the scramble for it during the Seven year war. The Seven Year War was the first global war in history and it was the first time Russia was becoming involved in entirely European issues.

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The Seven Year War

The Seven Year War that took place in Europe started in 1756 by the invasion of Saxony. This was done by the French Siege of the British Minorca located around the Mediterranean Sea and Fredrick the Great. This conflict resulted into a serious bloody stalemate that ended up claiming lives of many people2. In August of 1756, Fredrick the Great decided to lead his troops into the neighboring Saxony; he had suspected that a coalition that was put in place by Chancellor Wenzel Anton Von Kaunitz of Australia would attack him during the next spring. His move was therefore to strike first before he was attacked by the Chancellor.

He even managed to integrate the Saxony’s army into his own. This seemed to have strengthened his troop and was therefore well placed to fight even more. The Chancellor of Australia had put in place the coalition for the purposes of recapturing the region Silesia from Prussia. Prussia captured the region during the Australian succession war. As much as the war was fought over the rich region of Silesia, there were other reasons that fuelled it. This involved enormous competition against the nations of France and Great Britain to capture more colonies. Besides, Australia and Prussia struggled to be the most powerful nation in the European region then known as Germany3.

During the war, Britain was able to conquer Canada. During the same period of the war, the American colonists never needed any protection from Great Britain. In fact, the attempt to tax the colonists to facilitate the war led to the beginning American Revolution4. During the Seven Year War, France incurred a lot of debt. This scenario seemed to have been amongst the issues that led to the French Revolution. In fact, the great humiliation suffered by the French army in the process of the war possibly sparked major reforms that were later utilized by Napoleon. Even though the war might have been centered on the recapture of Silesia by opposing nations5, it seemed more oriented towards the expansion of territories especially by France and Britain. At the end of t he war, Britain is declared to emerge victorious over France giving the notion that the war which majorly involved the whole world was only between Britain and France.

The impact of the war on the first British Empire

The first British Empire existed from 1583 to 1783. The Treaty of Paris that was signed in 1763 had some significant consequences for the future of the first British Empire. The future of France as a colonial power in North America was diminished by the recognition of the claims made by the British to Rupert’s Land. The New France ceded to Britain; this left a good portion of the French population to be under the control of Britain.

Just like France, Spain also ceded Florida to the control of the British. In India, France was still in control due to the Carnatic War; however, the military restriction coupled with the obligation of supporting the British client states effectively left the Indian future to be under the control of Britain. At the end of the Seven Year War in Europe, Britain claimed victory over France hence making Britain be the dominant colonial power at that time6.

Conclusion

The Seven Year War is considered, by all standards, as the First World War in history; it was majorly fought to scramble for Silesia. Other reasons that might have led to the war include the great competition staged by other colonialists against France and Britain for more colonies. The fight over Silesia was motivated by its rich status. It can be considered to be one of the contributors to the French Revolution which is one of the bloodiest revolutions that had ever occurred.

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The war ended in 1763 with Britain emerging victorious over France. At the end of the Seven Year War, Britain’s first empire enlarged. This is due to the fact that the prospect of France as a colonial power in North America was diminished by the recognition of the claims made by the British to Rupert’s Land and also with ceding of regions like India to the control of Britain.

Bibliography

Alison, Archibald. 1874. History of Europe from the commencement of the French revolution in 1789, to the restoration of the Bourbons in 1815. Harvard University.

Arquilla, John. 1992. Dubious battles: aggression, defeat, and the international system. Washington DC. Taylor & Francis.

Edmonds, Max. 2007. A Brutal Bloody Business. North Carolina. Lulu.

F. Longman. 2009. Frederick the Great and the Seven Years War. Charleston. BiblioBazaar, LLC.

Skocpol, Theda. 1979. States and social revolutions: a comparative analysis of France, Russia, and China. Cambridge University Press.

Tägil, Sven and Gerner, Kristian. 1999. Regions in Central Europe: the legacy of history. London. Purdue University Press.

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Footnotes

  1. Tägil, Sven and Gerner, Kristian. 1999. Regions in Central Europe: the legacy of history. London. (Purdue University Press.), p 221.
  2. Edmonds, Max. 2007. A Brutal Bloody Business. (North Carolina. Lulu.). p 59.
  3. Edmonds, Max. 2007. A Brutal Bloody Business. (North Carolina. Lulu.), p 61-78.
  4. Alison, Archibald. 1874. History of Europe from the commencement of the French revolution in 1789, to the restoration of the Bourbons in 1815. (Harvard University), p 465.
  5. F. Longman. 2009. Frederick the Great and the Seven Years War. Charleston. BiblioBazaar, LLC.), p 147.
  6. Skocpol, Theda. 1979. States and social revolutions: a comparative analysis of France, Russia, and China. (Cambridge University Press.), p60.
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