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Shifting Loyalties
Digital History ID 658

Author:   Ostenaco
Date:1765

Annotation: France and England, and their Indian allies, fought four major wars between 1689 and 1763. King William's War (1689-1697) erupted when England's Indian allies raided French settlements near Montreal. France and its allies retaliated by attacking the Iroquois and English in New York and frontier New England. British attempts to seize Quebec in 1690 and 1691 failed. The Treaty of Ryswick restored the pre-war boundaries.

A new struggle, Queen Anne's War (1702-1713) broke out when the French and their Indian allies raided English settlements on the New England frontier. Fighting then spread to the southern frontier, where English colonists in the Carolinas attacked Spanish territory in Florida. An English invasion of Quebec in 1710 failed, but in the Treaty of Utrecht ending the war, France ceded Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and French territory around Hudson Bay to England and abandoned its claim to sovereignty over the Iroquois. Following the war conflict persisted in the South, where English settlers in the Carolinas destroyed the Yamassee Indians, who were allies of the French, while the French brutally put down an uprising by the Natchez Indians and their Chickasaw allies.

The third war for empire, King George's War (1744-1748) began when France attempted to recapture Nova Scotia. With France forced to concentrate it military powers in Canada, English traders were able to move into western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio.

The stage was now set for the climactic conflict, the French and Indian War (1754-1763), which ended France's colonial empire in North America. The war grew out of French efforts to control the fur trade north of the Ohio River by expelling English traders from the region and building a chain of forts along the Allegheny River. British victories in the war led many Indian tribes to shift their affiliations to the English. The following speech by a Cherokee chief illustrates this change in allegiances.


Document: The bloody tomahawk, so long lifted against our brethren the English, must now be buried deep, deep in the ground, never to be raised again; and whoever shall act contrary to any of these articles, must expect a punishment equal to his offence. Should a strict observance of them be neglected a war must necessarily follow, and a second peace may not be so easily obtained. I therefore once more recommend to you, to take particular care of your behavior towards the English whom we must now look upon as ourselves, they have the French and Spaniards to fight, and we enough of our own color, without meddling with either nation. I desire likewise, that the white warrior, who has ventured himself here with us, may be well used and respected by all, wherever he goes amongst us.

Source: Henry Timberlake, The Memoirs of Lieut. Henry Timberlake (London, 1765), 2-6, 9-11, 28-41.

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