In the early 1750s, French trappers and traders began expanding their ranges into the Ohio River valley and with them came the necessary political and military structures of New France needed to support their safety and trade. This naturally led to conflict with the British who also claimed this territory. Eventually, these conflicts resulted in military engagements and, in 1756, the British formally declared war against France.
Early in this war, the British suffered a series of defeats. The French had a broad network of Native American alliances and these allies engaged in “total warfare” against not just the British Army but against the British populace severely outstripping England’s ability to wage effective war on French interest in North America. In 1757, however, Parliament began to heavily fund the British expeditionary forces, not just in North America, but all over the world with a aim of not just defeating the French in North America but also displacing them in India, China, and the Caribbean. Prime Minster William Pitt financed Prussia’s struggle against France and her allies in Europe and reimbursed the colonies for the raising of armies in North America. By 1760, the French had been expelled from Canada, and by 1763 all of France’s allies in Europe had either made a separate peace with Prussia or had been defeated. In addition, Spanish attempts to aid France in the Americas had failed, and France suffered defeats major in India.
The Seven Years’ War (AKA the French and Indian War) ended with the signing of the treaties of Hubertusburg and Paris in February 1763. In the Treaty of Paris, France lost all claims to Canada and gave Louisiana to Spain, while Britain received Spanish Florida, Upper Canada, and various French holdings overseas. The treaty ensured the colonial and maritime supremacy of Britain and strengthened the 13 American colonies by removing their European rivals to the north and the south.
This victory came with a cost. Brittan was saddles with enormous debt (£133 billion – equivalent to £4.9 trillion today). Fifteen years later, French bitterness over the loss of most of their colonial empire contributed to their intervention in the American Revolution on the side of the Americans.