North American History: The 1st Three Intercontinental Wars
French and Iroquois Wars (encompassing King William’s War/ 1st Intercolonial War) (1642-1698)
The French and Iroquois Wars, or Beaver Wars, were a succession of bloody clashes fought by the Iroquois against the French and their Algonquin allies. The Iroquois relied on the beaver trade in order to obtain European goods and firearms from the Dutch. These firearms, in turn, had caused them to become so efficient at hunting beavers that they needed to expand their territory in order to find new hunting grounds. The Iroquois looked down on the other tribes who had edged in on their trade and they sought to displace the tribes who were growing rich through trade with the French. Initially, the Iroquois merely attacked those they saw as trade rivals, but eventually their brutal efficiency at waging war against the French allies led them into direct confrontation with the French. Armed by the Dutch and the English, Iroquois tribes drove rival tribes northwards and westwards, made raids on French homesteads and settlements, and blockaded Montréal. Finally, in the 1660s, France sent a small group of regular troops to New France to defend their settlers. These, combined with the Dutch loss of the New Netherlands to the English, helped lead to the pacification of the Iroquois. After a nearly twenty-year respite, the war resumed after the French began pushing aggressively into the western fur-trade, placing pressure on the Iroquois. The newly formed French militia was joined by regular troops and eventually became Canada’s first standing professional armed force. These French troops imitated the guerilla warfare of the Iroquois and became specialized in swift silent strikes against the Iroquois. They also carried out brutal raids against English settlements. The wars finally ended in 1698 when the Iroquois sued for peace with the French and signed the Great Peace of Montreal in 1701. The Iroquois now saw the English as a greater threat and saw themselves as holding the balance of power between the French and the English.
Queen Anne’s War/ 2nd Intercolonial War (1702 – 1713)
Corresponding with the War of Spanish Succession (1701 – 1714), Queen Anne’s War was fought in North America by the British against the Spanish and the French. Responding to the Spanish attack on Charleston, English colonists attacked and burned the Spanish-held city of St. Augustine, Florida. Later, in 1704, the Apalachee of Florida were massacred by the English, sold into slavery, and relocated. A second attack in 1706 by the French and Spanish on Charleston was also repulsed by the English. In 1703, in response to the destruction of the village of Beaubassin in 1696, Leneuf de Beaubassin, a French naval captain, led a few French troops and Abenaki Indians into Massachusetts. The deadly guerilla warriors laid waste to over 72 square kilometers (44 square miles) of colonial farmland and killed or captured nearly 200 colonists. In February of 1704, Hertel de Rouville accompanied by a force of Abenaki, Caughnawaga, and French-Canadian soldiers raided Deerfield, Massachusetts and killed over 50 settlers, capturing approximately 120. New England colonists responded in July of the same year by capturing the Acadian settlements of Minas and Beaubassin. Two attempts by English colonists to capture the Acadian fort of Port Royal failed in 1704 and 1707. Finally, Port Royal and all of Acadia were captured by British and colonial forces in 1710. A large British fleet floundered in their 1711 attempt to capture the French cities of Montréal and Québec. Finally, the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 brought a close to the war. The French were forced to recognize British control over the Iroquois and lost most of Acadia, Newfoundland and their trading posts in the Hudson Bay region to the British. The French retained their territory surrounding Montréal and Québec and the island of Cape Breton.
Dummer’s War/ 3rd Intercolonial War (1721 – 1725)
Dummer’s War was less of a war and more of series of clashes between the French and the English over competing land claims. Samuel de Champlain had explored the Kennebec River in Maine already in 1604 and the French considered it to be part of Acadia. Angered by the English settling along the Kennebec, the French supplied arms and ammunition and used their Jesuit missionary, Father Sébastien Rasle, to goad the Abenaki into launching raids on the encroaching English settlers. Finally, in July of 1721, a force of Abenaki delivered a letter addressed to Governor Samual Shute in which they demanded that the English settlers leave Abenaki land. The English responded in January of 1722 by launching a raid on the main Abenaki settlement of Norridgewock. The tribe was out hunting while their village was ransacked. The Abenaki, encouraged by their Jesuit father, responded by launching raids on English settlements on the Kennebec River. Governor Shute declared war on the Abenaki and offered £100 for every Indian scalp. In August of 1724, English troops snuck up on Norridgewock and launched a surprise attack, killing and scalping 26 Abenaki warriors. 14 Abenaki were wounded and the rest fled across the river. Refusing to capitulate, Father Rasle fought until he was shot through the head. The remaining Abenaki buried their dead and relocated to Québec. In December 1724, John Lovewell, a retired soldier, led a militia in response to an Abenaki raid. He and his men only managed to gain one Abenaki scalp. Another expedition launched in January of 1725, led to the killing and scalping of ten Abenaki in what is now Wakefield, New Hampshire. Lovewell, with a force of 46 men, launched his final raid in April. After killing and scalping a lone warrior, Lovewell’s force was ambushed by the Abenaki, resulting in the death of eight of Lovewell’s militia. In the resulting battle the Abenaki chief, Lovewell and twenty-six of the militia were killed.