In order to step up my game I have decided to start a daily history post that I am calling class notes. These will be short ideas of things I am teaching every day. I will still continue to post the Historically Speaking newspaper column ever other week or so, but in between, I hope you enjoy these.
By the mid-1700s, England and France had become the two most dominant powers in Europe. As such, they were bound to fight it out for supremacy. In 1754, they began with what is known as the Great War for the Empire, or the Seven Years War. In many ways this was actually the first world war as the fighting happened not only in Europe, but also in the Americas, Africa, and Asia. In the end, the British won and became the most powerful nation in the world.
Though they were bound to fight, the spark for the conflict came from a little-known corner of the globe, the three forks region of the Ohio Territory in the Americas. Both the French and the British claimed the region and insisted that the other abandon it completely. The Governor of Virginia sent his militia to stake their claim to the forks and put the force under a young twenty-three-year-old commander. Being brash, when the young Lt. Colonial was informed by his Indian allies of a French force scouting the area, he led an attack that killed and captured them. Once captured, the Indian leader scalped and killed the French commander who happened to be on a diplomatic mission to the British. When the French army learned of the attack, they sent their entire force to capture the British outpost, starting the Seven Years War, one of the more important conflicts in European history.
In America, however, we do not refer to this conflict as the Seven Years War, we call it the French and Indian War and the young brash Lt. Colonial who started the entire conflict was named George Washington.