King George’s War (1744–1748)

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King George’s War (1744–1748)

The North American conflict that was part of the War of Austrian Succession was known as King George’s War. It took place from 1744 to 1748. It was also the third war out of four that made up the well-known French and Indian Wars. The first of those wars was called the War of Jenkin’s Ear because English merchant Captain Robert Jenkins had his ear cut off by a Spanish commander, who then told Captain Jenkins to deliver his cut off ear to King George II. The next conflict occurred in 1739 between Britain and Spain, but it mostly only took place in the British Province of Georgia and in the Caribbean Sea. When the War of Austrian Succession broke out in 1744, large parts of Europe got involved and Britain was pitted against Spain and France.In 1740, the emperor of Austria, Charles VI, died. He was the last male in the House of Hapsburg line. So, Maria Theresa, who was his daughter, took his place. However, other people made claims to the throne, which caused a major war to break out. That war involved almost every European nation. England and France were also on opposing sides in that conflict. Although, the two countries did not actually officially declare war against each other until 1744. Most of that conflict did not occur in America, except for the fact that Louisburg was captured, and the fact that Indian massacres were still taking place.

Louisburg was located on Cape Breton Island. It took 6 million dollars to build the fortress itself. It featured 100 cannons and walls that were between 20 and 30 feet high. The walls marked off a circumference of 2 and a half miles, which made up the fort. The French took great pride in Louisburg and its ability to supposedly keep out any unwanted intruders. However, it was defeated by a group of 1,000 or so farmers and fishermen from New England.

King George’s War Map

Governor William Shirley of Massachusetts instigated the attempt to take Louisburg from the French, along with Commander William Pepperell, who was a resident of Maine. New York provided artillery for the battle, while Pennsylvania provided provisions and New England provided the manpower for the battle. The fleet that traveled to Louisburg was made up of more than 100 ships of various sizes. They were also joined by 4 Men-of-War ships controlled by the British. Those ships came from the West Indies and were under the command of Commodore Warren. On May 1, 1745, the group reached Louisburg. Richard Gridley, a Boston resident, was the master engineer in charge of artillery. He also served in two more wars later. The battle took 6 weeks. Towards the end of that time, a 64-gun French warship came to the fort’s aide, but the English fleet captured it. The fort surrendered on June 17, 1745 and control was given over to Great Britain.The king of France was greatly disturbed by the loss of Louisburg. He was desperate to regain control of it. So, he sent a fleet led by D’Annville. However, upon the death of D’Annville and the suicide of his successor, the attempt was aborted. Another fleet was sent by the king the next year, but the English captured that fleet. Soon after that, the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle was signed.

The Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle restored possession of property to those who had owned that property prior to the war. In other words, Louisburg was given back to the French. However, the English colonists who had fought to capture Louisburg were greatly disturbed by the fact that their hard-won victory was reversed and they were never consulted. That was one of many incidents that eventually led to America wanting its own system of government separate from England. They felt as if those overseas shouldn’t be in charge of determining their fates or the fates of the lands.