Queen Anne’s War (1702-1713)

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Also Known As the War of Spanish Succession
Queen Anne’s War (1702-1713)

The colonists enjoyed a short-lived peace before Queen Anne’s War broke out. The war was essentially a fight over control of New France and Acadia. It included several massacres. Bands of Indians and Frenchmen attacked the Maine coast early in the War. Hundreds of people, including women and children, were killed or captured. In February of 1704, during an extreme cold snap, a party consisting of around 400 Indians and Frenchmen descended upon Deerfield intent on destroying it and slaughtering its inhabitants. Almost 50 people were killed in the attack, while about double that amount were captured. Haverhill, Massachusetts experienced a similar attack a few years later.

In both 1704 and 1707 the colonists tried, unsuccessfully, to attack Port Royal, Acadia using a naval assault. In 1710, the British government finally sent aide to the colonists in the form of a small fleet of ships, which was led by Colonel Nicholson. An armament from Boston met up with those forces to conduct another attack on Port Royal. They were finally successful and Port Royal came under their control. It was renamed Annapolis, after the queen of England at the time. Acadia itself was renamed Nova Scotia, and it is still called that today.

That was the first major English success of the war. At that point, they hatched a scheme to take Canada. A fleet of ships, along with an army, led by Sir Hovendon Walker came to Boston soon after that. The Massachusetts governor, Governor Dudley, ordered troops of colonists to join that army. The fleet consisted of 9 warships, 60 transports, and several smaller ships. Approximately 12,000 men were aboard those craft, or otherwise participating in the battle. The fleet proceeded north in August of 1711. Colonel Nicholson and a group of 2,300 men moved north by land along Lake Champlain at the same time.

It seemed like New France was likely to fall fairly easily, but that was not to be. Admiral Walker turned out to be a failure as a commander. He was a coward and nothing came of the expected attack. When he lost 8 ships in thick fog that had settled at the mouth of the St. Lawrence, he stopped the fleet in its tracks. He believed that Providence (God) had delivered the fog as a message to save his men from “freezing, starvation, and cannibalism.” When he heard the news, Nicholson was angry. He burned the wooden forts that his men had constructed and led them to Albany, where he disbanded his forces.

At the time, Vaudreuil was Canada’s governor-general. He knew that the enemy was approaching and tried to prepare for the attack. The people were frantic, but they soon heard that the fleet had turned back. They believed that God had saved them by destroying their enemy for them. The people were ordered to conduct a solemn mass each month for a year and to sing the song of Moses after those masses were each held.

Neither group particularly wanted the war to go on at that point. So, the Treaty of Utrecht was signed. It stipulated that France would give England the Hudson Bay territory, as well as Newfoundland and Acadia. It also made the Five Nations subjects of Great Britain. The king of France had failed to keep Acadia under French control, despite his final efforts.

The Treaty of Utrecht brought about peace, but not for long. There were still many unsettled problems and unanswered questions in the area. For example, limits to Acadia had not been established. There had also been no clear boundary marked between Canada and the British colonies. Control of the Mississippi Valley was also in question. Thirty years after the Treaty of Utrecht was signed, conflicts arose once again.

Although he lost Acadia, the king of France kept control of Cape Breton Island, which meant that the French controlled the mouth of the St. Lawrence River. The king chose to have a fortress constructed on the island and call it Louisburg. However, King Louis XIV died soon after that, before the fort could be finished. So, his successors completed the project. The point of the fort was to provide protection for the St. Lawrence Valley, as well as to try to eventually regain control of Acadia.

Throughout the peacetime, the French expanded their holdings in the Mississippi Valley area, rather than just settling for establishing Louisburg. Iberville, a naval officer, was sent to the area in 1698 to establish a lower Mississippi colony. He hurried to control that land before the English could take it over. He traveled up the Mississippi River quite a distance before encountering an Indian tribe. Their chief gave him a letter that Tonty had written 13 years prior about efforts to locate La Salle’s lost colony. There was no good place to establish a colony along the Mississippi’s banks, at least according to Iberville. So, he created the Biloxi Bay colony. A Mobile Bay colony followed a few years later. Bienville, who was one of Iberville’s brothers, founded New Orleans in 1718. In 1722, New Orleans officially became Louisiana’s capital.

France now had footholds in both the Mississippi River region and Canada. However, there were approximately 2,000 miles of wilderness between the two. So, they needed to establish more control over the area between their two outposts. That led to the construction of a series of French military posts and forts, including forts at Detroit and Niagara. They also built a fort at Crown Point, New York, despite it being out of their official territory at the time. The French also founded Kaskaskia and Vincennes in Illinois country and continued to move south. Meanwhile, those in the south continued to move north, attempting to bridge their two groups. They constructed a total of over 60 forts from New Orleans all the way up to Montreal. That gave them possession of the entire area from Florida and Mexico all the way to the shores of the Arctic Ocean, except for a small area in the east, which was still in possession of the English, and the area around Hudson Bay. It seemed as though America was going to be developed based on Latin cultures, as opposed to according to the views and cultures of the Anglo-Saxons. However, that wasn’t the last battle for possession. King George’s War was yet to come, along with more conflicts after that.