Gallery 1 - Wars on Our Soil, earliest times to 1885
A View of the Taking of Quebec, courtesy of Library and Archives Canada, C-139911
Canadian War Museum
1 Vimy Place
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0M8
Tel. (819) 776-8652
toll-free 1-800-555-5621

Clash of Empires and The Battle of the Plains of Abraham


Introduction: The Seven Years' War

The Seven Years' War | French-British Rivalry in North America | A World War

The Seven Years' War

French and British settlements, (Canadian War Museum, 1.D.1.1-CGR3)
French and British settlements, 1755
(Canadian War Museum, 1.D.1.1-CGR3)

The Defeat of the French Fireships..., courtesy of Library and Archives Canada, C-4291
The Defeat of the French Fireships attacking the British Fleet at Anchor before Quebec, 28 June 1759
Painting by Dominic Serres
Courtesy of Library and Archives Canada, C-4291

One hundred and fifty years of French-British conflict in North America ended in the Seven Years' War and the British conquest of Canada.

The Seven Years' War began when a combined French-First Peoples force expelled British colonists from the Ohio valley in 1754. This local clash quickly escalated into a world war. Beginning in 1755, Britain and France sent thousands of professional soldiers to North America. A year later, hostilities spread to Europe and both nations formally declared war. By 1759, war raged in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, and the Caribbean, and Quebec was under attack by a British fleet and army.

Fighting ended in 1763 when France and Britain signed the Treaty of Paris. The outcome was a crushing British victory that made Great Britain the world's leading colonial power.

French-British Rivalry in North America

France and Britain exported their European rivalry to North America.

Even as the French founded Quebec City and fought to survive the Post-Contact Wars, the British established powerful colonies to the south. Caught between two empires, the land and seas from Quebec City to the Bay of Fundy quickly became a theatre of war. Here, the French and British fought for control of harbours and fishing grounds. Harbours became naval, merchant, and fishing ports, administrative and commercial centres.

A World War

The Seven Years' War was the first global conflict. Fighting began in North America and spread around the world.