The Conquest: part of a World War

Fort Chambly National Historic Site

British army parading through Montréal's streets between stone houses Entry of the British Troups into Montréal
© National Archives of Canada / Sherriff Scott, R.C.A. / C-11043

Over the centuries, most of the wars involving New France and the 13 colonies actually began in Europe. However, the war known as the Seven Years' War, and that ended in the Conquest, was an exception.

The first clash of this war took place in America, in the Ohio Valley on July 3, 1754. A detachment of French, of Canadians and of Indigenous took Fort Necessity.

In Europe, the war between France and England started in 1756 and played itself out on various fronts: America, the Antilles, West Africa and the East Indies. It was a war for world supremacy.

In America the conflict was over territorial expansion. The English colonies were starting to feel the squeeze on the land they saw as theirs. They wanted to move out towards the west but ran into the borders of New France. Therefore England decided to take drastic measures to chase the French off the continent.

One of the three English offensives followed the tactical route up the Hudson River into Lake Champlain and on to the Richelieu River. Fort Chambly was square in the middle of the conflict. It also provided supplies to forts Carillon and Saint-Frederic to the south of Lake Champlain.

The British forces, superior in number, moved in on the French from all sides. On September 18, 1759, they captured Quebec. On September 1, 1760, they took Fort Chambly after having captured, one by one, all the French forts along the Richelieu River and Lake Champlain. On September 8, 1760 New France capitulated.

The Seven Years' War closed with the Treaty of Paris in 1763. Under the terms of the treaty, France turned over most of its possessions in America, and this marked the beginning of British reign in Canada.

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