At the beginning of the 18th Century Europe was relatively quiet (for them). The end of King William’s War in 1697 held but would soon be shattered by more disputes of lines of succession. This time it was in Spain.
King William would die in 1702, and Queen Anne would rise to the throne. As with all changes in the monarch there were those for and against. Scotland grumbled and passed resolutions. England whined and passed counter resolutions. In the end Queen Anne was seated.
The big problem was a successor after Anne. By 1700 she had been pregnant 18 times. Sadly, she miscarried or delivered still born children 13 times and of the live births, only one survived past 2 years of age. His name was William and died in 1700 at age 11.
Almost immediately, Great Britain became involved in the War of Spanish Succession. The King of Spain had died and left the Kingdom to Philip V who just happened to be the grandson of King Louis the XIV of France. This unfortunate event threatened to unite the thrones of Spain and France because Philip was also in line to the French throne. What a mess! Never missing the opportunity for a good war the British, Dutch, Portuguese and the Holy Roman Empire quickly joined forces to once more beat up the French and Spanish.
And just like the previous war spilled over to the new world this one would as well. We know it as Queen Anne’s War, or the 2nd French and Indian War. The war in the new world stretched from South America to Canada. Much of the fighting was by privateers in the Caribbean and along the coasts of South America, the Gulf of Mexico and Florida. New England would play her part in the north.
The French occupied what was then known as Acadia that includes what is now large parts of Canada including Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. They also controlled a large hunk of Eastern Maine. As in the previous war the French used the Indians in their territories to raid and pillage the English in New England.
The French Territories, and New England 1700 (click for larger) Swiped from the Maine State Archives, thanks Maine!
The war continued until the spring of 1713, and was concluded by the signing of the Treaty of Utrecht. England gained control of Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Eastern Maine and New Brunswick. In Europe it established fixed national borders, many of which survive to the present.
Queen Anne died in 1714 and would be succeeded by George I. During his reign things would be relatively quite on the war front. Apart from a minor rebellion by his son (George, Prince of Wales) after he bore him a Grandson, also named … wait for it … George. Yes, the future King George III was causing trouble even as he was born. We’ll learn a lot more about him when we come to the American Revolution.
There was one major war on the continent during his rule, the War of the Quadruple Alliance. Once again the spat was over succession to the Spanish throne, and who owned parts of Italy. This time Britain and France were on the same side. What a fickle bunch. The war which lasted from 1718 to 1720 was finally settled. There were no battles in the colonies as a result of this war.
George I ruled to his death in 1727, and was followed by his son, George II. This time New England wouldn’t be able to escape the continental spat. England went to war in 1740 in the War of Austrian Succession! Why is it always new royalty that starts these things? It took 4 years for the war to make it across the Atlantic, King George’s War (the 3rd French and Indian War) would rage in New England from 1744 to 1748. I’ll cover this war more in depth with the appropriate Historical Markers.
The end of the war wasn’t the end of the argument, however. This time the conflict started in New England! The 4th French and Indian War began in 1754 and this time spread east across the Atlantic and by 1756 had most of the world shooting at each other. The war ended in 1763, three years after the death of George II. There will be much more detail about this war in posts to come, as it was one of many triggers of the American Revolution.
Finally a very short note about that baby that caused a ruckus at his birth. King George III assumed the throne in 1760 after the death of his father.
There will be much more on this brightly dressed fellow to come. You can count on it.