Meanwhile, back in Europe 1700-1763

6 01 2010

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.

Acadia and 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.


Meanwhile, back in Europe (1650-1700)

28 11 2009

Back in England this would be a half century of turmoil triggered by the English Civil wars from 1641-1651, that resulted in the execution of King Charles I, and the exile of his son, Charles II to Mainland Europe.  From the period 1651 to 1660 England was ruled as first a Commonwealth and then Oliver Cromwell’s Protectorate before Charles II returned to reclaim the throne in 1660.

Charles II would rule until his death in 1685.  During his reign he signed a secret pact with the French and promised to convert to Catholicism which he did on his deathbed.  This pact and conversion would lead to problems after his death, and have a large impact in New England.  His Catholic Brother, James II would become King for a few years before William of Orange deposed him in 1688 in The Glorious Revolution.  The English were none to happy about a Catholic Monarch.

King William III (William of Orange)

As you can probably guess, these shifting Kings and Governments reverberated back in the colonies.  Governors were appointed by Kings, Parliament had their agents there as well.  Dukes and Lords had landholdings and settlements.  All of them had to make decisions on where their loyalties lay and it impacted the individual colonists that were trying settle the land and make a few pounds on the side.  What a mess.

New Hampshire had once again gained separation from Massachusetts in 1679, and was governed by Edward Cranfield, a real character.  He was in New England mostly to scoop up as much wealth as possible by controlling who got what land that was granted to Mason and now being managed by his son.  Using the power of his office, he assigned councilors, dismissed and punished the ones that disagreed with him, convened and disbanded councils at will, etc.  He had tried raising all kinds of taxes, jailing people (including Pastors) and anything else he could think of to further his fortune. In the end, the colonists hated him.   His Sheriffs’ and Tax collectors were driven off or beaten and his orders ignored.  London finally gave him the boot in 1685, the same year James II ascended to the throne.  You can read all the political dirty details in Belknap Vol I, Chapter VIII.  It’s dry, but fascinating stuff.

James II appointed Edmund Andros, a Catholic like himself, Governor in New England December of 1686.  Andros was a loyal Royalist and another tyrant.

To particularize the many instances of tyranny and oppression which the country suffered from these men, is not within the design of this work. Let it suffice to observe, that the press was restrained; liberty of conscience infringed; exorbitant fees and taxes demanded, without the voice or consent of the people, who had no privilege of representation. The charter being vacated, it was pretended that all titles to land were annulled; and as to Indian deeds, Andros declared them no better than "the scratch of a bear’s paw." Landholders were obliged to take out patents for their estates which they had possessed forty or fifty years: for these patents, extravagant fees were exacted, and those, who would not submit to this imposition, had writs of intrusion brought against them, and their land was patented to others. To hinder the people from consulting about the redress of their grievances, town-meetings were prohibited, except one in the month of May, for the choice of town officers; and to prevent complaints being carried to England, no person was permitted to go out of the country without express leave from the governor.

Belknap V1 P119

Nice guy. But by 1689, with William of Orange ousting James II, he gets his comeuppance.

They believed Andros to be a papist; that he had hired the Indians, and supplied them with ammunition to destroy their frontier settlements; and that he was preparing to betray the country into the hands of the French.  At the same time, the large strides that King James the Second was making toward the establishment of popery and despotism, raised the most terrible apprehensions; so that the report of the landing of the Prince of Orange in England was received here with the greatest joy.

The people had now borne these innovations and impositions for about three years: Their patience was worn out, and their native love of freedom kindled at the prospect of deliverance. The news of a complete revolution in England had not reached them; yet so sanguine were their expectations, so eager were they to prove that they were animated by the same spirit with their brethren at home, that upon the rumor of an intended massacre in the town of Boston by the governor’s guards, they were wrought up to a degree of fury.  On the morning of the eighteenth of April, the town was in arms, and the country flocking in to their assistance. The governor, and those who had fled with him to the fort, were seized and committed to prison.

… Andros and his accomplices were sent home as prisoners of state, to be disposed of according to the king’s pleasure.

Belknap V1pp121-122

All of this brings us to King William’s War, or the First French and Indian War in New England.  It was New Englands part in the broader Nine Years War.  This war pitted King Louis the XIV of France against just about everyone else in Europe. 

Many of the next markers commemorate events from that war.

Meanwhile, back in Europe (1600)

24 10 2009

Next up are some the markers commemorating the first New Hampshire settlements.  Before starting them a brief look at the European political landscape is in order.

England and Scotland had not been yet united into one country when King James IV came into power in Scotland in 1581.  In March of 1603 he would ascend to the English Throne as James I, succeeding the last Tudor Monarch, Elizabeth I.

It was James I that authorized the creation of the Plymouth Company chartered to settle the New World. 

A patent had been granted by King James in 1606, limiting the dominion of Virginia, from the thirty-fourth to the forty-forth degree of northern latitude; which extent of territory had been divided into two parts, called North and South Virginia.  The latter was assigned to certain noblemen, knights and gentleman of London, the former to others in Bristol, Exeter and Plymouth.

After some time, the King, by his sole authority, costituted a council, consisting of forty noblemen, knights and gentlemen, by the name of  "The council established at Plymouth, in the county of Devon, for the planting, ruling and governing of New-England, in America.

The History of New Hampshire

Volume I

Jeremy Belknap


The Grant map.  Green area is Plymouth company, Red is London Company.

James I Mother has quite a story herself.  Mary, Queen of Scots. Here’s a dramatic – and brief – radio dramatization of her untimely execution:

The English and Spanish had been in an undeclared war from 1585-1604, raiding here and there and burning each others Navies and Shipping as the exploration and settling of the New World was just beginning.

The Spanish were busy in South America for the one-hundred years previous to the Plymouth Company.  Balboa crossed to the Pacific, opening up the Western coasts. The Incas, Aztecs and finally the Mayans all were conquered in their turn as Spain colonized South America and the East Indies.

The French had been exploring the Eastern Seaboard as well.  Verazzano mapped much of the coast in 1524.  They tried to set up colonies along the coast but were either frozen out, attacked by Indians, lacked supplies, or got beat up by the Spanish.  They focused most of their efforts after that exploring and settling the St. Laurence seaway, central Canada and the Great lakes.

The Dutch were busy trying to get a piece of the action, as were many others.

As if that weren’t enough, the Barbary Pirates had been harassing Shipping and taking captives for hundreds of years. 

All nations were susceptible.  Some people were ransomed back, or bought their way out.  Others were forced to convert to Islam, or sold into slavery.  They of course were also lured by the riches of the new world and tagged along terrorizing the West Indies and New World.

There was a lot of activity all up and down the east coast, inland and among the Islands in the Caribbean.  Everyone wanted a piece of the pie.  Boats coming and going, Cannon at the ready. Trade goods flowing back and forth, Native South Americans being enslaved – danger and discovery.

It was a good time to come to New Hampshire.