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Seven Years War (1756-1763)


Diplomatic Revolution - shifting alliances in Europe

See Diplomatic Revolution post

  • France and Britain continue to be rivals

  • Prussia and Austria continue to be rivals

  • But France shifts alliance from Prussia to Austria

  • And Britain shifts alliance from Austria to Prussia



(Seven Years War was 1st global war)


  • Continuation of the War of Austrian Succession

  • Conflict began when Frederick II (Prussia) overran Saxony 1756

  • Frederick's action activated the coalition (France, Austria, Russia, Sweden)

  • Coalition closed in on Frederick

  • Elizabeth (Russia) died 1762

  • Succeeded by weak Peter III (who liked Frederick)

  • Russia pulled out of war.

  • The rest of the powers distrusted each other and were tired of war

  • The coalition fell apart and war ended.

  • Peace in 1763

  • Prussia returned Saxony to Austria

  • Austrians recognized Prussian control over Silesia (taken in War of Austrian Succession)


  • While fighting taking place in Europe, France and Britain fighting in North America

  • France and Britain competing over the Ohio Valley.

  • French strengthened their position

  • By building forts along the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence River and Mississippi

  • But France concentrated efforts in Europe

  • While British left fighting in Europe to Prussians

  • War began 1755

  • When British attacked French stronghold near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


  • French East India Company and British East India Company

  • Competing for trade in India

  • Both trying to take advantage of declining power of the Mughals (India's Muslim rulers)

  • By making alliances with competing princes

  • By 1715, India had split into bickering independent kingdoms.

  • At stake: colonial dominance and millions of sterling in trade.

  • After 1756

  • Battle between Fr. and Br. in India coalesced with Seven Years War in Europe

  • Again France concentrated on battle in Europe.

  • End

  • British crushed French

  • Subdued resisting Indian states and strengthened its power

  • In 1858, British crown ruled India directly

  • No longer ruled through British East India Company

  • Called the British Raj


  • British naval power overwhelmed the French and their Spanish allies in the Caribbean



  • War ends with Peace of Paris 1763

  • France's navy was crippled by the war

  • Prussia: Frederick the Great's reputation went up

  • But Prussia weakened because of battles

  • Territorial shifts

  • Europe

  • Austria not able to take Silesia

  • But stopped Prussia from taking Saxony

  • Territory back to status quo ante bellum (status before the war)

  • North America

  • France gave up territories in mainland North America

  • British got Quebec

  • Louisiana divided at Mississippi River: west to Spain, east to British

  • Spanish Florida to British

  • India

  • Britain returned French trading ports but French fortifications were destroyed

  • Caribbean

  • Spain gets Cuba and gives up Florida

  • France keeps West Indian colonies of Martinique and Guadeloupe

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