The French and Indian War was essentially an extension of the Seven Years War between Britain and France. The participants in these engagements were the British and French, but mainly British colonists in North America and French colonists in North America. The name got 'Indian' added to it thanks to the involvement of Native Americans on the French side, though they actually fought on both sides of the conflict.
Origins of the French and Indian War
The Seven Years War mostly took place in Europe. Nonetheless, the official dates for both the Seven Years War and the related French and Indian War are 1754 to 1763. The conflict was one between two countries an ocean away from North America.
At the time of the Seven Years War and subsequently the French and Indian War, North America was divided by ownership of several countries. The eastern portion of what is now the United States was largely shared by France and England. They were not getting along well in Europe and the conflict carried over to the colonies. With the help of their parent nations, the colonists were sent to war, each fighting for the country that owned their respective colonies.
The colonists had problems of their own. Each side felt that the other was encroaching on their territory or their power. There were skirmishes and even massacres. There were attempts to enforce trade restrictions that turned violent. By the time war broke out, there was plenty of animosity to feed it.
The French and Indian War
The French and Indian War was a brutal one. Three entirely different cultures with many subcultures among the natives collided in a country none had yet to tame since the first Europeans arrived. There were rumors of cannibalism, mutilation by the natives and more.
The reason so much emphasis is put on the Native Americans fighting on the side of the French during the French and Indian War, is that France made an important alliance with numerous tribes. Around the Great Lakes and some regions south of them, France and the local tribes aligned and brought about the largest native involvement in the war. It was not the first and would not be the last time that British colonists went to war against the natives.
Aftermath of the French and Indian War
In an odd twist, it was the French and Indian War that led to the American Revolution in a roundabout way. The British colonists fought for England and were taxed by England to pay for the war once it was over. These taxes were one of the reasons the colonies rebelled only a little more than a decade after the war's end-in fact, the taxes were the most cited reason for the rebellion.
Britain gained a lot of territory in North America following the French and Indian War. France was out of the way. However, neither country came out on top financially, and England's finances were especially damaged. It still had not fully recovered by the time of the American Revolution or even by the War of 1812.