The Real “First” World War?

Today in History, February 10: 1763 –

“The Seven Years War”, or as it was known in the colonies, “The French and Indian War” ends with the Treaty of Paris. Britain and France had been battling for years in America, Europe, India and on the high seas over their competing imperial interests. Spain had taken sides with France. Both Britain and France had their allies in what could be considered a World War.

After several British victories on land and at sea, and after several of France’s allies had signed separate peace treaties, France and Spain finally came to the table. France gave up several of her holdings including in Canada, America and India.

The Spanish received the Louisiana Territory, the British received Spanish Florida.

Probably the most important issues for the American colonies however, are these: Many Americans, such as George Washington, gained extensive military experience fighting the French and their Indian allies during the war. And when Americans decided less than two decades later to fight for their independence from the British Crown, the French had a grudge to settle; it wasn’t that difficult for Ben Franklin to convince France to come in on the side of the Colonials. French Naval might was pivotal to the American victory.

“…if They Mean to Have a War…Let it Begin Here.”


Today in History: July 13, 1729 – Future Captain John Parker is born in Lexington, Massachusetts.

A veteran of the French and Indian Wars, Captain Parker led a contingent of Minutemen on April 19, 1775 when they heard that the King’s soldiers were approaching. In the Skirmish on Lexington Green, Parker ordered the militia, “Stand your ground. Don’t fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here.”

Though simple, if you think about what this command meant in the grand scheme of things, it is profound. Captain Parker was dead by September of the same year, a victim of disease, as so many of the Revolutionary War soldiers were.