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King William's War

KING WILLIAM'S WAR

KING WILLIAM'S WAR (1689–1697). This first of the French and Indian wars was already smoldering on the New England frontier when England declared war on France in May 1689. English traders had recently established the Hudson's Bay Trading Company, which competed with French traders in Canada. Angry at British interference in the fur trade, the French incited the Abenaki tribes of Maine to destroy the rival English post of Pemaquid and attack frontier settlements. By this time, political divisions had fragmented the northern British colonies, each jealous of its own frontiers. These divisions interfered with relations between white settlers and American Indians and rendered British colonists susceptible to military assault. When the European conflict known as the War of the League of Augsburg erupted on the North American frontier, it became a struggle for colonial supremacy.

Conditions were unstable in Canada, as well. When Louis de Buade, Comte de Frontenac, arrived in 1689 to begin his second term as governor, he found the colony plagued by Iroquoian raids. To calm the French settlers and regain the allegiance of his Indian allies, he sent out three war parties in 1690: the first destroyed Schenectady, the second attacked and burned the little settlement of Salmon Falls on the New Hampshire border, and the third forced the surrender of Fort Loyal, an outpost at the site of the present city of Portland, Maine.

Terror spread throughout the English colonies, and Massachusetts raised a fleet of seven ships, one of which captured and plundered Port Royal, Nova Scotia. In May 1690, representatives of Massachusetts, Plymouth, Connecticut, and New York met in New York City. They planned a united attack by land on Montreal with the promised cooperation of the Iroquois. At the same time, Massachusetts and the other New England colonies undertook to attack Quebec by sea. Both expeditions were failures. New York and Connecticut troops, traveling from Albany, could not advance farther than the foot of Lake Champlain. The New England fleet fared no better.

Realizing that they lacked sufficient financial resources and military organization, the leaders of the northern English colonies appealed repeatedly to the English government for help. Britain sent a fleet to North America, but it arrived with a fever-stricken crew, so the contribution amounted to little. Frontenac made similar appeals to France for help, with no better luck. The French squadron sent to capture Boston was delayed by head winds, ran short of provisions, and could do nothing.

Although the French won this war, the Treaty of Ryswick, which settled the conflict, was inconclusive and did not result in significant transfers of North American land between European powers. The consequences for the American Indians in the region, however, were severe. The war ignited a much longer struggle between the Algonquins and the Iroquois, which proved disastrous for both as they tried to negotiate with French and British colonists and officials. Because so many of the tensions that initially provoked the conflict remained unresolved, the North American frontier would again erupt in violence five years later, in Queen Anne's War.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Gallay, Alan, ed. Colonial Wars of North America: 1512–1763: An Encyclopedia. New York: Garland, 1996.

Leach, Douglas Edward. Arms for Empire: A Military History of the British Colonies in North America, 1607–1763. New York: Macmillan, 1973.

A. C.Flick/ShelbyBalik

See alsoColonial Settlements ; Colonial Wars ; French Frontier Forts ; French and Indian War ; Fur Trade and Trapping ; Hudson's Bay Company ; Iroquois .

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King William's War

King William's War: see French and Indian Wars.

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"King William's War." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"King William's War." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved October 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/king-williams-war