Chapter 6. Intercolonial Rivalries, Imperial Ambitions, and the Conquest

6.1 Introduction

The markets and monarchies of Western Europe existed in very uncomfortable tension. So, too, did their religious and political alliances and identities. The conflicts of the old countries became those of the new. The colonies, however, had given birth to rivalries of their own and often set the agenda for their respective masters. The relationship between New France and Britain’s American colonies was to prove pivotal in the evolution of what became the modern state of Canada. The country’s origins lay along the banks of the St. Lawrence and in Acadia, but also in the port towns of New England and the trans-Appalachian west of New York and Pennsylvania.

This chapter surveys the military and commercial conflict that led to the Seven Years’ War and British claims over most of what had been New France. It also considers the extent to which the boundaries between English, Dutch, and French colonies (populated in part by Africans as well as Europeans) blurred and the places where distinctively new communities were beginning to arise.

Learning Objectives

  • Demonstrate clearly an understanding of the geopolitical situation of New France and its neighbours.
  • Express familiarity with Louisbourg, Acadia, New England, and Newfoundland’s pluralistic frontiers.
  • Analyze the strategic role assigned to Canada within the French imperial system.
  • Describe the economic, imperial, and regional roots of conflict in North America.
  • Understand the French-English struggle for power in North America in the 18th century.
  • Explain the significance of conflict in Acadia and the expulsion of the Acadians.
  • Understand how and why the conquest of Canada occurred.


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6.1 Introduction Copyright © 2020 by John Douglas Belshaw is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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