The Final Struggle for the Continent

Peace between the two rival powers did not last long. Fresh fighting broke out in the New World even before the beginning of the Seven Years' War in Europe (1756-63). As early as 1754 an expedition was sent against French-held Fort Duquesne, in the Ohio River valley where the city of Pittsburgh now stands. This and a second expedition the next year were both unsuccessful. In 1755 a tragic episode occurred in Acadia. The Acadian French who refused to take the oath of allegiance to the English king were herded aboard transports and shipped to the English colonies to the south . American histories refer to the fighting that began in 1754 as the French and Indian War. Canadian and European histories usually treat the final contest for the continent as beginning in 1756, with the opening of the Seven Years' War.

With the two motherlands in conflict, the English objective in North America was to overrun New France and particularly to seize Quebec, the nerve center of the colony. Under the skillful generalship of Louis Joseph de Montcalm-Gozon, marquis de St-Veran, the routes to Quebec down the St. Lawrence from Lake Ontario and north down the Richelieu were successfully closed. The first was stopped at Oswego, and the second at Ticonderoga. The French won brilliant victories at both these points. The third route lay up the St. Lawrence, past the French stronghold of Louisbourg. In 1758 a powerful British force landed on Cape Breton Island. In the fighting that followed, Louisbourg fell for the second and last time in its history. The waterway to Quebec was open at last. In 1759 a fleet of 140 ships, carrying 9,000 troops commanded by Gen. James Wolfe, sailed up the St. Lawrence and laid siege to the capital of New France.

All summer long Wolfe tried in vain to find a weakness in the natural defenses of Quebec, which Montcalm was using so skillfully. Late in the season, he decided on a secret but brilliant night landing that led to victory the next morning in the celebrated battle of the Plains of Abraham.

Both Wolfe and Montcalm were mortally wounded in the fighting. Montreal, cut off from all hope of reinforcements and supplies from France, fell easily before the advancing British forces the following season. When the Treaty of Paris at last brought the Seven Years' War to a close in 1763, the British flag waved over almost the whole of eastern North America.

Discovery of Canada

Rediscovery and Exploration

Cartier's Explorations

End of the First Colonizing Effort

The Founding of New France

The Father of New France

For the Glory of God

Seigneur and Habitant

Governor, Intendant, and Bishop

French and English Rivalry

The Final Struggle for the Continent

Early British Rule

The Quebec Act of 1774

The United Empire Loyalists

Upper and Lower Canada

Settlement and Exploration in the West

The Selkirk Settlement

The War of 1812

Struggle for Self-Government

Mackenzie and Papineau Rebel

The Durham Report

Canada West and Canada East

The Colonies Grow Up

Settlement on the Pacific Coast

The Confederation Idea

Dominion from Sea to Sea

New Dominion Is Launched

Macdonald's National Policy

The Age of Laurier

Canada and World War I

Canada Between the Wars

The British Commonwealth of Nations

Canada and World War II

Postwar Developments

Centennial of Canadian Confederation

Quebec Separatism

Modern Canadian Leadership

Native Peoples Issues