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Queen Anne's Wars (North America)

Also known as the second French and Indian Wars in America


Not much is written about this period in American history, so I currently can't provide you with as much information as I would have liked.

In May 1690, during King William’s War (Queen Anne's brother in law), William Phipps of Massachusetts directed a force of eight ships and more than 700 men against a much smaller French contingent at Port Royal. The fort fell to the English, who contented themselves with administering a loyalty oath to the area’s inhabitants before returning home.

In 1702, Europe was again convulsed in war, this time over the issue of succession to the Spanish throne. In North America, the fighting involved not only the British and French in the north, but also the British against the Spanish in the south.

Like the previous conflict (King William’s War), the French and their Algonquian allies staged a series of devastating raids in Western New England. The attack on Deerfield, Massachusetts in early 1704 was especially notorious. 

The small community of Deerfield was located in the remote frontier of northwest Massachusetts. Settlers there in early 1704 were wary because a state of war existed between Britain and France; many sought refuge behind the town’s stockade walls. Nevertheless, few expected that a major attack would occur during the depths of winter.

On February 29, 1704, a force of several hundred French soldiers and their Native American allies staged a surprise attack on the unprepared community. Defeat was complete and almost immediate. Fifty-six settlers — men, women and children — were killed in the fighting. More than 100 of the survivors were rounded up and forced to begin a march into captivity in Canada. Over the next seven weeks, 21 prisoners died or were killed on the trail. The others were held as hostages at various locations throughout New France and were the subject of intense bargaining between the two great powers. Repeated efforts were made to induce the captives into accepting Roman Catholicism. After more than two and one-half years in captivity, a deal was struck for their release. Sixty prisoners were returned to Boston in November 1706 amid a great celebration. A handful of the captives voluntarily remained in Canada with French or native families.

The experience of the Rev. John Williams family was especially harrowing. Williams, a Harvard graduate, was a minister and community leader in Deerfield. Two of his eight children were killed in the initial attack. One child was away at school, but the other five, along with both parents, were taken captive for the march northward to Montreal. Mrs. Williams, weak from recently giving birth, lost her balance crossing a stream and plunged into the frigid water. She was unable to keep up with the group, no doubt suffering from hypothermia, and was killed by a native guard with a blow to the head with a tomahawk. Williams and the children completed the trek to Canada where they remained until 1706.

When the prisoner release was arranged, daughter Eunice (who was 7 years old at the time of capture) chose to remain behind despite the pleas of her father. She later married into a prominent native family, took the Mohawk name of Kanenstehawi and reared several children. Williams tried repeatedly over the years to induce his daughter to return, but she remained with her adoptive family. On several occasions she made trips to Massachusetts to visit her siblings and astounded the English colonists there by always returning to Canada, where she lived to the age of 90.

Williams detailed his ordeal in a frequently reprinted book, The Redeemed Captive Returning to Zion (1707).

The British forces under Francis Nicholson recommenced a northward push, capturing Port Royal in French Acadia in 1710. A British naval attack against Quebec, however, was not successful. Port Royal changed hands a total of five times in the years before 1710, at which time the British took final control. Port Royal was renamed Annapolis Royal in honor of Queen Anne. It served as the capital of Nova Scotia until the development of Halifax more than 30 years later.

Hostilities in the south were highlighted by the British capture of Saint Augustine in Spanish Florida and by a failed Spanish attack against Charleston, South Carolina.

The Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 ended the European and North American conflicts. The British received Acadia (renamed Nova Scotia), Newfoundland and fur trading posts in the Hudson Bay area. France managed to retain several islands in the Saint Lawrence River and Cape Breton Island at the northeastern end of Nova Scotia. The boundaries of the new British possessions were not spelled out with precision; warfare between the chief rivals, Britain and France, would resume in 1744.

The majority of the above gleaned from: http://home.u-s-history.com


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