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  • This little-known war took place in the mid-18th century, mainly in Europe,

  • but also for the first time in European colonies around the world.

  • This is why it is sometimes considered as the first world war.

  • Let's retrace on a map a summary of the events and consequences of the Seven Years War.

  • We begin in 1740, when the Holy Roman Empire is divided into a multitude

  • of territories ruled by prince-electors.

  • At the very top of the hierarchy is the title of Emperor,

  • which has been shared for almost 300 years by the powerful Habsburg House.

  • But this year, Emperor Charles VI, who is also Archduke of Austria, King of Bohemia

  • and King of Hungary - dies without a male successor.

  • His eldest daughter Marie-Thérèse cannot be Emperor,

  • but nevertheless inherits the territories of her father.

  • For some competitors, this is a golden opportunity to challenge the Austrian domination.

  • Thus the young King of Prussia Frederick II - without a declaration of war - invades the rich region of Silesia.

  • France, Austria's traditional enemy, takes advantage of the situation to join forces with Prussia.

  • Britain meanwhile backs Austria, fearing an imbalance of power in favor of the French Empire.

  • After five years of war, Prussia abandons its French ally by signing a peace treaty with Austria.

  • Prussia holds onto the territory of Silesia but recognizes Maria Theresa as the Archduchess of Austria.

  • Her husband, Francis of Lorraine, obtains the title of Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.

  • France finds itself alone against the coalition and still manages to seize the Austrian Netherlands.

  • A peace treaty was signed in 1748 and against all odds,

  • the King of France Louis XV returns the territories to Austria.

  • After the war, a strong rivalry develops between Prussia and Austria, which hopes to one day recover Silesia.

  • Moreover, the French and British Empires increasingly compete for their colonies in the world

  • primarily in North America, where New France surrounds British colonies.

  • With boundaries not clearly defined, the two powers compete for the Ohio Valley.

  • The first clashes taking place there are mostly dominated by the French side.

  • From a military point of view, Britain dominates the seas and oceans with its powerful Royal Navy

  • while the French army is deemed stronger.

  • George II, King of Great Britain and the prince-elector of Hanover, fears lose the German state in case of war.

  • He approaches Prussia for protection and signs an alliance,

  • upsetting the traditional balance of power in the region.

  • After centuries of competition, France and Austria join forces, and are joined most notably by Russia.

  • European powers meanwhile prepare for war.

  • France attacks first and sends its army to the British island of Menorca.

  • In India, Britain prepares for war by fortifying Calcutta without the agreement of the Prince of Bengal.

  • The latter responds by driving them out of the city.

  • Britain counter attacks, recovers Calcutta, dethrones the prince, and moves to attack the French colonies.

  • In North America, the British Empire prepares to send large military reinforcements.

  • In the European theater, France prepares a ground offensive in Hanover.

  • Prussia - which finds itself surrounded - launches the first strike on Saxony, a rich, poorly protected region.

  • The offensive is a success despite an Austrian counter-attack.

  • Prussia continues its offensive by attacking Bohemia.

  • But this time the intervention of the Austrian army prevents the capture of Prague

  • and pushes the Prussians back to Silesia.

  • In the West, the French offensive in Hanover is a success.

  • The French army now advances to Prussia which finds itself besieged.

  • To the east, the Russian army captures its first territories,

  • and in the south, the Austrian army advances towards Silesia.

  • Britain attempts to distract France from Hanover by initiating military raids on its Atlantic ports.

  • A first military expedition is sent to Rochefort but is countered by the French army.

  • Frederick II of Prussia sets out with his army to face the French.

  • A fine strategist, he wins despite having a much smaller army.

  • He then moves to face off against the Austrian army, and once again wins due to his strategy,

  • despite having fewer soldiers.

  • In North America, Britain stations ships at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River

  • to blockade and isolate the French colony.

  • On the European side, King George II refuses to recognise the surrender of his son in Hanover.

  • He raises a new army that repels the French.

  • In parallel, new raids are organized.

  • After another failure on Saint-Malo, an offensive on the city of Cherbourg is a success,

  • and the city is looted.

  • This time Britain mounts a bigger offensive by sending 42,000 men to Saint-Malo.

  • But they suffer a serious setback faced against 7,000 French soldiers.

  • This failure marks the end of the raids on France.

  • Britain now concentrates on Hanover and the colonies.

  • In Africa, after the capture of St. Louis, Britain seizes the island of Goree.

  • In the East, while Prussia repulses the Russian army,

  • this time it suffers a heavy defeat against Austria, which forces it to retreat for the winter.

  • France plans to invade Great Britain.

  • To do this, an army of 100,000 men would be escorted by the military fleets of Toulon and Brest.

  • In parallel, a new army is sent to Hanover, but the latter fails to take hold.

  • Meanwhile, Britain intensifies attacks against French colonies.

  • It captures Caribbean islands and lays siege to Quebec city.

  • To the east, Russia manages to join the Austrian army.

  • Together they overcome the army of Frederick II, which opens the way to Berlin, which is not protected.

  • But following disagreements, both armies stop there.

  • For France the situation is complicated.

  • With their military fleets of Toulon and Brest defeated by the Royal Navy,

  • the invasion of Great Britain is abandoned.

  • Without military fleets, France can no longer support its colonies.

  • In North America, New France is in disarray.

  • After the capture of Quebec, Britain seizes Montreal.

  • The island of Dominica in the Caribbean and Pondicherry in India fall in quick succession.

  • In Europe, despite several attempts, France can no longer impose itself on Hanover.

  • On the other hand, severely weakened and facing defeat,

  • the king of Prussia regroups his last remaining forces into a single army.

  • In January 1762, the war takes a new turn with the death of Elizabeth, the Tsarina of Russia.

  • Her successor Peter III of Russia is an admirer of Prussia and does not want to engage in war.

  • He quickly signs a peace treaty.

  • In the West, the Spanish Empire takes a negative view of British domination.

  • Spain then goes to war with France.

  • An army is sent to Portugal, the Iberian ally of Great Britain, forcing the latter to send reinforcements.

  • But in parallel, Britain takes advantage of an opportunity to seize Cuba and Manila in the Philippines.

  • In Prussia, the king's army succeeds in defeating the Austrian army.

  • Exhausted by years of war, European powers begin peace negotiations.

  • Two peace treaties are signed separately.

  • A first in Paris between France, Great Britain and Spain.

  • France loses almost all its colonies.

  • The country retains some territories in America, the island of Goree in Africa

  • and 5 posts in India, provided they do not fortify or send armies there.

  • Spain recovers Cuba, Manila and gets Louisiana in exchange for Florida and peace with Portugal.

  • On the other hand, the Treaty of Hubertusburg is signed between Prussia and Austria.

  • Prussia liberates Saxony, in exchange for which it retains Silesia.

  • The human toll of war is heavy with 1.3 million people dead.

  • More than half of them are civilians.

  • European powers are weakened by war and forced to increase taxes to repay their debts.

  • The first colonial empire of France is dismantled.

  • The country invests in its military industry, mainly its naval fleet to catch with Britain.

  • Austria is forced to abandon Silesia, but saves face by liberating Saxony.

  • Prussia, although greatly weakened, is now respected and even feared.

  • Finally, Britain becomes the major world power.

  • But its empire is also indebted by war.

  • It intends to take advantage of its colonies to repay debts through new taxes, causing great discontent.

  • On the other hand, Native American tribes unite to demand the departure of the British

  • from the former French colony and demand an independent state.

  • The government tries to calm the situation by creating in a rush an Indian reservation.

  • But this again prevents British colonists from expanding their territories in the West, increasing frustrations.

  • This sows the seeds of separation between the British government and its colonists.

This little-known war took place in the mid-18th century, mainly in Europe,

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Seven Years' War - Summary on a Map(Seven Years' War - Summary on a Map)

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    香蕉先生 發佈於 2022 年 07 月 01 日
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