The Global Seven Years War 1754-1763: Britain and France in a Great Power Contest, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Global Seven Years War 1754-1763

Britain and France in a Great Power Contest, 1st Edition

By Daniel A. Baugh


752 pages

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The Seven Years War was a global contest between the two superpowers of eighteenth century Europe, France and Britain. Winston Churchill called it “the first World War”. Neither side could afford to lose advantage in any part of the world, and the decisive battles of the war ranged from Fort Duquesne in what is now Pittsburgh to Minorca in the Mediterranean, from Bengal to Quèbec. By its end British power in North America and India had been consolidated and the foundations of Empire laid, yet at the time both sides saw it primarily as a struggle for security, power and influence within Europe.

In this eagerly awaited study, Daniel Baugh, the world’s leading authority on eighteenth century maritime history looks at the war as it unfolded from the failure of Anglo-French negotiations over the Ohio territories in 1784 through the official declaration of war in 1756 to the treaty of Paris which formally ended hostilities between England and France in 1763. At each stage he examines the processes of decision-making on each side for what they can show us about the capabilities and efficiency of the two national governments and looks at what was involved not just in the military engagements themselves but in the complexities of sustaining campaigns so far from home.

With its panoramic scope and use of telling detail this definitive account will be essential reading for anyone with an interest in military history or the history of eighteenth century Europe.


"Daniel Baugh's substantial new book on the Seven Years War illuminates the contest across the world - in Europe, North America, the Caribbean, West Africa, and Asia - between the British and the French. He provides a masterly and accessible narrative, based on many years of study and reflection."

– Stephen Conway, University College London.

"Daniel Baugh's book meets a genuine need: a one-volume history of the eight-year struggle between Britain and France for maritime and colonial dominance. He presents a clear and engaging narrative, informed and highly informative, smoothly melding political, diplomatic, military, and naval history into a single, persuasive account of a war that was as consequential as it was complex."

– John Shy, Professor Emeritus of History, University of Michigan

"Baugh, an eminent naval historian, displays astonishing breadth in describing and analysing the strategies, logistics, politics, and leading personalities of this first Anglo-French global war, fought on four continents and in seven seas. The result is a narrative bristling with fresh and challenging perspectives, insights, and evaluations. Masterful."

– Ian K. Steele, Professor Emeritus of History, University of Western Ontario

"This is an important account. It provides a comprehensive and accessible means to follow the war outside Europe, and Baugh's judgements about the skills of those involved are pithy and fair… Both expert and novice will learn much from Baugh's detailed history of a decisive conflict."

The English Historical Review

Table of Contents


Preface and Acknowledgments

Chapter 1 Introduction

North America’s Emerging Importance

Canada’s Utility for France

A Global Contest

Geography and Policy

Chapter 2 Statesmen and Regimes

The Duke of Newcastle

The Earl of Hardwicke

William Pitt

The Duc de Choiseul

Chapter 3 Origins: The Contested Regions, 1748-1754

Acadia and Nova Scotia

The New York Frontier

Ohio: The French Predicament

Ohio: The French Solution

Virginia Responds

A Contest in India: Dupleix’s Project

Chapter 4 Risking War, 1754-1755

Unreadiness of the British Colonies

Britain Raises the Stakes

The Futile Negotiation

Britain and Europe

Whitehall Under Pressures, Versailles Under Illusions

Chapter 5 War Without Declaration: North America, 1755

The French Navy Wins a Gamble

Nova Scotia

Braddock and Disaster

Campaigns in Northern New York

Chapter 6 Indecision in Europe: May to December 1755

Seizure of French Shipping

The Netherlands and Hanover

Pitt and the Russian Subsidy

Paralysis at Versailles

Chapter 7 French Triumphs, British Blunders, 1756

France’s Initial War Plan

France and the Diplomatic Revolution

Admiral Byng and the French Conquest of Minorca

Oswego Destroyed

British and American Armies

Chapter 8 France’s New War Plan, 1756-1757

Pitt Attains his Goal

War Begins on the Continent

France’s New War Plan

The Trial of Admiral Byng

Pitt, George II and Germany

The French Invasion of Germany

A Hanoverian Policy

Louisbourg and Lake George

The Rochefort Expedition

Chapter 9 The Tide Turns, 1758

The French Army in Germany: Defeat and Disaster

War in India: Bengal

Achieving Naval Superiority

Raids on the French Channel Coast

France in Distress

Chapter 10 The Atlantic and North America, 1758

Seapower and Shipping

West Africa

Changing Conditions of North American Warfare

The Conquest of Louisbourg

Ticonderoga and Frontenac

Mountains and Indians: The Road to Fort Duquesne

Chapter 11 The West Indies and North America, 1759

Martinique and Guadeloupe

Niagara and Lake Champlain

Montcalm, Vaudreuil and the Defence of Canada

The Capture of Quebec

Chapter 12 The British Victory at Sea, 1759

Invasion Threat and Blockade of Brest

Lagos Bay and Quiberon Bay

France Defeated: The War Lost

Chapter 13 Britain Conquers Afar, Disunity Looms at Home

Choiseul’s Approach to Peace, 1759-60

War in India: The Coromandel Coast

The Conquest of Canada, 1760

Pitt and the German War

The Pitt-Newcastle Administration Undermined

Chapter 14 The Chance of Peace, 1761

Antecedents: Spain, Austria, Russia, and Ferdinand’s Winter Campaign

Choiseul’s Two Negotiations

Belle-Île and Westphalia

The Anglo-French Negotiation

Choiseul and the Lost Chance of Peace

The Path to War with Spain

Chapter 15 Peacemaking 1762: Concessions Before Conquests

Aftermath of Pitt’s Resignation

The German War and the Prussian Subsidy

Martinique Conquered

The Secret Negotiation

The Defence of Portugal

The Capture of Havana

Peace with Bitterness

Chapter 16 Conclusion and Aftermath

Fundamental Causes of British Military Success

Why Peace was Delayed

The Significance of 1762

Outcomes: Peace Terms, Finances, Navies, Spain and France

Britain and North America

Abbreviations and Short Titles

Notes on Sources

About the Author

Daniel Baugh is Professor Emeritus of History, Cornell University. Born in Philadelphia, he received his Ph.D. from Cambridge University and is author of British Naval Administration in the Age of Walpole (1965).

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Modern Wars In Perspective

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