The Treaty of Paris was one of the treaties that put an end to the Seven Years’ War, also known as the French and Indian War (1756-1763). It was signed by Great Britain on one side and France and Spain on the other. This treaty ended the conflict in North American and overseas territories and marked the beginning of British colonialism.
The Seven Years' War
The Seven Years’ War is considered to be the first global conflict, as it involved the five continents. The fighting took place in several places at the same time, both in Europe and overseas. In Europe, the conflict originated over the province Silesia, which Frederick the Great of Prussia had taken from the Austrian Habsburgs after the end of the War of Austrian Succession in 1748. The increased tension with Russia due to the growth in power of Prussia concluded with a declaration of war after Frederick the Great invaded Saxony. Europe was then divided into two parties: Russia, France, Spain, Saxony and Austria on one side and Britain, Prussia and Hanover on the other.
In the meanwhile, the friction between Great Britain and France over the control of North American and Indian colonies increased rapidly as well. Trying to stop the French from claiming territories around the upper Ohio River Valley, King George III decided to financially aid Prussia in its fight against France. This strategy had a positive outcome for the British, as they took from the French territories in Guadeloupe, Martinique, Havana, Manila, West Africa and India. In 1762, Spanish King Carlos III also entered the war in support of France as agreed in the Third Family Compact between the two Bourbon monarchies.
The Seven Years’ War concluded in 1763 with the signature of two treaties: The Treaty of Hubertusburg and the Treaty of Paris. The first one only involved Prussia and Austria whereas the latter was signed by Great Britain, France and Spain after Great Britain’s victory over Spain and France.
The Treaty of Paris
The Treaty of Paris was signed on 10 February 1763. It established that many of the territories that had been taken during the war should be restored, although Great Britain was also to obtain French territories in North America. Firstly, Britain gave back Manila and Havana to Spain, and Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Lucia, Gorée and the Indian factories to France. In return, it gained Canada, Louisiana and Florida. Secondly, France gained Pondicherry and colonies in the West Indies and Senegal back. However, it was forced to give Britain control over Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Tobago, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Lastly, New Orleans and the Louisiana Territory west of the Mississippi were awarded to Spain, even though it lost Florida to Britain.
The resolutions of the Treaty had a major impact on the development of modern History, as the concession of territories to England marked the beginning of its development as a colonial empire. Furthermore, it also had negative consequences in regards to American-British relations. Once the French threat was removed after the war, the tension between the New Englanders and the British troops started to increase and the first signs of nationalism started to show among the 13 American colonies. This was the beginning of what would later lead to lead to American independence.
- treaty of paris
- george iii
- carlos iii
- frederick the great
- seven years war
- french and indian war
- american independence