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The first of the French and Indian Wars, King William's War (1689–97) was the name used in the English colonies in America to refer to the North American theater of the War of the Grand Alliance (1688–97). It was fought between England, France, and their respective American Indian allies in the colonies of Canada , Acadia, and New Englandmarker.

Cause of war

England's Catholic King James II was deposed at the end of 1688 in the Glorious Revolution, after which Protestant William of Orange was made king. William joined the League of Augsburg against France, where James had fled.

Tensions on the frontier between the Dominion of New England (which included present-day New Englandmarker) and the colonies of New France to the north were already under some stress, as New England's governor Edmund Andros had engaged in a raid against French settlements in Penobscot Baymarker in 1688. Andros, a Catholic appointed by King James, was deposed in 1689 when news of the revolution reached Bostonmarker.


In June 1689, several hundred Abenaki and Pennacook Indians under the command of Kancamagus and Mesandowit raided Dover, New Hampshiremarker, killing more than 20 and taking 29 captives, who were sold into captivity in New France. Jean-Vincent d'Abbadie de Saint-Castin, a Frenchman whose home on Penobscot Baymarker (near present-day Castine, Mainemarker, named for him) had been plundered by Governor Andros in 1688, led an Abenaki war party to raid Pemaquidmarker in August 1689. In response Benjamin Church, noted for his Indian fighting skill from King Philip's War, led an expedition into the territory of present-day Mainemarker that was largely ineffectual except for dissuading an attack against Falmouth (present-day Portlandmarker).

Also in August 1689, 1,500 Iroquois attacked the French settlement at Lachinemarker before New France had even learned of the start of the war. Frontenac later attacked the Iroquois village of Onondaga. New France and its Indian allies then attacked English frontier settlements, most notably the Schenectady Massacre of 1690. The English captured Port Royal, Nova Scotiamarker, the capital of Acadia, and then launched an expedition to seize the capital of New France, but were defeated in the Battle of Quebec. The French attacked the British-held coast, recapturing Port Royal.

The Quebec expedition was the last major offensive of King William’s War; for the remainder of the war the English colonists were reduced to defensive operations and skirmishes. In early 1692, in the Candlemas Massacre an estimated 150 Abenakis commanded by officers of New France entered the town of York, Maine, killing about 100 of the English settlers and burning down buildings. The Iroquois Five Nations suffered from the weakness of their English allies. In 1693 and 1696, the French and their Indian allies ravaged Iroquois towns and destroyed crops while New York colonists remained passive. After the English and French made peace in 1697, the Iroquois, now abandoned by the English colonists, remained at war with New France until 1701.


The Treaty of Ryswick in 1697 ended the war between the two colonial powers, reverting the colonial borders to the status quo ante bellum. The peace did not last long, and within five years the colonies were embroiled in the next of the French and Indian Wars, Queen Anne's War. After their settlement with France in 1701, the Iroquois remained neutral in the early part of the war.

See also

External links


  1. Drake, The Border wars of New England, pp. 10-42
  2. Taylor: American Colonies: The Settling of North America, p.290
  3. Taylor: American Colonies: The Settling of North America, p.291
  4. Trafzer, Clifford E. As long as the grass shall grow and rivers flow a history of Native Americans. Fort Worth: Harcourt College, 2000

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