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Seven Years' War 1756–1763
Seven Years' War Collage

Clockwise from top left: the Battle of Plassey (23 June 1757); the Battle of Carillon (6–8 July 1758); the Battle of Zorndorf (25 August 1758); the Battle of Kunersdorf (12 August 1759)
Date 17 May 1756 – 15 February 1763 (1756-05-17 – 1763-02-15)
(6 years, 8 months, 4 weeks and 1 day)
Location
Result

Anglo-Prussian coalition victory:

Territorial
changes

Status quo ante bellum in Europe:

  • Transfer of colonial possessions between Great Britain, France, Spain, and Portugal.
  • France cedes its possessions east of the Mississippi River, Canada (except Saint-Pierre and Miquelon), the island of Grenada, and the Northern Circars in India to Great Britain.
  • France cedes Louisiana and its territory west of the Mississippi River to Spain.
  • Spain cedes Florida to Great Britain.
  • Four "neutral" Caribbean islands divided between Britain (St. Vincent, Tobago, Dominica) and France (St. Lucia)
Belligerents

(from 1762)

Commanders and leaders
Strength
Kingdom of France France: 1,000,000 (total mobilized)
Casualties and losses
  • Kingdom of Prussia Prussia: 260,000+
  • Kingdom of Great Britain Great Britain: 135,000+
  • 373,588
  • Kingdom of France 350,000+
  • Russian Empire 138,000 dead, disabled, missing, or captured
  • Spain 34,000+ dead, missing, or captured
  • Sweden 28,000 dead
  • 25,000 dead
    (excluding parts of the HRE that were under the Austrian Monarchy)

The Seven Years' War lasted from 1756 to 1763 and involved most of the great powers in Europe. At first, the war was made up of two conflicts. One was mainly between Britain and France, and the other was between Prussia and its enemies: France, Austria, Russia, and Sweden.

An important cause of the war was the War of the Austrian Succession.

The war was known by different names in different places. In the United States, it is called the French and Indian War. In French Canada, it is called the War Of Conquest. In both Sweden and Prussia, it was called the Pomeranian War because they were fighting over Pomerania. In India, it is known as the Third Carnatic War.

As for the conflict between Prussia and Austria, it is called the Third Silesian War.

Colonialism was common at the time. During the war, the trade interests of the British Empire were opposed to those of the Bourbons, who ruled France and Spain. The Hohenzollerns, who ruled Prussia, and the Habsburgs, who were Holy Roman Emperors and archdukes in Austria, fought each other, mainly over Silesia.

A "diplomatic revolution" established an Anglo-Prussian camp, which was allied with some smaller German states and later the Portuguese Empire. It fought an Austro-French camp, which was allied with Sweden, Saxony and later Spain.

The Seven Years' War was perhaps the first global war, taking place almost 160 years before World War I, known as the Great War before the outbreak of World War II, and globally influenced many later major events. Winston Churchill described the conflict as the "first world war". Contemporaries sometimes informally refer to the war as "World War Zero".

The war restructured not only the European political order, but also affected events all around the world, paving the way for the beginning of later British world supremacy in the 19th century, the rise of Prussia in Germany (eventually replacing Austria as the leading German state), the beginning of tensions in British North America, as well as a clear sign of France's revolutionary turmoil. It was characterized in Europe by sieges and the arson of towns as well as open battles with heavy losses.

Major battles

Major land battles during the Seven Years' War (Europe)
Battle Anglo-Prussian coalition numbers Franco-Austrian coalition numbers Anglo-Prussian coalition casualties Franco-Austrian coalition casualties Result
Lobositz 28,500 34,000 3,300 2,984 Austrian victory
Prague 64,000 61,000 14,300 13,600 Prussian victory
Kolín 34,000 54,000 13,733 8,100 Austrian victory
Hastenbeck 36,000 63,000 1,200 1,200 French victory
Gross-Jägersdorf 25,000 55,000 4,520 5,250 Russian victory
Rossbach 21,000 40,900 541 8,000 Prussian victory
Breslau 28,000 60,000 10,150 5,857 Austrian victory
Leuthen 36,000 65,000 6,259 22,000 Prussian victory
Krefeld 32,000 50,000 1,800 8,200 Prussian-allied victory
Zorndorf 36,000 44,000 11,390 21,529 Indecisive
Belle Île 9,000 3,000 810 3,000 British victory
Saint Cast 1,400 10,000 1,400 495 French victory
Hochkirch 39,000 78,000 9,097 7,590 Austrian victory
Kay 28,000 40,500 8,000 4,700 Russian victory
Minden 43,000 60,000 2,762 7,086 British-allied victory
Kunersdorf 49,000 98,000 18,503 15,741 Russo-Austrian victory
Maxen 15,000 32,000 15,000 934 Austrian victory
Landeshut 13,000 35,000 10,052 3,000 Austrian victory
Warburg 30,000 35,000 1,200 3,000 British-allied victory
Liegnitz 14,000 24,000 3,100 8,300 Prussian victory
Kloster Kampen 26,000 45,000 3,228 2,036 French victory
Torgau 48,500 52,000 17,120 11,260 Prussian victory
Villinghausen 60,000 100,000 1,600 5,000 British-allied victory
Schweidnitz 25,000 10,000 3,033 10,000 Prussian victory
Wilhelmsthal 40,000 70,000 700 4,500 British-allied victory
Freiberg 22,000 40,000 2,500 8,000 Prussian victory
Major land battles during the Seven Years' War (North America)
Battle British-native numbers French, Spanish and native numbers British-native casualties French, Spanish and native casualties Result
Monongahela 1,300 891 906 96 French-allied victory
Lake George 1700 1500 331 339 British-allied victory
Fort William Henry 2,372 8,344 2,372 Unknown French-allied victory
Fort Ticonderoga I 18,000 3,600 3,600 377 French-allied victory
Louisbourg 9,500 5,600 524 5,600 British victory
Guadeloupe 5,000 2,000 804 2,000 British victory
Martinique 8,000 8,200 500 N/A French victory
Fort Niagara 3,200 1,786 100 486 British-allied victory
Quebec I 9,400 15,000 900 N/A British victory
Montmorency 5,000 12,000 440 60 French victory
Plains of Abraham 4,828 4,500 664 644 British-allied victory
Saint-Foy 3,866 6,900 1,088 833 French victory
Quebec II 6,000 7,000 30 700 British victory
Havana 31,000 11,670 (Spanish) 5,366 11,670 British victory
Major land battles during the Seven Years' War (India)
Battle British-sepoy numbers Mughal-French numbers British-sepoy casualties Mughal-French casualties Result
Calcutta I 514 50,000 (Mughals) 218 7,000 Mughal victory
Calcutta II 1,870 40,000 (Mughals) 194 1,300 British victory
Plassey 2,884 50,000 (Mughals) 63 500 British victory
Chandannagar 2,300 900 (French-sepoy) 200 200 British victory
Madras 4,050 7,300 (French-sepoy) 1,341 1,200 British victory
Masulipatam 7,246 2,600 (French-sepoy) 286 1,500 British victory
Wandiwash 5,330 4,550 (French-sepoy) 387 1,000 British victory

Results

The Russian Empire left its offensive alliance with the Habsburgs when Empress Elizabeth died and her nephew Peter III became Tsar. Sweden also concluded a separate peace with Prussia in 1762.

The war ended with the Treaties of Paris (France, Spain, Great Britain) and of Hubertusburg (Hohenzollerns, Habsburgs, Saxon elector) in 1763. The war had been characterized by sieges and arson of towns as well as open battles involving extremely heavy losses. Overall, some 900,000 to 1,400,000 people died.

Great Britain succeeded in the contested overseas territories by gaining the bulk of New France, Spanish Florida, some Caribbean islands and Senegal and superiority over the French outposts on the Indian subcontinent. The Native American tribes were excluded from the peace settlement, and were unable to return to their former status after the resulting Pontiac's rebellion.

In Europe, Frederick II of Prussia failed to complete a preemptive strike against Austria, and his opponents repulsed and at Kunersdorf nearly destroyed his forces. Frederic,k however recovered, regained ground and managed to avoid any concessions in Hubertusburg, where the status quo ante bellum was restored. William Pitt's said, "America was won in Germany". He referred to the Prussian war effort, which enabled Britain to limit its continental commitments and to focus on her "blue water policy," successfully establishing naval supremacy. While French and allied forces were able to occupy Prussian and Hanoverian territories up to East Frisia, French ambitions to invade Britain and to continue with their commerce raiding were thwarted by a British naval blockade, which impaired French supply routes to the colonies.

The involvement of Portugal, Spain and Sweden did not return them to their former status as great powers. Spain's short intervention resulted in the loss of Florida, but gained French Louisiana west of the Mississippi River in exchange. Also, Britain returned Cuba and the Philippines.

The Treaty of Paris (1763) ended the war for Britain and France.

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See also

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