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King William's War

King William's War

The first of the French and Indian Wars, King William's War (16891697) was the name used in the English colonies in America to refer to the North American theater of the War of the Grand Alliance (16881697). Note that the North American theatre does not have a separate name in British, French, or Canadian historiography, and is simply thought of as being part of the Nine Years' War. It was fought between England, France, and their respective American Indian allies in the colonies of Canada, Acadia, and New England.

King William's War began in May 1689 after William III of England joined the League of Augsburg against France. In August, 1,500 Iroquois attacked the New France settlement at La Chine 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 Scotia, 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.

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