For God, Crown, and Country: The Commonwealth of America.

Prologue
This is a timeline based off of the Yankee Dominion project I began. It'll largely keep itself in tune with the Yankee Dominion, though there are a few tweaks here and there.

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Born from the nexus of history and philosophy, the Commonwealth of America is the foremost economic and military powerhouse on the North American continent and one of the most critical member states of the British Empire. Extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic sea with a population of just over 250 million citizens, the Commonwealth is the predominant English speaking nation on the North American continent. The capital is located in the city of Philadelphia, though other prominent cities include Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Calgary, Caernarfon, Charleston, Chicago, Charlotte, Cleveland, Detroit, Halifax, Hollywood, Liverpool, Miami, Minneapolis, Montreal, New Orleans, New York, Pittsburgh, Quebec, Seattle, Swansea, Tampa, Toronto, and Winnipeg.

A highly developed nation, the Commonwealth boasts an abundance of natural resources and a long tradition of industry. With the seventh highest GDP per capita and ranked first by the Human Development Index, the Commonwealth of America is both the foremost economic power of both North America and the broader British Empire. Its advanced economy, the fourth largest in the world, relies on well-developed trade networks, agricultural and industrial export, finance, technology, and tourism. America is part of several major international and intergovernmental institutions or groupings including the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the G7 (formerly G8), the Group of Ten, the G20, the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

The Commonwealth of America is a federal parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy, with Queen Elizabeth II reigning as head of state, though executive powers are wielded through the Governor-General, who is appointed on the advice of the Prime Minister. The American Parliament is a bicameral legislative body, with the lower chamber, the House of Representatives, allocating its seats in proportion to population whereas the Senate consists of only two members for each province. The Commonwealth is an autonomous realm within the British Empire, and is officially bilingual. It ranks among the highest in international measurements of government transparency, civil liberties, quality of life, economic freedom, and education. It is one of the world's most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, the product of large-scale immigration from many other countries.

Various indigenous peoples have inhabited what is now the American Commonwealth for thousands of years prior to European colonization. Beginning in the 16th century, British and French expeditions explored, and later settled, along the Atlantic coast. As a consequence of various armed conflicts, France ceded nearly all of its colonies in North America in 1763. What followed after was a period of unrest over taxation, colonial autonomy, and corruption led to the ultimate Confederation of Britain’s continental holdings. This began an accretion of provinces and territories and a process of increasing autonomy from the United Kingdom. This widening autonomy was highlighted by the Statute of Westminster of 1931 and culminated in the British North America Act of 1981 which severed the last vestiges of legal dependence on the British parliament, except for the power to amend its constitution.

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(More to come.....possibly. I want to credit the many, many contributors to the Yankee Dominion for their work in creating the many infoboxes. The map above is not my creation))
 
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I am watching, I am a little confused, is our current monarch George II
I was looking at the wiki not the text
 
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Chapter I: Early Exploration
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Leif Erikson lands in Vinland.
The first European contact with the Americas today remains disputed, though it is widely accepted that the first settlers were most likely of Nordic origin in the late 10th century who had reached Newfoundland by 1001 A.D. There, a short lived settlement named Vinland was established, though this early effort at European colonization of the America’s failed and the existence of the colony was largely lost to history within a hundred years of its initial establishment. For centuries, the legend of Vinland faded and interest in exploration was greatly limited. It was not until the travels of Venetian merchant Marco Polo were published in Europe did interest in opening trade with the East sparked up again. The Portuguese were the first to look into exploring a possible route to India by way of the sea. In the early 1300s, they had already successfully colonized the Canary Islands and were opening up trade among the west coast of Africa. Prince Henry the Navigator, the fourth child of King John I, was one of the most notable figures in the onset of the age of exploration. Having led the conquest of Ceuta in Morocco, Prince Henry set his sights on dominating the high seas. The Prince went on to invest further in the exploration efforts, resulting in the discovery and colonization of the Azores by 1427. By the middle of the 1400s, Portuguese explorers managed to make it as far as Senegal and later, Sierra Leone, where they soon found themselves immersed in the slave, spices, and gold trade.

In 1488, the first expedition to round the southern tip of Africa was made by Bartolomeo Dias, who proved that the Indian Ocean was accessible by the Atlantic. While this news was welcomed in Lisbon, the Portuguese monopoly on West African trade would soon come under threat. In Iberia, the marriage between Queen Isabella of Castile and King Ferdinand of Aragon united their realms into the Kingdom of Spain, and they subsequently turned their attention to driving the Moors out of Europe once and for all. Following the fall of Grenada, they were approached by an Italian born merchant by the name of Christopher Columbus, who ascertained that there was a route to India by way of the sea. Inspired by the travels of Marco Polo, Columbus’s proposals were rejected by the Kings of Portugal and England, and likewise failed to gain traction in the Italian city states of Venice and Genoa.


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Christopher Columbus before the Spanish monarchs.
Having consolidated their position, the Spanish court was far more receptive to Columbus’s proposals. King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella both agreed to name him “Admiral of the Ocean Seas” and to award him 10% of all income generated from any discovered lands. Setting out with three ships – the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria – Columbus sailed westward, crossing the Atlantic by the Canary Islands before landing on the island of San Salvador in the Bahamas; it would be the first western contact with what is now the Commonwealth of America in hundreds of years. Travelling onwards, Columbus sailed down the southeastern coast of Cuba before exploring the northern coast of Hispaniola, which he named and claimed for the crown of Spain. Though contact with indigenous peoples were limited, their brief interactions were peaceful. Leaving a settlement of 39 men behind in what is now northern Haiti at “La Navidad,” Columbus continued back across the Atlantic to bring news of his discoveries to his Spanish benefactors. The settlers at La Navidad would soon break out into infighting and angered the indigenous population with their frequent attacks on villages in search of women and gold. When Columbus returned on his second voyage, he found the settlement in ruins and the rotting remains of eight of the original settlers.

Upon his return to Spain, word of Columbus’s discoveries spread like wildfire across Europe. As he set out on his second voyage, the royal courts in Paris, Lisbon, and London soon had their eyes on the “New World.” Columbus made three more voyages, going on to chart and claim the islands of Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola, and parts of the Bahamas for Spain, while also exploring the Central American coast. But he would not be alone; in 1494, a Papal Bull issued by Pope Alexander VI divided the New World between Spain and Portugal, dividing the New World along geographic lines. The Portuguese King was not entirely satisfied with the arrangement, however, and instead directly negotiated with the Spanish monarchs in order to obtain a better claim. The result of these negotiations was the 1494 “Treaty of Tordesilla,” in which Portugal agreed to limit their exploration to the southern hemisphere while Spain would claim the north.

Meanwhile, in England, King Henry VII had caught wind of Columbus’s exports and soon began weighing his options. In 1497, an Italian born sailor known in England as John Cabot approached the King with an offer to lead an expedition to the “New World.” Tacking to a northerly course (which Cabot believed would lead to the quickest route to India), the English expedition instead stumbled upon Newfoundland, which centuries earlier was home to the first Norse settlers. Landing near modern day Saint Johns on the Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland, Cabot explored the eastern coast of the island before returning to England with news of his discovery. While the English looked towards the north, the Spanish and the Portuguese meanwhile continued to explore the south, with Columbus’s third expedition to the New World resulting in the discovery of the Orinoco River. Upon discovering the freshwater river in what is now Venezuela, Columbus returned to Spain to boastfully declare that he had discovered “the true Indies.”

Eventually, Vasco de Gama eventually led a successful Portuguese expedition to India by way of crossing the Cape of Good Hope in southern Africa. This did not quell the interest in the “New World” however, and attempts to settle Hispaniola were successful the second time around. San Juan, Puerto Rico, the oldest continually occupied settlement North America, was founded in 1521. Later on, using indigenous peoples as slaves, the Spanish would build settlements in Central America, Cuba, Florida, and Mexico that would result in the lower Caribbean being known as the “Spanish Main” for centuries onward.


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Jacques Cartier's explorations in what is now Quebec and Newfoundland.
The French meanwhile had begun exploring the Newfoundland area as well as the delta of the Saint Lawrence River, establishing Port Royal in what is today western Nova Scotia in 1605. The settlement, nestled between the Annapolis Bay and the North Mountain range, provided the French with a secure outpost that could harbor a large fleet. Fertile soil attracted many colonist, and the settlement prospered quickly. Despite the success of the settlement, the French did not make any further attempts to colonize the area. In turn, the French largely focused on expanding their presence along the Saint Lawrence River where the profitable fur trade exploded. Port Royal primarily served as a defensive outpost on the outskirts of what became known as “Acadia.” These settlements would be the genesis of the region’s very large Francophone population. It was around this time Jacques Cartier launched his first expedition into the Gulf of Saint Lawrence after crossing the Straight of Belle Island and exploring the west coast of Newfoundland. A second expedition in 1535 took Cartier further down the Saint Lawrence River, making him the first European to explore inland North America. His journey down the river took him as far as modern day Montreal, and he named this land “Canada” (after an Iroquois phrase) and claimed it for France. A third and final expedition saw the establishment of trading posts along the Saint Lawrence River; these two sites would grow into the modern day cities of Montreal and Quebec.

The Spanish meanwhile were content to conquer their way across the Caribbean and Central America, establishing colonies in Puerto Rico, Cuba, Mexico, and Florida, often at great cost to the indigenous peoples of the region. The “Columbian Exchange” saw dramatic changes to global trade, as North American produce such as corn, tomatoes, potatoes, and tobacco were introduced to European markets while indigenous people in return received communicable diseases that had not been exposed to the native populations until this point, resulting in mass death. Those who did not die from the influx of new and deadly diseases were often taken into slavery by the Spanish, who justified their actions in the name of Christianity as they forcibly converted their captives. In comparison to the Spanish, the French were considerably more benign in their approach to the “Indians” they discovered, preferring to trade in peace.


By the end of the 16th century, the great Aztec and Incan civilizations had been subdued by the Spanish, while the Portuguese were establishing settlements across Brazil. The English had tried and failed to establish a settlement in Newfoundland, but the venture proved unprofitable and the settlers returned to England. Likewise, an attempt to settle Roanoke Island in what is now North Carolina ended with the mysterious disappearance of those residing there that remains unsolved well into the 21st century. These early failures did not deter the English, and the Virginia Company was founded in 1606 after King James I issued a royal charter offering the company the rights to establish a settlement in the New World in the name of the King. This was the genesis of Jamestown, the first English settlement in the New World.
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I am watching, I am a little confused, is our current monarch George II
I was looking at the wiki not the text
That was an oversight. The monarch is Elizabeth II as of 2020, and the homegrown royalty from the Yankee Dominion has been retconned (for the timeline, not the actual thread that spawned this spinoff of sorts).

Also, the first posts will show the OTL colonization process, though a series of small to medium sized PODs will dramatically alter the timeline of events from OTL by the late 18th century. A bit of a slow start, but I prefer spreading out a few minor PODs rather than one single event.
 
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Chapter II: The English in America.
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Jamestown was constructed in 1607; originally a small fort along the James River, the settlement grew in spite of hostilities with the local native population to become the colony of Virginia. The area was well suited for the growth of tobacco, and by 1619, with several small farms branching outwards from the original Jamestown settlement, the first African slaves had been imported. The colonies rapid growth resulted not only in an influx of English colonists seeking to make their fortune, but also in the later settlement of Bermuda in order to use it as a port and supply center for transatlantic trade between London and Virginia. While the Jamestown colony in Virginia flourished, there was no serious attempt by the English to settle the region of New England for over a decade after these charters were issued. As the coastal regions of the northeastern portion of the New World were explored, a continued trickle of knowledge continued to reach across the Atlantic to the continent. Henry Hudson, an English explorer, first charted Long Island in 1609 and on a second expedition landed in what is now known as Manhattan. Hudson was followed by the Dutch, who further explored what became known as the Hudson River and made contact with the native peoples of Long Island, which was then appropriately named Nassau Island in honor of the Dutch leader.

Following the ascension of King James I to the English throne after the demise of Queen Elizabeth I, the Kingdom of England saw a period of minor religious strife. The growing Puritan sect protested what they saw as the excesses of the Church of England, but the King refused their demands for reforms. Facing persecution from a King who enforced religious conformity rigorously, many of the Puritans immigrated to the Netherlands. However, life in the industrious, commercial centers of Holland was simply too fast paced for the agrarian Puritans, and the small exile community in Leiden began to evaporate. After much negotiation, the Puritans were given the right to settle in the Americas, and in September of 1620 the Mayflower set sail for the New World. After a perilous Atlantic crossing, the Mayflower would land off the eastern peninsula of Massachusetts in November. Here, the colonists drew up the “Mayflower Compact” and established a small settlement named New Plymouth. Their relatively amicable relations with the indigenous peoples of the area resulted in a harvest festival that eventually became known as the “First Thanksgiving.”


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The First Thanksgiving.
The Massachusetts Bay Company was founded after the success of the Mayflower expedition, with the towns of Salem being founded in 1629 and Boston in 1630. Puritans flocked to the region in droves, and by 1640, they numbered nearly 20,000. The Puritans enforced a rigid social system that tolerated little dissent, resulting in religious outcast Anne Hutchison and Roger Williams being banished in the mid-1630s to the regions south of the Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay colonies. The settlements founded here became known as Providence Plantations, and the colony quickly became a haven for those seeking religious freedom and toleration. In 1629, a failed attempt by Scottish settlers to establish a colony in Nova Scotia drew them into conflict with the already existing Acadian colonists. There would be three years of sporadic fighting between the two factions before the French were able to permanently expel the Scottish from the area. The French hold on Nova Scotia was lost in 1658, when English raiders acting under the authorization of Oliver Cromwell captured Port Royal. Nova Scotia would remain under English occupation until 1667, when King Charles II returned the territory to France. Despite the loss of the colony, many English settlers chose to remain and a few autonomous English settlements remained, more or less tolerated by their French colonial masters.

The Dutch meanwhile established New Amsterdam in Manhattan, a development which alarmed colonial authorities in Boston. To establish a firm hold on the region, King Charles I issued a charter to Sir William Alexander, allowing him to claim all of Long Island. Alexander soon sold the eastern portion of the island to the colonies of Connecticut and later New Haven, the latter of whom would establish administrative control over the island as English settlers began to form sparse outposts on the eastern tip of the island. The Dutch, who also claimed the island as "New Nassau" resented the English claim and allowed settlers to cross the river East River into what is now Brooklyn, which the English authorities on the eastern end of the island tolerated for the time being.

The colony of Maryland, which bordered the rapidly prospering Virginia colony, was settled in the 1630s as well. Named in honor of the wife of Queen Henrietta Marie, the colony was implied and advertised as a haven for English Catholics, with the proprietor of the original settlement being George Calvert, 1st Baron Baltimore. Calvert, an English peer and politician, had fallen out of favor with King Charles I for openly declaring himself a Catholic but continued to maintain a friendship with the monarch, who like his father was also privately inclined to the Catholic faith. This was the leading factor that led to the King granting the Maryland charter, with the unspoken implication being that religious freedom would be respected to a considerably greater degree than in the New England colonies.

1637 saw New Haven and later, Seabrook, established in and around the mouth of the Connecticut River. New Haven’s centralized location resulted in it becoming an important port strategically placed between the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam and the growing city of Boston. However, the colony was not legally chartered, and was very restrictive as to who could settle there. Settlement would continue up the Connecticut River, with the towns of Hartford, Mitford, Stamford, and Windsor rapidly being established. Ultimately, the collection of hamlets and farming villages would be incorporated into the colony of Connecticut in 1662. In the 1640s, northward expansion from Massachusetts as well as a continued influx of immigration from England resulted in the colonies that would eventual constitute New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine being settled. The primary town was Portsmouth, though settlers quickly moved up the Merrimack River to establish small settlements at Concord and Manchester. The surrounding towns around Portsmouth, primarily Dover and Essex, also became decently sized centers of colonial life. As was the case in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, New Hampshire was primarily a self-sustaining agrarian society.

The Anglo-Dutch Wars in the 1660s saw major boundary changes in the region; by 1660, Long Island had become the third most populous colony in New England. After the English seized New Amsterdam and all of Brooklyn, King Charles’s brother, the Duke of York (the future James II) was gifted the conquered lands. What is now the American province of New Jersey (and briefly, a failed Swedish colony) was sold off to pay the Duke’s debts, whereas the rest of New Amsterdam was rebranded as New York. The western portion of Long Island was placed in the control of New Haven, thus uniting the island under English rule. The proximity of Brooklyn to Manhattan resulted in the western island attracting far more settlers than the original coastal outposts on the island’s eastern shore. Soon after the island was charted as its own province, but this was short lived due to mismanagement and corruption among local authorities, and by 1685 Long Island was totally transferred to the colony of New York. All the while, New Jersey remained in English hands, albeit as a relatively underpopulated afterthought, briefly divided as “East Jersey” and “West Jersey” until 1702.


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The Fall of New Amsterdam.
There was growth in the south as well; by the 1660s, Virginia boasted a large population and multiple settlements. The land to the south was virtually untouched, however, and from the Spanish settlement in Saint Augustine in Florida all the way up to Warwick River Shire (known today as Newport News, Virginia) there were no firmly established colonial settlements. This changed when King Charles II, shortly after retaking the throne, issued a charter establishing the Carolina colony. Charles Towne, established in 1670, would be the first major port city in this colony and would serve as it’s capital. However, economic differences and geographical divides made governing this colony difficult, and starting in 1691, two separate governors were in charge of “North Carolina” and “South Carolina” until the early 18th century, when they were finally legally separated as two distinct entities.

In New England all the while, colonists continued to push northwards up the Connecticut River and westward from Boston, sparking tensions with the aboriginal tribes. The growing crisis boiled over into open conflict as time went on. By 1685, the population of English settlers in New England numbered over 80,000. Distrustful of the colonists, the Wampanoag’s chief Wamsutta was increasingly concerned about the declining native population, which was estimated to number only 10,000. This was primarily due to the introduction of new diseases to the region, which ravaged the Wampanoag people with repeated epidemics. Through trade with the English, the Wampanoag had obtained muskets and learned to make use of steel, allowing them to form a formidable army despite their decreasing numbers. After enlisting the aid of allied chiefs, Wamsutta decided to act. This was the start of what became known as “King Phillip’s War,” the greatest calamity to confront colonial New England. The conflict began when Wampanoag raiders attacked the village of Swansea at the mouth of the Taunton River, burning the entire town (including the local Baptist Church – the first of its kind in all of New England) after a five day siege. Though they failed to kill any of the 70 settlers, who took refuge in a well defended stockade, the successful destruction of the town coincidentally fell on the evening of a lunar eclipse. This was viewed as a good omen, and only further emboldened and inspired the indigenous population to revolt. In response, the colony of Massachusetts Bay dispatched a small militia to destroy the Wampanoag settlement on Mount Hope, a small hill located in present day Bristol, Rhode Island. The attack was repelled by Wamsutta’s warriors, and the incident only resulted in further retaliations.

The Wampanoag warriors next struck Brookfield alongside Nipmuc foot soldiers under the command of Muttawmp, an allied chief. They first ambushed a small party of local militia who had left the village in search of the raiding party after rumors reached the town of the impending attack, driving them back towards Brookfield after inflicting high casualties. The 80 or so colonists residing in Brookfield took shelter in a blockhouse, and held off the attacking warriors for two days before a relief party reached the town and broke the siege. Weeks later, Muttawmp led a band of raiders numbering over 700 in a second ambush on a group on a caravan of wagons bringing both the harvest and fleeing settlers from the town of Deerfield south towards Hadley. All of the colonists and their militia guards were slaughtered in the attack, and the abandoned settlement was later burnt to the ground.


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The Brookfield massacre shocked and angered the English settlers.
All the while, many of the Indian leaders in New England traveled westward to attempt to enlist the aid of the Mohawk tribe. They were unsuccessful in this endeavor, as the Mohawks and the Iroquois tribes enjoyed good relations with the new English administration in the recently conquered (and renamed) colony of New York. The colonial Governor of New York Edmund Andros had continued the Dutch practice of selling muskets and gunpowder to the native tribes, in part to prevent the French from gaining a foothold among the Native peoples of the Adirondack region. Though Governor Andros had banned the sale of muskets to all indigenous tribes and had recently sent gunpowder to aid the militias in Rhode Island, his friendly relations with the native tribes made him a distrusted figure in New England. In retaliation for the massacre near Deerfield, the Governor of the nearby Plymouth colony Josiah Winslow organized a militia to defend the region. Several Wampanoag women and children, fearing English attack, had fled to the Narraganset villages in Rhode Island for refuge. But as outrage over the Deerfield massacre continued to grow, so did a desire for revenge – thus sparking the “Great Swamp Slaughter.” The English settlers raided a Narraganset village on the southern coast of Rhode Island, burning down the huts and food stores and killing over 600 women and children. The remaining warriors were chased into the surrounding swamps, where they were hunted down or picked off for a handful of days before the colonial forces were forced to return to Plymouth due to dwindling supplies.

The winter of 1675-1676 brought about a lull in the fighting, though warrior bands remained active in the woods between Boston and Springfield. Settlers spent the winter huddling together with their neighbors in stockades hastily erected in and around their towns, awaiting with great anxiety the dreaded raids. Though those brave enough to travel the roads between the settlements occasionally were found scalped along the roadside, there was little recorded combat aside from a few skirmishes, primarily due to the inclement weather. During this period, ships from England arrived bearing muskets and gunpowder (but very few new settlers – immigration effectively halted for the duration of the conflict) to resupply the beleaguered colonies. The ships also brought badly needed food shipments – due to the conflict, settlers were forced to limit their planting and only worked their fields in large armed groups due to the threat of Indian raids.

The spring of 1676 saw a surge in Wampanoag activity. Seeking revenge for the slaughter of the officially neutral Narraganset villagers, raiding parties launched an offensive against the southern settlements in Plymouth and northern Rhode Island, burning both Providence and Warwick and killing scores of English civilians. The slaughter and carnage was so severe that almost the entirety of the colony’s population fled to the security of Newport, a well defended settlement on an island in the Narraganset Bay. With the war threatening to wipe out nearly fifty years of growth, the colonial leadership finally decided it was time to end the conflict decisively and at all costs.

As the spring turned to summer, the combined militias of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island began a push against the Wampanoag and Narraganset villages dotting the region. In a series of bloody raids, the colonists first repeated their attack on the Mount Hope settlement in Rhode Island, where one of the most notable aboriginal leaders, Wamsutta, was captured and later executed by beheading. Afterwards, the native army fled towards the destroyed city of Providence in Rhode Island, where they attempted a final resistance to the encircling militias with little success. Sensing impending doom, the ranks of the native army crumbled as warriors deserted in mass numbers, and eventually their main leader Metacomet was captured and killed as well. “King Phillip’s War” had come to an end, though at great human cost. It would take several years for the colonies to fully recover, and the promise of peace would prove to be short lived.

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The death of Metacoment, or "King Phillip."
The end of King Phillip’s War brought an eventual return to normalcy; the largely Puritan colonies saw their economies recover, their autonomy preserved, and their peace of mind restored. Immigration largely resumed at the same rates before the war, and the previously destroyed settlements – especially those in western and central Massachusetts – were rebuilt and prospered even more so than before. The native peoples, seeing the high cost of Metacomet and Wamsutta’s revolt, surrendered themselves to the prospect that New England was now more or less permanently in the hands of the colonists. This foothold would be the genesis of future growth along the entire east coast of the North American continent.
 
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Chapter III: Colonial Growth in the New World.
Though New England was plagued by conflict, the other colonies saw a period of quiet expansion. Pennsylvania was established during this period by William Penn; a loyalist to King Charles I during the English Civil Wars (which resulted in Cromwell briefly displacing the monarchy and ruling as a dictator in his own right) and was a favorite of King Charles II following the restoration. The King, who was indebted to Penn, agreed to his requests to establish a haven for English Quakers west of what is now New Jersey. Penn, a devout Quaker, would go on to found Philadelphia – which in Latin translates to the “city of brotherly love” – as the capital of the new colony of Pennsylvania. Religious freedom was guaranteed, and Penn mandated that relations with the Native Americans were to be conducted fairly and honorably. As a result, Pennsylvania’s indigenous population were spared many of the indignities and hardships they faced elsewhere. Philadelphia would quickly grow into one of the largest port cities on the Commonwealth’s east coast.

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Pennsylvania is chartered by King Charles II.
Since the restoration of the monarchy in England, London had sought to increase their control over their colonial subjects. Prior to the conflict, New England was largely ignored as a desolate outpost populated by Puritan troublemakers that King James I and his successors were happy to be rid of. But the chaos of King Philip’s War had convinced many of the settlers in the region of a need for a more organized government that could provide for the common defense, and the increasing populations of Anglican immigrants in Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island resented the powerful Puritan elites who dominated Massachusetts. On the other side of the Atlantic, King Charles II, “the Merry Monarch,” was happy to leave the New England colonists to their own devices while he basked in the pleasures of his court. His death in 1685 and the subsequent ascension of his younger brother James II to the throne resulted in increased interest from London that was resented in the colonies. Though the southern colonies such as Maryland and Virginia were prosperous agrarian societies that supplied cotton and tobacco to the wealthy merchants of London, the rocky soil of New England ensured that the primary engine of economic growth would be manufacturing and trade. By the 1680s, the workhouses of New England were on par to compete with the industrial output of England, and London merchants and their financial backers began to worry that the New England colonies would soon dominate the economy of their expansive holdings in the New World. Furthermore, the newly crowned King was troubled both by the fact that two of the men who sentenced his father King Charles I to death were living freely in Connecticut, while the practically theocratic Puritan colonial governments in Massachusetts Bay and Plymouth were suppressing the Church of England.

Thus, the mother country decided to act. The colonies were merged into a single entity known as “the Dominion of New England” after the King revoked the charters of Connecticut, Long Island, Massachusetts Bay, New Hampshire, and Plymouth and placed them under the administration of Joseph Dudley. From the onset of his rule, Dudley faced significant opposition from the Puritan elites who had previously governed the region. Many refused invitations to serve in his cabinet, and magistrates refused to take oaths of loyalty. When Dudley attempted to introduce the Church of England to New England, the Puritan meetinghouses refused to offer space for Anglican services (there were no Anglican churches established in Massachusetts at that point). Likewise, the Puritans resisted taxation efforts and generally did their best to cast to Dominion as an illegitimate usurpation of their autonomy.

This changed when Edmund Andros, the former Governor of the colony of New York, was named as the Administrator of the Dominion. A more autocratic leader, Andros eschewed the advice of the political moderates named to the cabinet by Dudley in favor of the counsel he received from military and crown officials back in London. When Puritans refused to open their meetinghouses to the Anglicans, he simply seized one in Boston for the purpose. Andros also began to more vigorously enforce the unpopular taxes that Dudley had mostly ignored, and added further levies on alcohol imports and livestock as well. When discontent began to vocalize in town meetings across the colonies, the Andros administration simply restricted them to one meeting a year in order to elect local officials. Many colonists resented the decision, viewing it as a violation of the Magna Carta. Governor Andros however was undeterred – in his mind, the Magna Carta applied only to England.

Watching from a distance with great interest was the French government in Quebec and Acadia, who took advantage of the period of restructuring in the English colonies by launching an expedition against the Mohawk tribes of northern New York with the intention of disrupting trade up the Hudson River. Word of the French raids against the Mohawk eventually reached the Abenaki tribe in present day Maine, who erroneously believed war had finally erupted. The Abenaki began launching raids on isolated English outposts in the region as a result. In an attempt to rally the colonies around his rule, Governor Andros led an expedition against the Abenaki that quelled the nascent native rebellion. Unfortunately for him, the mission backfired. Weary of war due to the bitter memory of King Phillip’s War, the settlers lashed out in anger, protesting Andros endangerment of the fragile peace with the greatly feared native tribes.

In 1688, the Anglican establishment in England welcomed the downfall of the Catholic inclined King James II, who was overthrown and sent into exile in France by his daughter and son-in-law. When word of the “Glorious Revolution” and the new monarchs commitment to the constitutional governance of England, the citizens of Boston rose up. In March of 1689, Governor Andros was seized by an angry mob who declared the Dominion of New England dissolved. The sympathetic King William III and his wife Queen Mary II restored the original colonial charters to Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island with a few caveats. One of these was the decision to merge the colony of Massachusetts Bay and Plymouth into Massachusetts, which weakened the Puritans influence overall.

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The Boston Revolt of 1689.

The Glorious Revolution of 1688 sparked another conflict between England and France, where King Louis XIV had given shelter and aide to the exiled James II. This war spread to New England in 1690, when a small English invasion force under the command of William Phips sailed out of Boston towards the Acadian capital of Port Royal in northwest Nova Scotia. The expedition was successful, with the town being taken after two days of skirmishes. The English victory at Port Royal denied France access to the main coastal settlement of Acadia, and the surrounding interior towns such as Saint John capitulated soon after. The French would retaliate with a devastating raid on Newfoundland, burning nearly every settlement on the island while killing over 100 civilians. The conflict would continue on a smaller scale until 1697, with low scale skirmishes taking place sporadically in Maine.

During the war, the town of Salem, Massachusetts gained infamy for a series of witch trials and executions. After a number of young girls in the town began to lash out in violent spasms, fears of witchcraft spread and a number of women, including a homeless beggar, a widow who controversially remarried an indentured servant, and a South American born Indian slave woman named Tituba being among those accused. Several people were tried and executed on witchcraft charges, and the events that sparked the witch hunt remains shrouded in mystery. It has since been speculated that the girls either suffered from PTSD in response to past Indian attacks, or that they had perhaps ingested rye bread containing an infected fungus known to cause psychedelic experiences. Regardless, the Salem Witch Trials became one of the earliest and most widely discussed occurrences in the history of colonial New England.

The 1700s saw Queen Anne’s War, in which Britain found herself in conflict with France and Spain once more. This conflict played out similarly to King Williams War, with the English seizing and occupying the city of Port Royal and making unsuccessful plays against the French stronghold of Quebec. There was sporadic fighting in what is now Maine and New Brunswick, though the conflict’s strongest impact on New England was more related to the war at sea rather than the war on the frontier. After the conflict ended and the House of Hannover replaced the House of Stuart on the British throne, life largely resumed to the way it was in the days before King Philip’s War. Commerce was no longer disrupted, while immigration resumed to its previously rapid growth rate. Immigration continued, increasingly to places like New Hampshire and Maine, which saw new settlements founded as the English migrated increasingly inward. Nova Scotia and what would become New Brunswick also saw increased English settlement, though the latter remained legally part the French colony of Acadia.

As New England grew, so did the regional infrastructure. The port of Boston had become an important commercial hub that the entire region was centered around economically; the outlying villages and hamlets grew into larger towns themselves, and as the colonies expanded outward, so did the networks of roads connecting them. The colonies organized their own postal systems, and future elite educational institutions were founded across the region. Among the most notable were Harvard (1634), Yale (1701), and Brown (1761), with Phillips Andover and Exeter in New Hampshire becoming the first and most enduring private high schools. New cities, including Halifax, Nova Scotia, would emerge as the 18th century reached its half-way mark as the colonies continued to expand in relative peace. In the south,
Virginia and the Carolinas were also growing rapidly; Virginia by the 1630s had grown so large that they had their own colonial legislature, which by the dawn of the 18th century most other colonies had done so as well. While not as powerful as the House of Commons in Britain, the colonial legislatures none the less continued the tradition of self-governance established by the Mayflower Compact nearly a century before. This tradition would go on to become an ingrained aspect of colonial culture and collective mindset.

One peculiar government was “the Pirate’s Republic” that popped up in the Bahamas on New Providence Island; the War of Spanish Succession, which raged for thirteen years from 1701-1714, had led to an influx of privateers to the New World, authorized by London or the colonial governments in North America to wage war on the French and Spanish ships. When the war came to a close, many of these privateers turned to piracy to make their living, and the lawless settlements in what is today the provincial Bahamian capital of Nassau became a base of operations for many of these widely feared rogues. Some of the most celebrated and reviled figures of the “Golden Age of Piracy” would emerge from this island, which was governed by an informal council of pirate captains. Among them were Edward Teach – better known as the famous “Blackbeard” – as well as Stede Bonnett and “Calico Jack” Rackham. In 1718, after the ascension of King George I as King of England, the English Navy under the command of Woodes Rodgers took control of the “republic” without firing a shot after offering amnesty to those who made their fortunes plundering on the high seas. This marked the beginning of Britain exerting her full authority over the otherwise neglected Bahamas, and resulted in a more consistent British naval presence.

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The death of Blackbeard off the coast of present day North Carolina.
As settlers readily flowed into New England, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, the face of the land dramatically changed. The once vast frontier between Florida and Virginia was completely eradicated in the 1730s, when English politician James Oglethorpe receiving a charter to resettle debtors in the newly established colony of Georgia. Named for King George II, the second Hanoverian monarch of Great Britain, the colony was envisioned to be a southern counterpart to Pennsylvania, an envisioned utopian society in which natives were treated well and slavery was forbidden. This would not come to pass; Georgia would bankrupt Oglethorpe and his investors, and by 1750 it was being directly administered by the Crown. The importation of African slaves to Georgia would commence shortly thereafter, though the southernmost colony continued to be an underpopulated and quiet corner of the Empire.

By 1750, the population of Britain’s colonial holdings in North America was 1.5 million; the colonies had become fully integrated with the transatlantic trade networks, exporting agricultural output like cotton, tobacco, corn, and other products such as furs and skins provided by native trappers. Imported goods included coffee, sugar, tea, and gunpowder among other products. The economy necessitated the continued import of African slaves, who made up a large component of the population. The colonial militias were usually relatively equipped in preparation for Indian attacks or slave revolts, though throughout the first half of the eighteenth century the colonies were largely peaceful despite a number of European conflicts raging around them. However, age old territorial disputes in Europe would soon throw the globe into conflict…
 
Chapter IV: The French in the New World.
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New France as of 1750.
Though expansive geographically, New France was as vast as it was sparsely populated. Primarily driven by two crucial waterways (the Saint Lawrence and Mississippi rivers), the Francophone population in the New World was primarily spread out among the coast and among the rivers. New Orleans was a critical city which held vital importance to the fragmented settlements across the midwest in the Ohio river valley. The colony primarily developed in present day Quebec as a result of Jacques Cartier's expeditions down through the Saint Lawrence river, with the city of Quebec being founded in 1608. With English colonists flooding into New England, France saw their own (if not smaller) influx of settlers, many of whom were attracted to Quebec due to the prospering fur trade. Other settlers established villages across the Maritime provinces, including the successful establishment of small villages across Nova Scotia and New Brunswick; the authorities in Paris deemed the region Acadia, which was separate from the colony of Quebec.

As the population of New France steadily grew to the north of the burgeoning Virginia and New England colonies, new cities popped up across the region. The fortress of Louisburg, constructed on Cape Breton Island, served as a defensive barrier to the mouth of the Saint Lawrence, which allowed for steady if not also slow growth. Yet the fur trade continued to bloom, and the French cultivated amicable relationships with the indigenous population of the region which ensured commerce could be conducted without interruption. Montreal, originally established as the site of a Catholic missionary outpost, quickly swelled population wise after it's foundation in the 1640s. In addition to the colonization of Canada and Acadia, another effort to explore and chart the Gulf Coast, explorers like Rene LaSalle began exploring the interior by traveling upwards the Mississippi river. Small trading posts in Saint Louis became the heart of New France's booming fur trade, and the establishment of New Orleans ensured continuous commercial expeditions into the heartland.

Though constructed below sea level, and thus vulnerable to hurricanes, flooding, and tropical diseases, the city of New Orleans became the base hub of the French region of Louisiana, which was the third component of New France along with Acadia and Canada. The port offered by New Orleans, plus the better conditions for agriculture as compared to Acadia and Canada, resulted in France joining the English in importing black Africans as slave laborers. Other cities, such as Mobile and Baton Rouge, were spawned as the result of the growing prosperity and increasing population. As the colony grew upwards along the banks of the Mississippi River, where settlements, trading posts, and plantations popped up. It didn't take long for the demographically driven divides of colonial society became blurred. Unlike the English, there was widespread intermarriage between the French settlers and indigenous people. This gave birth to the Creole culture, which mixed Caribbean culture with French values; the creole population of Louisiana would form the bedrock of a new middle class in the colony.


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The "Filles du Roi" arrive in Mobile.
By the 1750s, the French settlements in New France had a population of 75,000 people. The growth was in part due to an influx of unmarried women, who became known as "Filles du Roi," or "the Daughters of the King." Many of these women came from poor or middle class backgrounds who could not find a suitable bachelor in France, lured by the promise of wealth within the growing New World colony. While most chose Quebec over the underdeveloped cities of New Orleans and Mobile, the arrival of the women plus immigration from Alsace, Switzerland, and the Palatine also boosted the French dominance over the region.

Yet in contrast to the considerably more populated British colonies on the Atlantic coast, New France remained somewhat of a backwater in comparison to the more prosperous French colonies and possessions in the Caribbean. The interior largely remained untouched by this growth, though among French trappers there was an increasing interest in the Ohio river valley; this put them into conflict with English trappers, many of whom had crossed the Appalachian mountains into the region. As the British coastal colonies grew inward from the shore, it became increasingly apparent that the British would have to push westward, putting them on a collision course with the French. A series of fortifications were constructed by both nations as they asserted their respective claims to the north shore of the Ohio river.


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Fort Le Boeuf - a French outpost in the Ohio Country.
At the dawn of the 1750s, the population of Britain’s colonial holdings in North America had risen to 1.5 million; the colonies had become fully integrated with the transatlantic trade networks, exporting agricultural output like cotton, tobacco, corn, and other products such as furs and skins provided by native trappers. Imported goods included coffee, sugar, tea, and gunpowder among other products. The economy necessitated the continued import of African slaves, who made up a large component of the population. The colonial militias were usually relatively equipped in preparation for Indian attacks or slave revolts, though throughout the first half of the eighteenth century the colonies were largely peaceful despite a number of European conflicts raging around them. However, age old territorial disputes in Europe would soon throw the globe into conflict.
 
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Chapter V: Early stage of the French and Indian War.
The Ohio River Valley, once desolate and remote, would be by 1750 the latest region to undergo rapid transformation. Largely untouched until this point besides the sparse presence of British and French trappers, the region was desired both by London and by Paris due to its strategic position, its natural wealth, and fertile farmland. Whereas the British colonies boasted a large population of 1.5 million, the French population in the New World was considerably smaller, numbering only 75,000. As the British colonies continued to grow westward from the Atlantic coast to the Appalachian Mountains, the dispute over the Ohio River Valley’s ownership threatened to once again spark conflict. In preparation for such a war, the British over the years were keen on cultivating a friendly and steady relationship with the Iroquois Confederacy, the largest indigenous force in the region. Secure in their relationships with the native peoples of the region, the British government chartered the Ohio Company in 1749, giving them exclusive rights to settle the land and develop trade relations with the indigenous tribes living in the region. This led to a slow but steady trickle of British fur traders and settlers crossing the Appalachians, settling in western Virginia and Pennsylvania to the alarm of French authorities in Quebec. In response, a series of French forts were constructed to buttress against the western boundaries of the thirteen British colonies. The Iroquois, angered by the French presence in the region, lobbied the colonial governments in New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia to act against the French. While the Governors in New York and Pennsylvania declined, fearing such actions would upset the peace in North America, the Governor of Virginia (who had a large investment in the Ohio Company and was threatened financially by French encroachment in the area) agreed to form a small party of men who were tasked with expelling the French from Fort Duquesne, a recently constructed military installation located at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers.

Tasked with leading this small force was George Washington, then a Major in the colonial militia at just twenty two years of age. Setting out from Williamsburg in October, 1753 in the company of a few native allies, the force of a 150 men marched northwards through western Virginia towards the French fort at the “Ohio forks.” The French however were aware of Washington’s expedition through the reports of aligned Indian scouts, and sent a detachment of French troops under the command of a Captain Jumonville to engage Washington. However, it would be the British who first stumbled upon the French while they were camped near a glen named Great Meadows. Washington’s troops ambushed the enemy force, with Jumonville being killed by a tomahawk blow to head by one of the British’s Indian allies. The French troops who managed to survive fled back to Fort Duquesne, while Washington’s men retreated for the winter by constructing a stockade named Fort Necessity.


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George Washington, pictured during the Seven Years War.
With the winter bringing a halt to warfare for the time being, the French authorities were outraged and immediately ordered a reprisal raid to remove Washington’s men from the area. This resulted in a French force encircling Fort Necessity in May of 1754; outnumbered and with no escape, the British force was forced to surrender and allowed to withdrawal from the area. In Virginia, Washington resigned his commission temporarily rather than face demotion as news of the fighting reached London. The Duke of Newcastle, the Prime Minister to King George II, responded by ordering Major General Edward Braddock to take command of an invasion force to secure the Ohio River Valley. However, before Braddock could even martial the British army news had reached Paris, where King Louis XIV had ordered the deployment of six regiments to New France. By the time the British navy was sent to block the Atlantic ports of France, the enemy fleet had already set out. As a British fleet hurriedly set out in pursuit of the French, the remaining British naval squadrons in the area began harassing French ships on the high seas, leading to a formal declaration of war between the two nations. This would draw Britain and France into the broader Seven Years War due to their respective alliances with Prussia and Austria, who were already in conflict over the disputed region of Silesia in central Europe. General Braddock’s arrival in the New World was too late, however. The French fleet had arrived with reinforcements, making the British mission to drive the French out of the Ohio River Valley an even harder accomplishment to achieve.

Yet Braddock insisted on marching on Fort Duquesne, even convincing Major Washington to reenlist as an aide. With 1,500 men, they set out on yet another march towards the French fortress, but this time, the enemy was waiting for them. In a dramatic and bloody ambush, French troops joined by Quebec militiamen and native allies attacked Braddock’s column of troops. Braddock himself was killed, and Major Washington was forced to organize a hasty retreat of the 500 or so survivors. As Braddock’s surviving men straggled through the wilderness back to Virginia, a second and more fruitful campaign was being planned against the French in Acadia. Under the command of Sir William Johnson, the British general in charge of the fort at Crown Point in northern New York near Lake Champlain, a force of British troops, colonial militia, and assorted native allies planned to invade the underbelly of Quebec while a second British campaign would be launched out of Boston with the goal of splitting of what is now known as Nova Scotia from Acadia.


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Braddock's ambush derailed the first British expedition.
Johnson’s campaign proved to be unsuccessful; the French drove him from the shores of Lake Champlain, where he was forced to retreat to Albany. Meanwhile, the French began construction of a large stone fortress named Fort Carilon (now known as Fort Ticonderoga) in order to maintain their hold on northern New York and shore up the defenses of Quebec. All the while, Colonel Robert Monckton led a successful amphibious attack on Fort Beausejour in present day New Brunswick. Setting out by sea from Boston, the British besieged and ultimately captured the strategic French fort on the isthmus of Chignecto. This solidified the British’s hold on Nova Scotia, and sealed off the only overland route between Acadia and the French settlers still left in the province; fearing that the Acadian population in the colony could revolt and threaten their newfound hold on Nova Scotia, the British military began to systematically round up Acadians for deportation to Quebec or to a lesser extent the southern colonies. A significant amount Acadians were also sent to Louisiana, where they would go on to form the Cajun community in time.

But the fall of Fort Beausejour was not only critical for securing Nova Scotia; it also cut off the French fortress at Louisburg on Cape Breton Island from receiving overland reinforcements, making it vulnerable to siege. Louisburg’s strategic position make it the gatekeeper to the Saint Lawrence, and its fall was imperative to the British before any campaign could be launched against Quebec or Montreal. With winter setting in at the end of 1755, there was the expected lull in combat, though French irregulars and their Native allies continued to harass British outposts across the Ohio River Valley with low scale guerrilla warfare. In 1756, the British prepared to continue their campaign of encircling the colonial possessions of France, even before war was officially declared. When King George II formally declared war and aligned with Prussia against the Habsburgs, the Spanish, and the French, London finally took more notice of the strategic importance of securing the Ohio river valley. With government in London at last taking a more active interest in the war in North America, a change of command was arranged for and a number of new officers were sent overseas. This led to turmoil and confusion among the forces already stationed in the colonies, who were held in place for several months during this period before a clear chain of command could be established. During this time, the British remained in a largely defensive posture, and the French were quick to take advantage of it.

Marching from Montreal down the shores of Lake Ontario in northern New York, a French force surprised and overwhelmed the British garrison at Fort Oswego. Taking 121 cannon and 1,700 prisoners of war, the region was left practically defenseless. Setting his sights on Albany, the Marquis de Montcalm – the newly minted French commander in North America – marched his forces eastward along the river towards Fort Bull and his ultimate target. Successfully taking Fort Bull weeks later, the Marquis was content to march into Albany but worried about his northern flank, which could be exposed. In order to secure this, he marched around Albany (which bought the town and its defenders time to construct adequate defenses and resupply) towards Fort William Henry at the bottom of Lake Champlain. The attack would prove to be a complete disaster; overstretching their supply lines and exhausted from weeks of marching through the wilderness, the French had underestimated the strength of the British garrison and were further surprised when British troops in Albany took a gamble and marched upwards to join the fight. Forced to retreat backwards to Fort Oswego, the French invasion of New York had failed, but left many questions about the colony’s collective defenses in its aftermath.


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Fort Oswego would remain in French hands.
 
Chapter VI: The Albany Conference
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Benjamin Franklin - father of the Commonwealth
Benjamin Franklin had a solution; perhaps one of the most widely known and universally respected figures in the entirety of the New World, Franklin was a true renaissance man, who had experience as a journalist, a philosopher, a satirist, a scientist, and a statesman. Franklin, who was the editor of the Pennsylvania Gazette and widely admired as the leading intellectual in the New World, led the drive for a colonial conference to coordinate the defenses of the British colonies in his publication as early as 1754, two years before the official onset of the war. The colonial legislatures of Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Newfoundland, New Hampshire, New York, Nova Scotia, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island agreed to send delegations to a conference that would ultimately be held in Albany, New York. Delegations from the southern colonies were invited to attend, though the legislatures of Georgia, the Carolinas, and Virginia all either rejected or ignored the solicitation.

Franklin’s proposal was met with initial skepticism both by the delegates and later, by the authorities in London. Calling for the economic and political union of the colonies in subservience to the broader British Empire and the crown, Franklin laid forth the case for the establishment of a pan-colonial assembly that would coordinate legislation and raise the funds necessary to sustain the war effort. Executive power would be invested in a “President-General” appointed by the Crown, while the government in London would maintain complete control of the armed forces spare for the individual colonial militias. Though the broader concept was widely praised by the attendees in Albany, there were many practicalities that had to be addressed. First and foremost was a sense of doubt about the viability of such a plan before parliament in London, who surely were not keen on having a competitive legislative body within the realms of the Empire.

Second, there were competing interests at hand. Only a few of the colonies had even sent delegates to the initial conference, and even they were skeptical of the scheme, which they feared would threaten their fragile autonomy. Charter colonies specifically worried about how such a union could negatively impact their economies, and more importantly, their investor’s bottom line. Other differences were political in nature; the northern colonies were threatened by neighboring French territories; the southern colonies, which did not bother to send delegates, were not. Considerably underdeveloped and agrarian in nature compared to the middle and northern colonies, they had no interest in diverting their treasuries to defend their wealthier neighbors.


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Thomas Hutchison of Massachusetts
Thomas Hutchison, a delegate from Massachusetts who served as a judge and previously had been elected to the colonial legislature, wrote strongly in defense of Franklin’s plan. Hutchison surmised “a Union of His Majesty's established governments on the continent, that so their councils, treasure, and strength may be employed in due proportion against their common enemy” was necessary for the defense of the colonies, and had some pull in both Boston and London. An enthusiastic backer of Franklin’s proposal, which had been published in advance in the Pennsylvania Gazette, Hutchison was excited by the opportunity presented by the Conference. Setting out from Boston in mid-May ahead of the scheduled first meeting in June, Hutchison’s travels were soon interrupted when he fell ill near Springfield, Massachusetts. His fever worsening, he was forced to withdraw back to Boston in order to recuperate. His return to Boston would deprive Franklin of one of his most influential allies.

Hutchison’s absence did not deter Franklin from presenting his proposal to the delegates, though it became apparent relatively early on into the conference that the attendees were overwhelmingly skeptical. The delegates noted that the proposal dramatically overstepped their initial charge – they were gathered to debate funding the impending war and formulating an approach to relations with the officially neutral Iroquois tribes. Franklin countered that the “Grand Council” he was arguing in favor of could be of greater influence in regards to the Iroquois, though he struggled to convince delegates that such a plan would not result in greater taxation. Though he insisted that his plan would provide for greater oversight of colonial finances, it was not enough to push it through. The “Albany Plan” as it became colloquially known, was not outright rejected however. Instead, the delegates voted to schedule a second conference the following year to better study the issue.

Despite the setbacks at Fort Necessity and Braddock’s Expedition, the British successes in Nova Scotia boosted morale both in the Americas and in Britain. With most of the colonial leadership – including many of the delegates themselves – actively engaged in the war effort in one way or another, the second planned conference in Albany was perpetually delayed much to Franklin’s annoyance throughout the duration of 1755. Franklin did not give in, and by the onset of 1756, there was rekindled interest in another conference, largely in part due to Franklin’s prodding in the widely read Pennsylvania Gazette. Invitations were again extended, and all the original participating colonies plus Virginia (which in 1754 had elected not to send a delegation) agreed to be represented.

In the summer of 1756, delegates returned to Albany. This time Hutchison, who had maintained a long correspondence with Franklin in the intervening year, was able to attend and contribute to the debates. Despite the conflict raging in the region, the city of Albany was once again selected as the host site due to its relative geographic proximity to all participants, and delegates began pouring into the city from across the region as the war raged on. Once more, Franklin found his proposals for a union of the colonies to be under fire. Opponents argued that such an agreement would only result in an unfair distribution of revenues collected, while others claimed that the war with France was going well under the status quo and there was no cause for concern in regards towards a French offensive. Yet, unknown to the delegates at the second Albany Conference was the looming twist of irony that was soon to confront them.

Just days after the initial meeting of the Conference, a French army set out of Montreal and crossed the Saint Lawrence, quickly taking Fort Oswego and capturing over a hundred cannon and nearly two thousand redcoats in the process. Word reached Albany just days ahead of the French advance, and the conference was forced to adjourn as delegates fled south down the Hudson River towards New York, where they had agreed to reassemble. All the while, Virginia delegate George Washington offered his military expertise to the local militia, overseeing the rapid construction of earthworks around the city in anticipation of a French attack. The French attack, however, never came. Instead, they marched past Albany in order to attack Fort William Henry, an effort that was fruitless in the end and resulted in their retreat northwards. Though Albany had been spared certain destruction (the French intended to raze the city), the conference which bore its name would continue in New York.


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The battle of Fort William Henry.
The near miss in Albany had a profound effect on the delegates. Franklin used the opportunity to argue that the French, should they have taken the city, would have marched down the Hudson and occupied New York in order to split off New England from the remainder of the colonies. Hutchison corralled the New England delegation as a result, arguing that the proposal would be more benevolent and decentralized in nature than the despised “Dominion of New England” that had briefly existed at the twilight of the 17th century. With their security endangered by another French advance, they reluctantly agreed to endorse Franklin’s proposal. This was a considerable surprise to the other delegates, many of whom believed New England would be the most adamantly opposed to such a union due to events in their recent past. This gave the proposal new momentum, and after a few weeks of debate, a compromise draft of the “Manhattan Declaration” was issued.

The resolution, which ultimately was unanimously adopted, declared the colonies “unyielding and unwavering devotion” to “his Majesty and his government” while formally laying out the case for the creation of a grand council to administrate the affairs of the colonies and coordinate their defenses. The conference voted to elect Franklin as “the Ambassador-General” of the colonies to the Court of King George II, and he immediately embarked for London to present the case for greater autonomy before the crown and parliament.
 
Chapter VII: Good King Freddie
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King Frederick of Great Britain was, in many ways, as traditional a prince and King as his predecessors in spite of his legacy. Like his own father before him, he sparred with the King as Prince of Wales, supported the political opposition, cultivated a close network of aligned courtiers, and in general did everything in his power to be a nuisance to his parents. Yet Frederick stands out in the annals of British history for his brief relatively brief progressive reign, a period in which both the enlightenment peaked in England while the tradition of constitutional monarchy was permanently enshrined.

He was born in Hanover in 1707, the grandson of Prince-Elector George and first child of Prince George, the heir to the throne of the German principality. Through his great-grandmother, the aging Dowager Duchess Sophia, the Hanoverian royal family were direct descendants of King James I of England and Scotland, the founder of the now exiled (and Catholic) Stuart dynasty. Shortly after Sofia died, her son George became the heir to the British throne by virtue of being the most senior protestant descendant of King James I. It was only a matter of months before Queen Anne had died, and the Elector had risen from being the ruler of a minor German principality to sitting on the throne of one of Europe’s most powerful Kingdoms.

A stranger in his own realm, George preferred to focus his energy towards the domestic matters of Hanover where he held absolute power while delegating responsibilities for English affairs to his Ministers, who defined the traditions that evolved into the widely used Westminster system. Robert Walpole, through his office as First Lord of the Treasury, became effectively the first British Prime Minister. George I was threatened by Jacobite rebellions during his reign, with the “Young Pretender” invading Scotland with French support. Claiming to be King James III, the son of the exiled James II, the first Jacobite rebellion was put down. A similar and slightly more threatening Jacobite rebellion in 1745 by his son, widely lampooned as “Bonnie Prince Charlie,” was similarly defeated during the reign of King George II. When King George I died of a stroke while traveling in Hanover, his son rose to the throne as George II. The new King had hated his father since his childhood due to the imprisonment of his mother for adultery, and was determined to undo his legacy. As a show of respect to his English countrymen, he even declined to travel to Hanover in order to attend the funeral of the late King.


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King George II (1683-1760)
However, his efforts to remove Sir Robert Walpole as Prime Minister and replace him with Sir Spencer Compton was thwarted by none other than his wife, Queen Caroline of Ansbach, who held considerable sway over her husband. Walpole would dominate the first decade and a half of King George II’s reign as the leading political authority in England, and would be followed by a string of other Prime Ministers until the rise of William Pitt the Elder during the Seven Years War. King George II was content to allow Walpole to govern the country as his hands were filled with his strained relationship with his heir. Frederick, the Prince of Wales, soon followed the traditional Hanoverian footsteps and began quarreling with his father the King as he entered adulthood not unlike his father before him. Prince Frederick had been primarily raised in Hanover, and did not see his parents at all between the ages of seven and fourteen. This contributed to a great distance between them that would be the source of their mutual acrimony. The Prince did not move to Britain until he turned 21 in 1728, by which time he was known in Hanover for his fondness for women and wine. His behavior scandalized the court in London and caused great dismay for the King and Queen, who attempted to control their son’s behavior to the greatest extent possible.

Falling in with a crowd of artists and composers, Frederick irritated his conservative father with his lavish patronage of the arts. In 1731, to the King’s horror, the Prince even co-wrote and coproduced a musical at the Drury Lane Theater in London, which turned out to be a total flop and a major loss for investors. Five years later, with public opinion turning against him, it was decided he was to be married to Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha, aged sixteen. The marriage proved to be reasonably happy in spite of the Prince’s indiscretions. Though he maintained a string of mistresses and had a suspicious relationship with Lord Harvey (a bisexual court gossip and diarist), the Prince still sired several children with his wife. The birth of their first child, Princess Augusta (the future Duchess of Brunswick), was in such controversial circumstances that it nearly resulted in the King attempting to legally disinherit the Prince. When the Prince learned that his pregnant wife had gone into labor at Hampton Court Palace, he had her hurriedly snuck out by carriage to Saint James Palace in order to ensure that the King and Queen would not be present at the birth. Enraged, the Queen, Lord Hervey, and two of the Prince’s sisters raced to Saint James, where the Queen was relieved to find the Princess of Wales had only given birth to, in the Queen's words, a “wretched little she-mouse.” The event was enough to create a permanent chasm between father and son, and soon Frederick was stripped of all official duties and banished from court. He established his own rival court in Leicester House, where a number of his father’s political opponents gathered around him.


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Patronized by the Prince, cricket exploded in popularity as Britain's national sport.
The Prince also had a fondness for the newly invented game of cricket, which was exploding in popularity in Britain and to a lesser extent in the Americas as well. The sport, which was largely dependent around gambling, naturally attracted the attention of the Prince, who soon became its leading patron. The Prince was also an active participant in the sport; the fact that in 1751 it almost took his life was no issue. Injured by an errant ball that caused several broken ribs followed by the onset of pneumonia, the Prince returned to the sport after over a year’s absence with even more passion than he had before. Frederick loved his children almost as much as he loved cricket; the relationship between his wife and him was relatively solid like that of his parents, and Princess Augusta like her mother-in-law tolerated her husband’s other affairs. Siring nine children in total, the Prince’s domestic life was lively but pleasant. His eldest son, Prince George and his brother, Prince Edward, were educated by Francis Ayscough, and subjected to rigorous instructions in the manners of Kingship. But despite the Prince of Wale's support for reformist politicians and opposition to the King, the young Princes were raised in a very conservative manner. This was not on the orders of the King, but rather, the Prince of Wales himself, as his own personal alliance with the opposition was centered on convenience and financial necessity rather than true conviction.

Though the relationship between the Prince of Wales and the King remained frosty right until the end of George II’s life, there were periods of reconciliation. The first was due to public pressure following the 1745 Jacobite rebellion, but was short lived. The second was in 1755, when fears of conflict with France began to circulate in London. It was important, the King’s Ministers argued, that the Royal Family display a since of unity. Frederick quit patronizing the political opposition as a result, but was still privately detested by the King and loathed by the government. As a result, for the duration of the early year of the conflict, he was largely confined to a quiet life of socializing in London.

The 1756 Albany Conference, in which Ben Franklin’s proposed “Plan of Union” was adopted, gave the Prince of Wales an opportunity to display both to the public and parliament his readiness to take the throne. When Benjamin Franklin arrived in London to pitch the Albany plan to parliament, he was readily received by the Prince of Wales at his lodgings in Leicester House. The Prince, who held a wide array of academic, scientific, and philosophical interests, was greatly impressed by Franklin’s wit and wisdom, and agreed to take up the colonists cause. The reasoning for this was twofold; it would most certainly raise Frederick’s popularity and profile in the New World, a cornerstone of Britain’s growing economic power, as well as yet another opportunity to foil the Prime Minister and his father’s ambitions.

The Prince of Wales used his stature to promote the plan, writing and publishing an open letter that was shared both in the London and American press that endorsed the proposal. The King was furious, but he had no means to express this publicly like Frederick had done, and worried that doing so would violate the constitutional traditions of the British monarch being “above” politics. As a result, in 1757 and 1758, a string of colonial legislatures adopted the Albany plan while the King and Prime Minister did their best to simply ignore the issue in favor of focusing on the more pressing challenges such as the war effort. The King thoroughly detested Frederick by this point to the extent that they were not on speaking terms at all, and refused to give him a military commission of any kind (which embarrassed the Prince, as his younger brother the Duke of Cumberland was leading the British armies in Hanover against the French), which had the unintended consequence of Frederick throwing himself into colonial affairs. Over the next three years, he maintained a lengthy correspondence with most colonial governors and several high ranking military officers. By 1760, the Prince was more up to date on the North American front than his father the King, and had his eyes on the future.

Then, on the morning of October 25th, 1760, a messenger breathlessly arrived at Leincester House with the news from Kensington Palace; the King had collapsed on his water closet, and the Prince was to come at once. By the time the Prince of Wales had arrived, it was too late. King George II had died at the age of 76 of an aortic aneurysm after a reign of thirty three years. Frederick, Prince of Wales had risen to the throne as King Frederick I of Great Britain. With the war raging in America and Europe, and with an Empire that stretched from Boston to Bombay, the awesome burden of responsibility fell on the shoulders of a man who’d go on to be remembered as “Good King Freddie.”
 
Chapter VIII: William Pitt and the fall of New France.
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William Pitt the Elder.
Though the Albany Conference in 1756 produced a plan, it would not be enacted in a timely manner. The pressing concerns presented by the war in the Americas, Europe, and on the high seas dominated the attention of the King and the government in London, and it did not take long for the events of the Albany to become an afterthought. But those who wrote and published the Manhattan Declaration were determined to have their voices heard. Through the efforts of Benjamin Franklin, their Ambassador-General to London, they would find two friendly ears. The first was the Prince of Wales, who would in due time take the throne himself. The other was William Pitt.

One of the most prominent political figures in London and a member of parliament since 1735, Pitt served first as the Paymaster of the Forces under a succession of Prime Ministers until 1755. Two years later, he was appointed Secretary of State of the Southern Department, a critical position in the cabinet which made him His Majesty’s chief diplomat with the Catholic nations of Europe as well as the chief minister in charge of the American colonies as well as the domestic affairs of England and Wales. Along with his colleague the Secretary of State of the Northern Department (who handled domestic Scottish affairs and relations with the Protestant nations of northern Europe), Pitt was both the de-facto Foreign Minister and Home Secretary. Through the skillful manipulation of his authority and the excessive exercise of his influence, he was within a years time basically in the position of de-facto Prime Minister, even if the incompetent Duke of Newcastle legally held the title and officially headed the government.

With Pitt more or less taking the reins, the British performance in the war dramatically turned around. Until this point, the Duke of Newcastle was primarily concerned with the war in Europe, and had focused a great deal of his energy into ensuring the security of Hanover despite the assurances of allied Prussia’s King Frederick (“the Great”) that the European theater was largely under control. As a result, the colonial leadership was left to their own devices, and this in turn spurred on Franklin’s movement for greater autonomy and self-government. Resulting in the Albany Conference and the subsequent Manhattan Declaration, Pitt argued privately to the King that a new strategy must be adopted. The King agreed, and Pitt soon earned his reputation as a skilled tactician as a result. The British would continue to send large armies to Hanover, in order to distract the French and force them to launch a full scale invasion of western Germany in possible with the goal of tying down as many troops and resources as possible. All the while, Britain would make use of their naval supremacy by encircling and capturing as many loose French possessions as possible, with targets spread across the Caribbean and West Africa.

In North America, a more ambitious plan was implemented. As the war in upper New York had been a stalemate, and with Montreal and Quebec being well defended from a land invasion from the south, it was decided the best route to securing New France would be down the Saint Lawrence. In order to do so, the French citadel at Louisburg would first have to be captured. Following the fall of Fort Beausejour and the capture of Nova Scotia, the fortress had been isolated from overland supply routes and relied on French ships for supplies and substance. Using their superior naval presence in the region to blockade the fortress on Cape Breton Island, an amphibious invasion force under the command of Jeffrey Amherst and his chief lieutenant James Wolfe landed unmolested and began constructing earthworks around the fortress on the eighth of June, 1758. The siege would continue for several months, though French morale slowly eroded as supplies dwindled. After a British “hot shot” (a heated cannonball) successfully started a fire that destroyed the fort’s headquarters building (which at that time was the largest building in all of North America), the French efforts collapsed. Three days later on July 26th, the garrison at Louisburg surrendered. The Saint Lawrence River’s mouth was now entirely open to British attack.


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The siege of Louisburg.
The winter thawed action on all fronts aside from the tropics, where the British enjoyed more successes. In India, the British held off a French attempt to break their hold on Madras while in Caribbean the British captured both Guadalupe and Martinique. By the spring of 1759, the British were truly ready for the fight. They were rested, well supplied by sea, and determined to bring the North American front of the Seven Years War to a final conclusion. The French meanwhile remained bunkered down in Quebec and Montreal with dwindling supplies and crumbling morale. The British advanced down the Saint Lawrence River towards Quebec under the command of Amherst and Wolfe, but the French put up fierce resistance drove back their forces twice. Undeterred, the British decided to implement a more ambitious plan.

This time the British sailed downriver, arriving quickly and to the surprise of the French defenders. As the French hurried to coral their forces, the British redcoats made a successful amphibious landing just upriver, quickly scaling the heights of the hills to reach the Plains of Abraham. Though the French greatly outnumbered the British, they were undersupplied, exhausted, ill trained militia men who were no match for the better armed, better trained British regulars. The battle that unfolded due to this showdown was fierce and bloody, with Wolfe being injured early on by a musket ball to the wrist. Hours later, his wound wrapped, he was back on the field to command his men. However, he was not to see the victory that followed. While leading British calvary in a charge across the field, he was hit twice by two shots from a French volley, throwing him from his horse into the mixture of blood and mud below. “See how they run!” he cried as the French line retreated, “see how they run!” Those fateful words would be his last.


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The death of General Wolfe.
As the sun set over Quebec, British troops marched into the center of the city. Though Montreal remained in French hand, the Saint Lawrence River was now secured. It’d be only a matter of time before the whole of the Ohio Country and Canada would be completely under British occupation. There remained numerous obstacles in the path of continental domination, however. The war would continue to rage in Europe for years to come, and the French population in the newly conquered territories would have to be brought under thumb. The war had also had significant financial implications for the coastal colonies which would soon have to be dealt with. Yet, the significance of what had happened on the Plains of Abraham was enough to spark celebrations in London, complete with a public performance of Handel’s “Water Music” and a fireworks display. In some ways, those fireworks were an ominous sign of what was to come.
 
Chapter IX: Acadian Driftwood
The Acadians by the mid-18th century had long established themselves as a small and unique slice of the French colonial empire. Spread up and down the Saint Lawrence with large hubs in Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and present day Maine, the Acadians were a French speaking, Catholic culture that was destined to buckle under British rule. The resistance to British rule began early on with the capture of Nova Scotia from France, which was followed by Acadian militias doing their utmost to harass and distract British forces in the region. In order to curb a potential insurgency and clear space for English settlement, the British retaliated by seizing the property of Acadians and forcibly deporting them to the southern colonies. A few hundred or so had been deported to Louisiana in the wake of the fall of Quebec that followed the battle of the Plains of Abraham, but as time passed the deportations would dramatically increase in frequency. Over the course of the following three years, over 10,000 Acadian settlers would be sent to other regions of the New World. The majority of them migrated northward to Quebec, which while under British occupation was none the less granted a relative degree of autonomy (ie, the substantial existing Catholic population was simply too large and established to deport) whereas others found themselves packed off to Louisiana by way of New Orleans, where they would form the genesis of the modern day Cajun population and culture.

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Acadian deportees await transport away from Nova Scotia.
Starting in 1759 and lasting for over a decade, Nova Scotia would see rapid growth in spite of the deportations. The Acadians who feared their farms would be lost to the encroaching wilderness instead would come to find English settlers, primarily from the increasingly overcrowded New England colonies, were residing on their former lands. Over the course of the decade, over 8,000 New Englanders would arrive in the colony, with the small port of Halifax rapidly growing to be one of the main maritime hubs of North America within just two decades. Many would purchase the abandoned farms and homes of the Acadians, and former French settlements were renamed for locations in England as part of an effort to integrate the new British holdings into the already existing colonial framework. A small group of Acadians were expelled into the wilderness of what is now New Brunswick, where they formed a small community along the Memrancook River. Settlers from Pennsylvania founded the city of Moncton, which would go on to become a rare haven of religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence between Anglo and Francophone inhabitants. On Cape Breton Island, there was a major influx of settlers from Ireland in particular, who formed their own unique Gaelic culture on the island. As Catholics themselves, the Irish arrivals had no quarrel with the Acadians who left the Nova Scotian peninsula for Cape Breton, and like Moncton, there was largely little tension between the two communities. Whereas the Irish were attracted to Cape Breton Island for religious toleration, it was the economic opportunities offered by the amount of available farmland in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick which pulled English immigrants towards the Maritime provinces. The deportations upended the lives of thousands, and would have a profound impact on the demographic history of the Commonwealth.

The journey south was in itself a traumatic and dangerous experience; taking with them only the possessions which they could carry, the Acadians were crammed into ships and taken on a lengthy voyage to Georgia, Louisiana, or the Gulf Coast. Living off of salted pork, hardtack and beer, the unwilling migrants would endure harsh weather and cramped conditions, before arriving after weeks at sea. In Louisiana, many of those who were deported arrived to a radically different reality. The once frozen winters would now give way to simmering summers, and a new host of tropical diseases such as smallpox killed scores of the Acadian arrivals. While some were transferred to New Orleans, most Acadians who were moved southward were relocated to Mobile, a small but steadily growing settlement along the Gulf Coast. Migrating inward over time up the Alabama River, the colony that would one day be known as the provinces of Indiana and West Florida saw much of the traditions of what was once Acadia practiced by the French speaking arrivals. This was clear in their relations with the indigenous inhabitants of the region, with whom they traded amicably. It did not take long for plantations to develop in this areas, and the expansion of European settlement in the area necessitated the importation of African slaves, though these large scale cotton farms were built by wealthy families expanding outwards from the city of New Orleans.

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New Orleans became a hub for Acadian refugees.
The Acadian population in the region was simply too poor to purchase slaves, and largely focused themselves around subsistence farming. There were tensions between the indigenous inhabitants of the region (which included the Chickasaw, Creek, and Cherokee tribes) and the Francophone settlers who encroached on their lands as they moved upwards from the Mississippi River. The British would take advantage of the situation, selling muskets to the indigenous tribes of the region in the hopes that conflict would erupt. Though they mistrusted the French speaking emigres to the region, the relative lack of settlement in the lands west of Georgia and east of the Mississippi River ensured that there was plenty of room for both demographics for the time being. In both the Ohio Country and the lower south, the indigenous populations sought protection from increased encroachment by colonists.

Lingering resentments and sectarian tensions among the Catholic and French communities of British North America would continue to simmer for decades, with catastrophic consequences on more than a few occasions. In spite of the Acadian expulsions and the Treaty of Paris of 1763, the Francophone community in North America would continue to thrive and expand in other parts of the country, particularly in Quebec, where the Acadian refugees only reenforced the already existing Francophone majority. Yet the overall legacy of these events live on to this day in infamy, often compared with slavery and Jim Crow as one of the more shameful chapters in America’s long and all too often bloody story.
 
Chapter X: Pontiac's War.
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Boundary changes following the 1763 Treaty of Paris.
The Seven Years War was, initially, a European conflict concerning the territorial disputes of the two great German powers Austria and Prussia. However the entangling alliances and religious allegiances resulted in Britain, France, Russia, and Spain being dragged into what Benjamin Franklin would lament as “that wicked and catastrophic war of Empires,” necessitating the increase of the British bureaucracy into the colonies. The war would be long and costly, but in the end, the Ohio River Valley was secured and all of French North America was divided among Britain and Spain as per the 1763 Treaty of Paris. With Spain taking all French territory west of the Mississippi, and Britain taking Spanish Florida and all French possessions east of the Mississippi. In the wars wake, mounting debts and concerns about the vulnerabilities of the colonies during future conflicts arose, sparking debate in London about the need for greater centralization. Yet the victory of Britain and her allies in the war ensured that the politicians in London became blinded to the concerns of the colonies. Overestimating the government's popularity would be a crucial mistake, one which would create a chasm between the new and old worlds.

The colonial leadership was less excited than the authorities across the Atlantic exercising their power. After all, each of the colonies had a unique, idiosyncratic history. Massachusetts was first settled by the Puritans who arrived on the Mayflower fleeing persecution in England, while Rhode Island became a haven for people of all faiths. New York had been captured from the Dutch, while Pennsylvania had been awarded to proprietor William Penn to be a Quaker colony. Georgia, the newest colony, was founded as a debtor’s paradise. This patchwork of localities represented every facet of English society and attracted immigrants from the Continent as well, primarily from the many protestant German states and principalities.

Worse yet was parliament’s inaction on the Albany Plan, which was supported by a majority of the provincial legislatures. Despite Benjamin Franklin’s fierce lobbying in London, the war provided an excuse to ignore the colonial rabble. Now, with the signing of the Treaty of Paris, the calls for colonial autonomy were reaching their apex. Though parliament was unwilling to listen, Franklin found his way to Saint James Palace due his popularity among high society, where he was granted an audience with King Frederick. Franklin’s humble demeanor and wide array of knowledge made a favorable impression on the King, who likewise knew of Franklin’s not so humble indiscretions among the ladies of his court.

Though the King retained faith in his government’s colonial policies, he was moved by Franklin’s recounting of the conflict in America, in which so many gave so much for the Empire. Particularly inspired by the services of many of the Native tribes, the King began considering creating a reserve where the indigenous peoples could live free of encroachment from colonial settlement in exchange for their loyalty. But these plans were interrupted by the return of conflict to the American continent. Though the French had been expelled from North America, there remained many tribes who did not show the same loyalty to the crown that the Iroquois leaders had displayed. While the native people welcomed the British in the lower south as a bulwark from Acadian takeover, the indigenous tribes spread across the Ohio Country were less enthralled with their new overlords and their persistent military presence. As of a result of the war, the British indeed maintained their considerable military presence within the Ohio River Valley. The construction of numerous forts signaled to the indigenous peoples of this region that the British were there to stay, and indeed, they were. The coastal colonies by this time had expanded to such a degree that nearly the entirety of the coast up until the Appalachian Mountains, with settlers pouring in to settlements around these forts. Jeffrey Amherst, the Commander-in-Chief of the British forces in North America, was intent on incorporating these lands into the Empire, and quickly moved to regulate the fur trade to the English settler’s advantage while consolidating English control. As a result, it only took a few months for tensions to boil over, and the hard won peace was quickly endangered.


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Chief Pontiac
Amherst however was unaware of the gathering storm, and contemptuous of the native people to the extent that he did not believe they were credible a threat enough to dislodge the new English occupiers. As a result, all but 500 of the 8,000 redcoats in the region were withdrawn in the years of 1763 and 1764, creating the perfect storm of chaos and carnage. As the British troops went east and more settlers came west, a tribal warrior named Pontiac set out to create an alliance of tribes (predominately Ottawas, Mingos, and Hurons) and to resist and retake the land. The first attack was on Fort Detroit, where the small English garrison were slaughtered by the indigenous warriors. Sensing blood in the water, other bands of warriors were rallied by Pontiac’s attack and launched their own efforts, including an attack on Fort Pitt, where they again massacred the small smattering of soldiers. Alarmed by the violence, settlers either fled back east or formed armed militias in the fading hopes that they are left untouched. Some were, but most weren’t as fortunate. Such alarming events in the Ohio River Valley alarmed the colonial governments, and word eventually reached London with disturbing reports of rape, pillaging, and even cannibalism. Worse yet was the fact that many allied Indian tribes had been under attack from British death squads, with a militia called “the Paxton Boys” being responsible for several massacres in which indigenous Americans were indiscriminately killed.

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Pontiac rallies Indian warriors to his cause.
As 1763 turned to 1764, the British were ready to launch a counteroffensive to reassert their authority. In the interim, the Board of Trade in London, which had a significant amount of pull over the affairs in the Ohio River Valley, recalled General Amherst to London due to his failure to contain the rebellion. He was succeeded in the post by Thomas Gage, who immediately organized an expedition into the war torn Ohio valley upon his arrival in the New World. With 1,200 men under the command of Colonel John Bradstreet as well as a contingent of native allies, the British sailed down the Saint Lawrence by way of Lake Erie in order to retake Fort Detroit, which had been abandoned after the initial massacre. General Gage had more success, affirming the neutrality of the Iroquois tribes in an effort to secure northwest New York early on in his role as commander of British forces.

The tides turned in favor of the British when a massive outbreak of smallpox afflicted the native peoples, spreading rapidly and killing scores upon scores of indigenous families, with whole villages being wiped out in a matter of months. The disease spread among Pontiac’s men, and soon the native alliance was weakened immensely. Rumors spread that the source of this outbreak was smallpox infected blankets which had been intentionally proliferated, though the historical accuracy of this legend remains dubious. Regardless, many historians have labeled aspects of the conflict, blankets or no blankets, as a prototype demonstration of ethnic cleansing. Historian David Dixon would go on to write “Pontiac's War was unprecedented for its awful violence, as both sides seemed intoxicated with genocidal fanaticism.” Pontiac was well aware of the effect the outbreak was having on his position, and many of his allied tribal leaders began questioning how fruitful further resistance would be. With a recently reinforced army now numbering just shy of 3,000 men under his command, Gage advanced into the Ohio River Valley to strike a final and fatal blow against the enemy. After a series of raids against sparsely defended villages as well as recapturing several abandoned British forts, the invading British force kept up a relentless pursuit of Pontiac's rapidly weakening army. As disease and fatigue took it's toll on the bands of native warriors, and with pressure building on him, Pontiac at last saw the end was nigh and ordered his warriors to prepare for a final stand.

While many of his subordinate officers argued in favor of a final attack to wipe out Pontiac once and for all, Gage saw broader opportunity in allowing Pontiac to come willingly to the peace table. Signaling an openness towards a truce, Gage sent a delegation to Pontiac to offer him favorable terms in exchange for a ceasefire. In exchange for amnesty, the tribes agreed to cease attacks on the settlers and allowed for the return of captured English prisoners. Pontiac agreed, and the war was ended. The war’s conclusion did not bring about an end to discontent in the region; in fact, it only deepened Britain’s debts and created a catalyst for increased dissent. With the war’s finale, Franklin, still in London, was again called before King Frederick for an audience. Arguing passionately and convincingly for the implementation of the plan adopted by the Albany Conference. He also encouraged the King to extend an olive branch to the native peoples in order to ensure tranquility as the Empire adapted itself to peace once again. The King agreed, horrified by the conflict against Pontiac and his allies, and issued the Proclamation of 1764. This limited any further western settlement beyond the Appalachian Mountains, and enraged many colonial leaders, a good number of whom had invested sizable sums of money in the effort to settle the region. The King, on the advice of his Prime Minister George Grenville, in 1765 issued a second proclamation which declared all of North America westward towards the Mississippi River as the “Continental Crown Lands,” to be governed by a Governor-General who was directly appointed by the King and answerable to the Board of Trade, which would represent parliament’s voice in colonial affairs. Though the King had favored his brother, William, Duke of Cumberland, for the position, his health was too precarious in order to make the journey across the Atlantic. In his place, the King decided to appoint his second son, the 25 year old Duke of York and Albany accepted the appointment. The war had ended; but storm clouds still gathered on the horizon.


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The Duke of York and Albany - the first Governor General.
 
Chapter XI: The Land of Flowers.
San Juan, which today remains the capital of the Republic of Puerto Rico, was established by Spain in 1521. This meant that as of 2020, it was the oldest continually populated city in the New World. But it was San Augustin, Florida which earned the title of being the oldest city within the Commonwealth's present day borders. The city, which today is the capital of the province of East Florida, was established in 1565 by the Spanish, who had claimed the peninsula as their own ever since it's discovery by conquistador Ponce de Leon. The Spanish explorer was on a quixotic quest in search of the mythical "Fountain of Youth," but all he had discovered was the existence of another settlement near the mouth of what is today known as the Saint John's river near the present day city of San Mateo.
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Conquistador Ponce de Leon, who discovered Florida.
Unknown to the Spanish in San Augustin was the fact that Fort Caroline had been constructed already by French protestant dissenters, who sought to create a haven for persecuted Huguenots from France. Fearful of the French Protestants rallying the indigenous peoples of the peninsula against the Catholic colonists from Spain, it became clear to Pedro Menendez de Avilles, the founder and governor of the city of San Augustin, that action had be taken. An armed band of Spanish militiamen marched up the coast towards Fort Caroline, where most of the French residents and soldiers were slaughtered in a nighttime raid on their encampment. The site would be named San Mateo and would remain under Spanish control, despite an effort by France to recapture the strategic fort a year later.

Both cities would suffer under Spanish rule; San Augustin was burnt to the ground entirely in 1584 by English privateer Sir Francis Drake. Both San Mateo and San Augustin would see the construction of the stone fortresses made from coquina (which could absorb cannon balls) as a result, and it did not take long for the colony to see greater immigration from Spain as a result of these new fortifications. The Spanish built a chain of missions across the northern part of present day East Florida, resulting in a road eventually being hacked through the jungles and swamps to connect the Mission San Luis (in present day Apalachicola) to San Mateo and the recently reestablished city of Pensacola, which made travel from one side of the peninsula to the other considerably easier. Yet the road was not without its peril, as the swamps were breeding grounds for tropical diseases and provided cover for the occasionally hostile bands of indigenous raiders.

Under Spanish rule, Florida became a backwater. With poor conditions for most agriculture and near impassable swamps, San Augustin and San Mateo remained largely forgotten and relatively poor settlements that rarely gained attention except for times of war. During the war of Spanish Succession in the early 1700s, an English expedition out of the Carolinas captured San Mateo and laid siege to San Augustin before being driven back by Spanish reinforcements from Havana, which was the most critical Spanish colony in the Caribbean. Decades later, during the Seven Years War, the British again attempted to seize San Augustin, though they were once more unsuccessful. Fortunately for London, the British navy captured Havana from the Spanish, and ultimately held it as a bargaining chip until they at last traded it back to Spain in exchange for Florida as part of the Treaty of Paris which ended the conflict in 1763.

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The siege of San Augustin.
The new British government in San Augustin immediately went to work populating the colony to ensure it never returned to Spanish control, even though the majority of the existing population in the peninsula were Spanish Catholics. In order to keep the Spanish population content, Britain sought a number of ways to ensure their quiet obedience. James Grant, the new English Governor, respected the religion and traditions of the Spanish population even as thousands of English settlers poured in from the overpopulated colonies of Virginia and the Carolinas. Introducing sugarcane, indigo, fruits, and cattle raising to the region, the new British colony prospered immensely after nearly two centuries of stagnate Spanish rule and neglect. A Scottish physician by the name of Andrew Turnbull sought to capitalize on the expanding colony by bringing hundreds of settlers (mostly from the Mediterranean islands of Smyrna, Sicily, Crete as well as Greece) to raise crops south of San Augustin. This misadventure in indentured servitude ended with most of the settlers returning home, complaining about the mistreatment and abuse my Turnbull and his henchmen.

The failure of the colony resulted in a new source of labor being imported in the form of African slaves, who like their brethen in the Carolinas and Virginias were forced to toil on plantations in the scorching Florida sun. The importation of slaves led to rapid growth, and the old road through Appalachicola was rebuilt and expanded by the British, creating a belt across the northern strip of Florida that ultimately would connect Baton Rouge with San Mateo. Today known as Highway 10, the road ensured the northern portion of Florida would remain firmly British. Yet the Spanish population were not displaced, and new settlements such as San Pedro were established by Floridians of Spanish descent. Whereas Quebec and the Maritimes saw lingering tensions between Anglo and Francophone settlers, Florida remained a quiet model for peaceful coexistence. The continuing Spanish presence in the colony would see the slow southward expansion as time passed, resulting in the province being the only majority Hispanic province in the Commonwealth. The English attempted early on to consolidate the Anglo hold on northern Florida by dividing the province into East and West Florida, with the east being primarily Spanish (with a strong English presence none the less) while West Florida remained dominated by English speaking inhabitants.

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East and West Florida as of 1763.
East Florida also became a haven for runaway slaves, with hundreds escaping bondage in Georgia or the Carolinas to find freedom among the indigenous peoples of the swampy and tropical peninsula. These hideaways would eventually establish Fort Moses, which provided a home, haven, and shelter for the escaped slaves who lived in and around the fort. Due to the nature of their defenses, relations with the native peoples, and the unfavorable terrain, very few slave hunters attempted to enter the province in pursuit of runaway slaves. The English tolerated the self-emancipated slaves autonomy in the regions south of San Augustin where most resided, though it was abundantly clear that any escaped slave would be taken into custody should they dare enter the city. But while Florida offered some security to the escapees, many other African slaves were less fortunate, and many black Africans who resided in Florida continued to live as slaves on the newly founded plantations.
 
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