WarMay 15 is an important day in history because it marks the beginning of the Seven Years War, which many know by another name: The French and Indian War. The war began officially on May 15, 1756, after the British declared war on the French. Still, this was not the day that the fighting actually began as the British and French had engaged in skirmishes for years leading up to this long-term North American conflict.

William Pitt's Vision for British Dominance Intensified the Conflict

The conflict intensified during the 1750s, when the French tried to assert more dominance over the Ohio River valley. This resulted in armed skirmishes between the French and English colonists who were living there. By the time 1756 rolled around, the English had been defeated numerous times by the French, who received extensive backing by their Native American allies.

In 1757, though, the prime minister of England, William Pitt, began to see the value of extending British dominance through North America, which could only be achieved by defeating the French. The prime minister ultimately secured financing to pay for the war effort. Pitt not only injected financing into Prussia's ongoing war with France, but he also backed the expansion of British forces on North American soil.

The English Reign Supreme, Only to Be Defeated 15 Years Later

As of 1760, the English had defeated the French in Canada. As of 1763, European allies of France had entered into peace treaties with Prussia or they had suffered defeat.

France was also having a difficult time in India, where it was losing battles with England there, too. In 1763, the Seven Years War finally came to a close with the Treaty of Hubertusburg and the Treaty of Paris, which were signed in February of that year. The Treaty of Paris transferred Canada to the British and Louisiana was transferred to the Spanish. The Treaty of Paris gave the British control of Upper Canada, Spanish Florida and different French territories overseas.

Although the English may have won the Seven Years War, however, this conflict may have paved the way for the Revolutionary War in which the British were ultimately defeated. It was with the support of the French that American revolutionaries were capable of defeating the British in order to eventually become the United States of America.