When to Watch
January 18 & 25, 2006
The Players in the French and Indian War
Three major groups fought over North America during the French and Indian War: Great Britain, France, and the American Indians. The three powers rivaled each other for domination of the continent — Great Britain and France for an empire, and the American Indians for their way of life. Learn about each group and their reasons for war below.
Great Britain's colonies inhabited the eastern seaboard, and colonists in Pennsylvania and Virginia wanted to expand westward into the Ohio River Valley. However, the valley, inhabited by American Indians, was pivotal to French trade. Both empire-builders, Great Britain rivaled the French for domination of North America.
France, which had North American settlements in Canada, Louisiana, and the Great Lakes region, dominated the Ohio River Valley through exploration, trade and strategic alliances with the American Indians. But, many of the settlers living there were of British descent. France wanted to keep its trade routes and claimed the territory as its own, but Great Britain also laid claim to the valley.
Groups of American Indians fought alongside both parties, but they were primarily allied with the French. The American Indians were the original inhabitants of the Ohio River Valley; at the time of the war, 3,000 to 4,000 indigenous people lived there. For economic, political and cultural reasons, all three powers wanted to control the Ohio River Valley -- but the American Indians fought for their own interests, and not those of the French or British.