Queen Anne's War was the American counterpart of the European "War of the Spanish Succession," which was fought between 1701 and 1714. The fundamental issues included the rivaltry between France and England in America, a conflict that had been left unresolved by the Treaty of Ryswick in 1697. It broke out anew at the acceptance of the Spanish throne by a grandsone of King Louis XIV of France in November, 1700. This made real the threat of Bourbon domination in Europe as well as in the America's, through the combination of French and Spanish power. William III of England, along with the Dutch Netherlands, put their weight behind the claims of the Holy Roman Emperor, a member of the rival Hapsburg family, to the Spanish throne. Two months after Queen Anne ascended to the British throne after the death of William III, the three allied powers jointly declared war on France in May 1702.
In the northern theater of Queen Anne's War, New England bore the brunt of the war against the French in Canada. Until 1709, no material assistance came from either England or New York. English settlements suffered barbarous French and Indian attacks. After retaliatory attacks on Port Royal were conducted in 1704 by Benjamin Church and in 1707 by John March had failed, the colonists secured from Great Britain a promise in 1709 to provide aid for expeditions against Quebec and Montreal. However, despite the promises, the intended British force was diverted to Portugal. In the following year, a British contingent did arrive and with its support, the colonists were able to capture Port Royal, renamed Annapolis Royal, accomplishing the fall of Acadia to Great Britain.
The new Tory government in Britain sent Admiral Walker and General Hill to support colonial troops in attacking Quebec and Montreal. Unfortunately, on August 23, 1711, a great catastrophe struck the fleet. Ten of the expedition's ships were wrecked on the rocks above Anticost, with the loss of nearly 1000 men. Walker and Hill returned to England.
Regarding the southern theater of Queen Anne's War, in summer of 1702, the English captured the island of St. Christopher, but Admiral Benbow's action against a French squadron along the Spanish Main was incomplete. After the English was unable to take Guadeloupe in 1703, the military campaigns in the West Indies consisted mostly ot privateering, which hindered English colonial trade. Hostilities in the south were highlighted by the British capture in the fall of 1703 of the city of Saint Augustine in Spanish Florida, and by a failed French and Spanish attack in 1706 against Charleston, South Carolina.
Peace negotiations in Europe began in 1711, and in October 1712, colonial leaders were informed of an armistice that halted the active combat of Queen Anne's War. The Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 ended both the European and North American conflicts. The British received Acadia (renamed Nova Scotia), Newfoundland and fur trading posts in the Hudson Bay area. France managed to retain several islands in the Saint Lawrence River and Cape Breton Island at the northeastern end of Nova Scotia. The boundaries of the new British possessions were not spelled out with precision; warfare between the chief rivals, Britain and France, would resume in 1744.
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The Unredeemed Captive: A Family Story from Early America by John Demos.
Nominated for the National Book Award, this book is set in colonial Massachusetts where, in 1704, a French and Indian war party descended on the villa...