Causes of 7 Years War with definition and consequences

7 Years War

Series of armed conflicts that lasted from 1756 to 1763, in which the main powers of the 18th century and several of their colonies in Asia, America and Africa participated. In this article we will provide you the Causes of 7 Years War.

Date 1756 – 1763
Place Europe, India, the Philippines, Senegal and European colonies in America.
Belligerents Great Britain, Prussia, Portugal and Hannover vs. France, Austria, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Naples, Piedmont-Sardinia, the Mughal Empire and the Kingdom of Saxony.
Outcome Anglo-Prussian victory.

What was the 7 Years’ War?

The 7 (seven) year war was a series of armed conflicts that lasted from 1756 to 1763 , in which the main powers of the 18th century and several of their colonies in Asia, America and Africa participated.

In this war two great sides faced each other:

  • Great Britain , the kingdom of Prussia, the kingdom of Portugal, Hanover and other German states : this side was led by the Prussian Emperor Frederick II the Great and the British Prime Minister William Pitt the Elder.
  • France, the Austrian Empire, Spain, Sweden, Naples, Piedmont-Sardinia, the Kingdom of Saxony , the Mughal Empire and the Russian Empire (which changed sides in 1762, after the arrival of Tsar Peter III): the leaders of this block were the Austrian Empress Maria Teresa I, the King of France Louis XV and the Russian Empress Elizabeth I.

This conflict began when the Habsburg dynasty, ruler of the Austrian Empire, decided to regain the territory of Silesia , which it had lost to Prussia during the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-1748). This territorial dispute was added to the rivalry between Great Britain and France for the control of world trade and the dominance of India, Canada and Louisiana . As Great Britain was an ally of Prussia and France, of Austria, several simultaneous warlike conflicts broke out, to which Spain also joined, as an ally of France.

This war had a global reach , since it was not only fought in Europe, but also in America, Senegal, India and the archipelago of the Philippines. It included more than 70 armed conflicts around almost the entire world. It was at the same time a conflict for continental hegemony between Austria, Prussia and Russia and a war for control of the colonial world between France, Spain and Great Britain.

It is known by different names according to the countries: Franco-Indian War in the United StatesWar of Conquest in Canada, Third Carnatic War in India, Third Silesian War , in Germany, etc.

The 7 Years’ War, whose victors were Prussia and Great Britain , ended in 1763 with the Treaty of Paris , signed between France, Spain and Great Britain, and the Treaty of Hubertusburg , sealed between Saxony, Austria and Prussia. Sweden and Russia signed separate peace treaties with Prussia.

Enhance your reading: War of the Spanish Succession causes in detail

Development of the 7 Years’ war

The 7 Years’ War was fought on four different fronts:

  • European front : in which Prussia faced Saxony, Austria, Russia and Sweden, while France fought against Great Britain and Hannover. For its part, Spain, reinforced by French troops, invaded Portugal.
  • American front : in North America, France and Great Britain fought in Canada and Louisiana in a conflict that also involved the Iroquois; in Central America, the British attacked Cuba and occupied Havana; in South America, Spain and Portugal fought for dominance over the Banda Oriental and Rio Grande. The Spanish managed to take Colonia del Sacramento, Maldonado and the fortresses of Santa Teresa and San Miguel.
  • Asian Front : In India, Britain fought against France, which was supported by the Mughal Empire, while the British attacked the Spanish colony of the Philippines and seized Manila.
  • African front : Great Britain seized Senegal, which was a colony of France, to take over the rubber and slave trade.

Causes and consequences of the 7 Years’ War


The main causes of the 7 Years’ War were the following:

  • The dispute for control of the Silesia region between the Kingdom of Prussia and the Austrian Empire. Silesia had been part of the Austrian State, but it passed into the hands of Prussia after the end of the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48).
  • The rivalry between France and Great Britain for control of world trade and overseas possessions in India and North America. These colonies provided important raw materials such as tea, cotton, fish, and skins.
  • Great Britain‘s will to weaken the Spanish colonial Empire . This resulted in repeated attacks by British ships on the Spanish fleet, the increase in smuggling in the Spanish-American colonies, and the British occupation of territories in Central America.
  • The desire of Russia and Sweden to stop the expansion of Prussia on the shores of the Baltic Sea.
  • The rivalry between Spain and Portugal for control of both banks of the Río de la Plata and the region of the Jesuit missions .

Enhance your reading: Causes and consequences of Glorious Revolution detail


The main consequences of the 7 Years’ War were the following:

  • The signing of the Treaty of Paris (1763) , between Great Britain, Spain and France, by which:
    • France had to give Spain the Louisiana west of the Mississippi River along with New Orleans and cede to Great Britain Senegal, Canada, eastern Louisiana, almost all its colonies in India and the islands of Menorca, Dominica, Granada, Saint Vincent and Tobago .
    • Spain received western Louisiana, recovered Havana and Manila, and had to give Florida to Great Britain. He also had to return Colonia del Sacramento, Santa Teresa and San Miguel to Portugal.
    • Great Britain, the most benefited, received Senegal, Canada, Eastern Louisiana, Florida, part of India, Menorca and several Caribbean islands.
  • The signing of the Treaty of Hubertusburg (1763) , between Saxony, Austria and Prussia. This agreement enshrined the strengthening of Prussia, which preserved Silesia and became the strongest state in the Baltic basin and the Holy Roman Empire .
  • The weakening of France , due to the loss of control of crucial trade routes and the cession of territories that were a source of important raw materials. This situation was preparing the ground for the outbreak of the French Revolution , in 1789.
  • The strengthening of Great Britain , which by taking control of world trade obtained the raw materials and markets necessary to develop the Industrial Revolution .
  • The breaking of the loyalty of the North American colonists towards the British Crown, because they considered that the king and Parliament did not properly recognize their participation in the war. This triggered the War for Independence (1776-1783), which would conclude with the recognition by Great Britain of the  Independence of the United States . In that war, France and Spain supported the United States to take revenge on Great Britain and try to regain territories lost in the 7 Years’ War.
  • The death of 400,000 civilians and military personnel, in all the armed conflicts of the war.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Back to top button