The Seven Years War: Crash Course World History #26


Hi, my name is John Green, This is Crash Course
World History. Oh my gosh! Today we’re going to talk about war. Ah! Explosions everywhere! So, traditionally, historians are pretty keen
on wars, because they feature clearly delineated beginnings, and middles, and ends, and because
they always have a fair bit of death and drama and mortally wounded generals who have great
last words like “Let us cross the river and rest under the
shade of those trees,” whereas the last words of, plague victims
are always, like, “Unggggg.” Sorry, plague victims. As if you don’t have
enough troubles. Now you’ve got me teasing you about your uninspired death throes. Wars have easy whens, wheres, whos, and whys:
1861-1865. The United States. The North vs. the South. To end slavery and save the Union. Mr. Green, Mr. Green. Are you gonna show us
the hidden complexities behind something we already think we understand again? Sorry me from the past, but yes. However,
to placate you, here are some more explosions. The 17th and 18th centuries saw a bunch of
top-notch wars, but today we’re going to focus on the 7 Years War, also called the French
and Indian War, because it was the first truly global war. In fact, no less a historian than Winston
Churchill called it “The first world war.” But we’ve been so Eurocentric here on Crash
Course that all we are going to say about the ENTIRE WAR IN EUROPE is that Prussia and
Great Britain fought France and Austria, and that the Austrian Hapsburgs wanted to win
back Silesia, which they failed to do. THERE. THAT’S ALL YOU GET, EUROPE. So the Seven Years War lasted for…anyone…anyone… Twenty three years. I hate you, Me from the Past. But, as it happens,
by sheer coincidence, you are not necessarily wrong. [theme music] So, the when: The Seven Years War began in
1756 and ended in 1763. Unless you believe—as many historians do—that
the 7 Years War lasted 23 years, because it was really a continuation of the War for Austrian
Succession. Then you have the fact that much of the information
in today’s episode is taken from a book called, “The Global Seven Years War: 1754-1763,” a
nine year period. As for the who: It was mainly fought between
the British and the French, seen here reenacting the knife fight from either Beat It or West
Side Story, depending on your age. But some of the British were actually Americans,
and both the British and the French were supported by American Indians. And there was fighting in India
between Indian Indians, the British, the French. And as previously noted the French were fighting the
Prussians and the British were fighting the Austrians. The where: Europe, the continental U.S., the
Caribbean Sea, off the cost of Africa, India. Basically, the world. And the why: Ostensibly, land. British colonists wanted
to expand into land west of the original 13 colonies. And that land was technically held by the
French, who left it alone except for a bunch of trading posts. And they were like, “Je
de veux pens l’anglais.” Thank you, four years of high school French. Anyway, the war wasn’t really about land;
it was really about our old friend trade. The British wanted to expand into the American
interior to allow for more colonists, because the British benefited from both the export
of raw materials from the Americas and the import of British consumer goods to the Americas. So, more colonists meant more trade, which
meant more wealth, which meant ever-fancier hats. And the French realized that this British-Atlantic
maritime trade was making Britain so rich that British might come for France’s actually
valuable colonies—which were not in the continental U.S. but those slave-based sugar
plantations in the Caribbean. So the fighting began around here. And while
the British did send over actual British troops, much of the early fighting was done by colonial
militias. Probably the most famous commander of British
troops was a Virginia colonel named George Washington. In fact, he may have actually started the
shooting at the battle of Fort Necessity in May of 1754. Washington was captured in that
battle and then he was immediately released because 18th century war was super weird. Anyway, the real North American action was
in New York and Canada. At the battle at the Plains of Abraham in 1759, for instance, the
British defeated the French and captured the city of Quebec. Both the British commander,
General Wolfe and the French commander, General Montcalm, were killed at this battle, with
the death of the former being immortalized in this famous painting, by Benjamin West: As indicated by the picture, almost all the
battles in North America featured significant participation by Native Americans. Different Native tribes sided with both the
British and the French, but as a broad generalization, Native Americans were more likely to support
the French. Up to this point, shrewd Indian tribes had
been able to play the British and the French off each other and maintain a degree of autonomy
for themselves. And as long as the French were present, the
British were prevented from encroaching too much on lands Native Americans were using
for hunting and agriculture. Now, we haven’t talked much about American
Indians, mostly because they were geographically isolated and didn’t have a written language.
But let’s at least give them a Thought Bubble. Before the arrival of the Europeans, most
Native Americans lived in tribal groups. And they subsisted on a combination of small-scale
agriculture and hunting and gathering, depending on where they were situated. There were too many tribes to generalize about
specific social structures but it’s probably safe to say that in terms of gender they were much more
egalitarian than the Europeans who they met up with. Which may explain why European women who were
taken captive by Indians sometimes preferred to stay with the tribe rather than be rescued,
although that’s somewhat controversial. One thing we can say about the Indians: their
notions of what it meant to hold property were very different from those of the Europeans.
Individual Indians did not “own” land in the European sense; they used it, and not always
particularly intensively. Europeans, when they came to North America,
had a hard time even recognizing that the Indians were raising crops because their forms
of farming were so different from European agriculture, so the French and especially
the English just assumed that the Indians weren’t improving the land, which meant that
they didn’t own the land, so that meant that it was ok for Europeans to take it. As you
might imagine, that was problematic for the Indians. In general, Indian tribes initially got along
better with the French than with the Dutch or English because
1. The French did not settle in large numbers, as they were mostly traders and fur trappers,
and 2. French missionaries who made the journey to the Americas were Catholic, often Jesuits,
who were so intent on converting the Indians that they took the time to learn Indian languages
and try to make Catholicism more amenable to Indian religion. The end result of the war, a greatly reduced
French presence on the American mainland, meant that Indians could no longer easily
play the British and French off each other, which opened the floodgates of British settlers.
In the end, the American Indians were perhaps the biggest losers of the 7 Years War. Thanks Thought Bubble. So, two thousand miles
south, in the Caribbean, there was also quite a lot of fighting between the French and the
British over sugar colonies. Most of these were naval battles, and by 1761,
Spain got involved, because, you know, they had some sugar colonies of their own. While these battles get a lot of ink, it’s
interesting to note that by far, the greatest threat to combatants, was disease. By October of 1761 the British had lost about
1,000 men to war and 5,000 to disease. Meanwhile in West Africa, the British and the French
were fighting there too. Because, you know, why not? The British attacked the French at a trading
post called Saint Louis. Aw, Stan, don’t make me say it right. Fine. Saint Louis. And at a town called Goree, both in Senegal.
Why? Well, trade, of course. Senegal was the major source of gum Arabic,
which is notable for many reasons but most importantly, it is a key ingredient in the
Diet Coke and Mentos phenomenon, so of course the British wanted lots of it. The French were also fighting the British
in India. In the 18th century India was nominally ruled by the
Mughal empire. I bet I’m saying that wrong, aren’t I? HowJSay: Mugal.
John: Yeah, that sounds more plausible. But as throughout most of its history, the
real power in India lay with local kings and princes, sometimes called nawabs. And these princes, just like their European
counterparts were constantly vying for power and control over more territory. And to get it, they often enlisted the help,
especially the military help, of Europeans. This is what happened in the most notorious event
in the 7 Years War in India, the Black Hole of Calcutta. In June of 1756 the British governor of Calcutta,
Roger Drake, made the mistake of insulting the emissaries sent by the nawab Siraj-ud-daula,
who duly besieged and captured the English garrison of 500 with his own army of 30,000. Drake escaped to nearby ships with the town’s
women and children—you know the old saying, women, children, and governors first. But the town’s defenders remained, and the
survivors were imprisoned in a small windowless room that came to be known as the Black Hole. And 40 of 63 prisoners suffocated overnight. This story is mostly famous, in a war that
killed a million people, because the British press exaggerated the numbers in order to
build support for the war in India. Not the last time that exaggerations of enemy
brutality would be used to gin up support for a war. Perhaps the most interesting thing about the
military campaigns in this part of the world is that, at least initially, they were not
undertaken by governments themselves, but by corporations that had their own armies. The British East India Company was the most
successful of these corporations primarily because of the military skill of its leader,
Robert Clive. Oh, it’s time for the open letter? An Open
Letter to Robert Clive. But first, let’s see what’s in the secret
compartment today. Oh, bubbles. That makes sense, Stan. The British East India Company
was involved in several early market bubbles. Mmm, bubbles. Dear Robert Clive,
You were a complicated man, and not entirely likable, but you did win a very important
battle at Plassey in 1757. And the way you won it says a lot about the
relationship between Europe and its colonies. So, the key to your success was a conspiracy
to overthrow the existing nawab orchestrated by a Bengali banking family, called the Seths.
No, Stan. The Seths. Yes. Come on. And in thanks for your support of their conspiracy,
the new nawab quickly signed a treaty with your company, the East India Company. And thereafter, the British had effective control over
trade in Bengal and the French were excluded from it. This was an incredibly valuable region because it
produced silk and inexpensive cotton cloth for export. And it gave the British a decisive advantage over the
French and eventually allowed them to control all of India. And you accomplished this, Robert Clive, primarily
by fomenting revolution. Why does this work for you and it never works for the CIA? Best wishes, John Green So, by now you have probably figured out that since the
French kept losing battles they eventually lost the war. The main peace treaty, signed in Paris in
1763, limited French presence in the Caribbean, in India, and in North America. Although not completely, otherwise they couldn’t
have sold Louisiana to Thomas Jefferson in 1803. So, France was obviously dramatically weakened.
But overall, so was Britain. One thing rarely mentioned is the actual human
cost of war. As many as a million combatants died in the Seven Years War, but even that
doesn’t tell the whole story. In the 18th century armies usually fed themselves
by foraging, which really meant just pillaging the countryside. In Europe, a single Prussian province
lost a fifth of its population to pillaging. And in North America settlers in frontier regions
lived in constant fear of raids. And, one of the perhaps lesser known outcomes
of the war was the systematic deportation of the French Acadians from Maine to Louisiana
where they became Cajuns. Meaning that the stars of the television shows
Lobster Wars and Swamp Wars are basically the same people. What’s that? There’s no television
show called Swamp Wars? STAN, CANCEL EVERYTHING AND GET ME ON THE PHONE WITH THE DISCOVERY
CHANNEL. One last thing about wars: they are expensive. In 1756 the British national debt was £75million;
in 1763 it was £133 million. Someone had to pay for this, and the British felt it was
only fair that American colonists should foot the bill. And those taxes, which helped fuel the American
Revolution, were a direct result of the Seven Years War. So in one way, winning the Seven Years War
cost Britain its first empire. But, when we remember that it was a global
war, and especially when we think about what happened in India, then the Seven Years War
also begins to look like the beginning of Britain’s second, and much greater empire. Winning is losing is winning is losing. Such
is life, and such is history. Thanks for watching. See you next week. Crash Course is produced and directed by Stan Muller. Our script supervisor is Danica Johnson. The show is written by my high school history teacher Raoul Meyer and myself and the graphics team is Though Bubble. Last week’s phrase of the week was “you’re a grandfather.” You can take a guess at this week’s phrase of the week or suggest future ones. You can do so in comments where you can also ask questions about today’s video that will be answered by our team of historians. Thanks for watching Crash Course and as we say in my home town: Don’t Forget To Be Awesome.

Comments 100

  • 0:53 that one kid when the teacher leaves the classroom for a little bit

  • u r amazing

  • 0:54

  • Those are the wrong flags for France and Britain, at the time.

  • I feel sad for american indian people because they lost the support of French in the war.

  • Very good job!

  • This would make a great battlefield game

  • It is so funny how Anglosaxon people blame Spain on their treat to the south american indians… and they KILLED THEM ALL in the USA and Canada. If anyone travel to Mexico and downwards, will find millions of them. Spain started the first R&D in genetics by having * with the indian girls. We created new breeds of people. 😉 The americans, once again killed them all. Shame on them.

  • Youre too fast pls speak slowlier

  • Hey, John is doing a great job at this. In the last 20 or so Videos he has been only talking about Eurasia, itonly seems fair to me that he only talks about America in this Video.
    Best Wishes, Billnews

  • 9:43 what do you mean supporting a change in governance never worked for the CIA? Here are places it worked extremely well for the CIA: Iran, Libya, and Iraq.

  • Came here to cram for a British history mid-term. Was terribly disppointed.

  • Pretty poor form to be constantly referring to the native Americans as “Indians”. Normally love your stuff but I couldn’t listen through this one

  • Exaggerated reports of brutality to gun up support for a war?

    Like the holycaust?

  • This saved my grade

  • No french subsile😡😡😡

  • whispers Walpole

  • England had a very weak ground force (though a strong navy), and France had a very powerful land army. I do not know how they let the English eat the toast in India and Canada. The second French empire started very late, and the result is that the French language has not been able to settle mostly. But the French had the best military strategist in history, the Mediterranean Napoleon Bonaparte. Napoleon was better than Nelson, Wellington, Montgomery and 100 other British generals together. In fact the only great general that England has had (apart from interminable coalition wars) is Lord English Channel. Without Lord English Channel, even Albania would have had tea in London with an expedition 🙂

  • Oh no, he caught a bullet in the neck in Quebec!

  • Your British flag is wrong

  • This is not a good video, sorry, there is nothing about europe

  • 23 years? Pfft. It was part of the Second Hundred Years' War(1689-1815), an epic struggle between Great Britain and France for world domination. Such a noob.

  • I find the attempts at humor by the host tedious.

  • the wars seem to have a trend that it was almost if you fought against britain, you lost. its almost like the British didn't fight a fair war.

  • >not having a written language ????????????????????????

  • i don't remember there being anything about this in cod wwII

  • 6:28 wtf?

  • "We've been so eurocentric"
    You have specifically ignored Europe this entire series. As a result, I have no idea what's going on in Europe. Thanks for being completely useless just to be PC.

  • In fear of being too euro centric they didn't talk much about Europe at all in the entire course. Yes, many people are being taught about Europe more than anything else but that doesn't mean that it wasn't important or that you can leave it out entirely. The Seven Year War was a euro centric war and he only talked about the US.

  • what a rip

  • Please stop calling Native Americans Indians

  • These comments from years ago are so bitter lmao calm down you nerds

  • articulate more please it is hard to understand you sometimes. but on a positive note, I like your videos.

  • Okay I’m starting to see why people like French, how you said “I don’t want the English” was that good lol : D

  • Alfonso says you're boring!

  • I like that you don't want to be too Eurocentric when this entire series up to this point has deliberately been anything but.

  • u r just sooooooo adorable john green 🙂

  • I need it to be Eurocentric for my AP test tomorrow😔😔

  • The idea that American Indian tribes only ever lived in small isolated groups and subsisted mostly through hunting and gathering is incorrect; it’s based on a mistake made by an English explorer in who traveled through North America and described what many accept as the image of pre-European America; dense forests, huge herds of bison, and nary a human in sight. This was because about a hundred years earlier, a French explorer had taken about the exact same route through the land and had described large towns, expansive agriculture, and thousands of people, and unfortunately for said people, this Frenchman brought livestock with him, namely pigs. Since pigs transmit diseases to humans, the entire civilization described by the French explorer died in the hundred years between the two contrasting accounts, explaining the contrast, and setting back Native American society by a few hundred years, if not more.

  • I'd been learning Indians History for YEARS
    AND I WAS TODAY YEARS OLD when I finally understood how the English East India Company came to India.

  • Word origin of muggle? 7:10

  • Was that a Dancing With Wolves reference?

  • cant wait for the AP test

  • was that lacrosse 6:15

  • my finals in history are tomorrow and you guys are saving my butt

  • Nutter

  • "The continental United States"…really? Really?? What kind of hack historian are you, have you heard of the Battle of the Plains of Abraham? Fought in Canada? Say North America, and let's TRY to be accurate somewhat. Ugg…

  • John Green: What's that? There's no such thing as The Swamp Wars? STAN CANCEL EVERYTHING AND GET ME ON THE PHONE WITH DISCOVERY CHANNEL!

  • 10:35 you never mentioned what happened to the American Loyalists after 1783, see the book by Maya Jasanoff ("Liberty's Exiles").

  • Please do less acting and behave like teacher instead actor.

  • Native americans are the Green's version of Rosseau noble savage…

  • good job detail on the lacrosse because it is awesome

  • 0:51
    "However, to placate you, here are some more explosions BO BO BO BO BO BO " AHAHAHAHAHA I DIED

  • Everyone’s mentioning how Europe is so important in this war and I’m here as a British person trying to make notes on the American revolution for my exam like “YES TELL ME ABOUT THE COLONIES PLZ”

  • He didn’t mention another catalyst for the war. George Washington, he let native American scalp french prisoners which sparked the support for war in the french people. Then the cheeky bastard has the gaul to rebel when we tax him to pay for the time we spent defending his slave plantations? This is why he was not the great man he was painted to be.

  • Gorée in Senegal was the principle trading post for slaves. That is why they fought there.

  • I get that you didn't want to spend much time on Europe, but to not even MENTION Russia as involved in the war? They only handed Frederick the Great the worst defeat of his career, nbd.

  • Called French and Indian war, only in the US. Seeing only their local part of the war.

  • I just realized Stan's Stan Muller the producer. I always thought it was just some guy who held the camera

  • You say Maine, but it was known as Nova Scotia at the time, before the great county of Sunbury was ripped from our hands by spineless brits and avaris eyed yankees…

  • The show is a gem but please kill the background music 🙏🏻

  • I like when you said "basically a corporation with its own army " In America its debatable that even today corporations are at the highest level of American politics , having far reach influence on many of the policies that are enacted , they basically own the mouths of half the senate and the house (literally) and there lobbying and huge donations is what campaigning has become . Hopefully Bernie sanders continues this path and continues to stay healthy enough to help us lift these scoundrels out of there desks and offices . There huge balls and dinners , there maneuvering of the world and people's lives through economic dominance is a cycle that will continue and continue until there is nothing left in this world to survive off . Like seriously if you really think about it , there is no way we can sustain if we continue destroying the earth , enriching billionaires and starving the poor (that in most places HAVE HUGE AMOUNTS OF AMAZING RESOURCES. Such as Africa ! And the Middle East .we must take away money from politics . That is the key , something that has never been truly done right before . We must try . We just must . Change is evolution and we must evolve .
    Now never or forever . Peace dudes .

  • When pray tell are we ever going to see Stan?? Hank keeps talking to him off stage, but we never get to see this phantasm

  • Lol,Britain-Prussia-Portugal defeated huge coalition of France-Austria-Russia-Spain.

  • How about the war in Prussia
    Why you

  • The song "Mine mine mine" from Disney's pocahontas has a whole new meaning now.

  • Corporations having their own military. Good old days, hugh? Just image apple and google fighting with tanks and jets.

  • I like how the one time I know less about what was happening in Europe and was looking forward to finding out more about Europe was the one time you decided to almost completely ignore Europe lmao

  • haha you guys getting a little edgier in this video. I like the Set reference and calling out the CIA haha

  • Watching this 7 Years War Crash Course 7 years after it was released

  • So the truth here is world belongs to indian…..

  • Coke induced happy-go-lucky History just the way I like it

  • The Seven Year War was probably won by the Prussians. The French were too busy defending their country against Frederick the Great to risk sending significant armies to fight in the Americas and India.

  • "And you accomplished this, Robert Clive, primarily by fomenting revolution. Why does this work for you and it never works for the CIA?" LOL!!

  • I love this channel so much :")

  • Name this series "game of thrones" without actually having throne, but it won't matter.

  • I am an Indian Indian.

  • Britain tried to conquer the Spanish East Indies, sacked Manila, and occupied it for almost two years

  • Prussia was kinda undersold, keep in mind they simultaneously fought France, Russia, Austria, and contingents of Spain. Great Britain was off having fun times riding elephants in India.(Just kidding I'm sure the war was horrible for everyone.)

  • please a video on Kanishka king

  • Petition to change the lame (and inaccurate) "Seven Years War" to the better "World War Zero"

  • whom do you support French or British?

  • Maybe they forgot they were doing "World" History in this one.

  • Mmmmmm….bubbles.

  • Acadia is in Canada not Maine lol modern day Nova Scotia on what used to be called The Acadian Peninsula and is now called The Nova Scotia Peninsula.

  • Thank you for the subtitles .

  • WHy did you ignore european part it is the most interesting thing ever

  • I thought mostly French Huguenots, not Catholics, came to the Americas?

  • I hate to do this but it's cAL-cutta not cal-cUTta XD

  • Seeing this after having learnt about the seven years war in French from the Quebec education system is really strange. Such a big war was only a few pages long in our book, even tho it changed the tide of my country and province and we are still to this day seeing the aftermath in here of this war and will be for a very long time, and possibly forever. But we didn't learn about anything except for France ditching Canada and England winning and stripping rights from the French Canadian people! And we learn a lot more about why this war broke out, how the natives helped mainly the French and why (deep relationships going back to New Frances foundation) and how to properly pronounce French names like Montcalm (which was second nature bc we have to learn French)

  • You’re so sexy mr. green

  • North American native: Oh I'm sorry was I not meant to split his head open with a tomahawk?
    George Washington: Ah, Don't worry, it's not like this is gonna start a 7 year major global conflict.
    Narrator (Oversimplified): And what happened was a 7 year major global conflict.

  • "Swamp People", not "Swamp Wars"

  • I recently watched your Atlantic Slave Trade course and I thought its nice that he let up on the humor or jokes. Yet here speaking about Native Americans you think its ok to show them being shot and make a joke about it. So hypocritical of you and crash course. That part was completely unnecessary. I will no longer be watching your videos. Shame on you!!!!!

  • This guy is great but I wish he would speak just slightly slower so that my brain can keep up…

  • I love Crash Course, but this video needs to be updated. The term "Indian" has been replaced with "Indigenous" for a long time now. If not for PC reasons, at least for clarity in a video which talks about "American-Indians" as well as "Indian-Indians".

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