History of Queen Anne’s War

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Queen Anne’s War was a conflict between England, Spain, Portugal, Savoy and France in North America during the early 18th century.

The war was the second in a series of French and Indian Wars in North America and was also the North American theater of the War of the Spanish Succession.

Who Fought in Queen Anne’s War?

  • England
  • Iroquois Confederacy
  • France
  • Spain
  • Wabanaki Confederacy

Who Won Queen Anne’s War?

The British won Queen Anne’s War.

When Did Queen Anne’s War Take Place?

Queen Anne’s War was fought between 1702-1713.

Where Did Queen Anne’s War Take Place?

  • Spanish Florida
  • Colony of South Carolina
  • Province of Massachusetts Bay
  • Province of New Hampshire
  • New France

What Caused Queen Anne’s War?

The build up to the War of the Spanish Succession began in November of 1700 when the childless Spanish King Charles II, a member of the Hapsburg family, died and left the Monarchy of Spain to the grandson of King Louis XIV of France, a member of the rival Bourbon family.

William III of England had wanted the Holy Roman Emperor, also a member of the Hapsburg family, to ascend to the Spanish throne instead, with the hopes that an alliance with the emperor would help England gain control of certain Spanish held locations in the Netherlands and Italy, and disputed the lack of separation between the Spanish and French crowns, fearing that it threatened the European balance of power.

In March of 1702, William III died and his sister-in-law, Queen Anne, ascended to the English throne. A few months later, England joined the conflict when it declared war on Spain and France in May of 1702.

Queen Anne, illustration published in The Border Wars of New England, circa 1897
Queen Anne, illustration published in The Border Wars of New England, circa 1897

The fighting eventually spilled over into the English and French North American colonies where there were many unresolved conflicts left over from King William’s War, according to Samuel Adams Drake in his book The Border Wars of New England:

“In view of its probable murderous character, it would perhaps be too much to say that the war was popular in New England. But the people were intensely loyal to the cause of Protestantism, of which William was the recognized champion, and intensely partisan, too. They resented, as warmly as all Protestant England did, the insult put upon the nation in challenging William’s right to the throne. Canada was wholly Catholic. Those in authority there took their cue from their royal master in declaring William a usurper.” (Drake 147-48)

Essentially, one of the most fundamental issues of the war was the long-standing rivalry between England and France, a conflict that had been left unresolved after King William’s War ended in 1697.

What Happened During Queen Anne’s War?

Queen Anne’s War was fought on three fronts:

The English colonists of New England fought the French and Indian forces based in Acadia and New France.

The English colonists from St. John’s in Newfoundland fought the French colonists from Plaisance in Newfoundland.

The English colonists of the Province of Carolina and Georgia fought the Spanish and French based in Florida.

In the early years of the war, French and Indian forces repeatedly attacked the New England colonies during numerous raids on New England border settlements, according to an article in American Heritage magazine:

“Much of the actual fighting was small-scale, hit-and-run, more a matter of improvisation than of formal strategy and tactics. Losses in any single encounter might be only a few, but they did add up. Occasionally the scale widened, and entire towns became targets. Lancaster and Haverhill, Massachusetts; Salmon Falls and Oyster River, New Hampshire; York and Wells, Maine: Each suffered days of wholesale attack. And Deerfield, Massachusetts—above all, Deerfield—scene of the region’s single, most notorious ‘massacre.’”

In response to these raids, the New England colonists retaliated by attacking French settlements in Nova Scotia in July of 1704.

Meanwhile, in the south, the English navy captured the Caribbean island of St. Christopher from the French in the summer of 1702, while Spanish and Apalachee Indian forces attacked Creek Indians in Georgia during the Battle of Flint River in October of 1702, while soldiers from the Province of Carolina attacked and captured the town of St. Augustine, Florida, in November of 1702, although they failed to capture the Spanish fortress Castillo de San Marcos.

In August of 1703, the Northeast Coast Campaign began, during which French colonial forces and the Wabanaki Confederacy attacked and destroyed a number of English settlements on the coast of present-day Maine between Wells and Casco Bay over the course of three months.

In 1704, Carolina colonial forces conducted a series of raids, known as the Apalachee Massacre, in Spanish Florida that destroyed a network of Spanish missions and killed and captured much of the population in the area.

In New France, the English colonists attacked Bonavista in Newfoundland in August of 1704.

One of the deadliest conflicts in the war occurred on February 29, 1704, when a force of 50 Frenchmen and 200 Abenaki warriors attacked Deerfield, Massachusetts, where they killed 53 settlers and took 111 prisoners.

English settlers retaliated by attacking French settlements alongside their own Indian allies, the Mohawks, in a series of small raids that raged on for years.

On such raid occurred in June of 1704, when over 500 New England colonial forces led by Benjamin Church embarked on a raiding expedition in Acadia, known as the Raid on Grand Pre, and went on to create a blockade around Port Royal.

After successfully capturing Grand Pre, Church and his troops spent three days destroying the town, including its crops, dikes and levees, before moving on to attack other settlements in the area and then returning to Massachusetts in July.

In September of 1706, the Charles Town Expedition took place, during which both French and Spanish forces combined in an attempt to capture the capital of the English Province of Carolina, Charles Town, but were thwarted by local militia.

In the summer of 1707, New England colonial forces made two major efforts to capture Port Royal, Acadia but both attempts failed.

In January of 1709, French forces from Plaisance in Newfoundland captured St. John’s, the capital of the British colony at Newfoundland. French resources were too limited to hold St. John’s though so in April they destroyed its fortifications and abandoned it.

In June of 1709, French colonial volunteers and their native allies attacked the Hudson Bay Outpost at Fort Albany in present-day Ontario but failed to capture it.

Finally, in the fall of 1709, the English government agreed to help the colonists in the conflict and sent them five warships staffed with 400 marines.

This new fleet of warships sailed to Port Royal where they helped the English colonists achieve their most notable colonial success in the war when they captured Port Royal, Nova Scotia, on Oct. 16, 1710. Port Royal was renamed Annapolis in honor of the English queen, while Acadia was renamed Nova Scotia.

In response to the capture of Port Royal, in June of 1711, the Battle of Bloody Creek took place, during which an Abenaki militia successfully ambushed British and New England soldiers in a creek near the Annapolis River in an attempt by the leaders of New France to weaken the British hold on Annapolis.

In August of 1711, British and New England forces attempted to conquer Quebec, a military action known as the Quebec Expedition, but failed when seven British warships were wrecked enroute to Quebec.

How Did Queen Anne’s War End?

The War of the Spanish Succession ended when England, France, Spain and the Dutch Republic signed the Treaty of Utrecht, which was a series of individual peace treaties between the various European countries, in between the years 1713 and 1715.

The treaty made Philip V, grandson of Louis XIV, King of Spain. It also forced France to give England some of its land in North America and the Caribbean, including Newfoundland, Acadia, the Hudson Bay region of northeastern Canada and the island of St. Kitts in the West Indies. Spain was forced to give England the island of Minorca and Gibraltar.

Furthermore, England was awarded the Asiento contract, which gave them exclusive rights to supply Spain’s American colonies with black slaves, at the rate of 4,800 a year, for 30 years.

How Did Queen Anne’s War Affect the Colonies?

According to Charles Augustus Goodrich in his book A History of the United States, the New England colonies bore the brunt of the war:

“The whole weight of the war in America, unexpectedly fell on New-England. The geographical position of New York particularly exposed that colony to a combined attack from the lakes and sea; but just before the commencement of hostilities, a treaty of neutrality was concluded between the Five Nations and the French governour of Canada. The local situation of the Five Nations, bordering on the frontiers of New York, prevented the French from molesting that colony; Massachusetts and New Hampshire were thus left to bear the chief calamities of war.” (Goodrich 73).

Despite the Treaty of Utrecht, the fighting between the French, English and Native-Americans continued in North America for a number of years after the treaty was signed.

Even after the fighting stopped, resentment between the British and the French continued until war broke out once again in 1744 with King George’s War.

Drake, Sir Frances. The Border Wars of New England: Commonly Called King William’s and Queen Anne’s Wars. Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1897.
Demos, John. “The Deerfield Massacre.” American Heritage, February/March 1993, Volume 44, Issue 1, www.americanheritage.com/deerfield-massacre
Goodrich, Charles Augustus. A History of the United States of America. James Cutler & Co, 1832.
“1702 – Queen Anne’s War.” The Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Connecticut, www.colonialwarsct.org/1702.htm

About Rebecca Beatrice Brooks

Rebecca Beatrice Brooks is the author and publisher of the History of Massachusetts Blog. Rebecca is a freelance journalist and history lover who got her start in journalism working for small-town newspapers in Massachusetts and New Hampshire after she graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.A. in journalism. Visit this site's About page to find out more about Rebecca.