For hundreds of years the British and French had fought over land, water passages and trade in various parts of the world. Native American peoples were forced to choose trading partners in the hope that these alliances would protect their lands and way of life.
As each nation tried to establish a foothold in North America, conflicts arose over land and trade rights. By the late 1600s, Britain and France were the predominant nations and the bitterness of the wars in Europe spilled over into the New World. The Seven Years War was being fought in Europe and Asia while its counterpart in North America was known as the French and Indian War (1754-1763).
In 1755 Fort William Henry was constructed to command the southern end of Lake George. It was a British outpost to protect the colonies farther to the south and to serve as a launching site against the French held northern end of the lake protected by Fort Carillon. Its short history and violent end has been retold, although inaccurately, in James Fenimore Cooper’s “Last of the Mohicans”.