Between 1497 and 1763, English seamen discovered new lands, set up colonies and traded all over the world.
In the 18th century, Britain fought a number of wars against France, taking over colonies established by the French:
The Seven Years’ War lasted between 1756 and 1763 and showed just how far Britain was prepared to go in order to protect its colonial interests.
England and France had been involved in small conflicts over territories for many years, going back to the British control of Calais in the Middle Ages. In 1756, Britain declared war on France over a conflict over French expansion in America by the Ohio River Valley. British Prime Minister, William Pitt the Older, funded the British colonies in America to raise armies against the French.
By 1783, at the Treaty of Paris, Britain gained a number of new colonies in North and Central America: Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Tobago.
The British victory was significant as it resulted in an angry France supporting America in the War of Independence just over a decade later.