The Revolt of Pontiac and the American Invasion

France and Spain Enter the War

A Chance For French Revenge

View Multimedia - Changing Boundaries

Caption: View Multimedia - Changing Boundaries

From a military standpoint, the British were forcing the Americans to fight on their own terrain rather than in Canada. Diplomatically speaking, however, England's situation was becoming precarious. It had little sympathy within the forum of nations, and found even fewer allies to support it against its rebel colonies. France had been eagerly awaiting an opportunity to avenge itself for the humiliations suffered in the Seven Years' War. Its army, which had been reorganized, modernized and strengthened, had become one of the most powerful in Europe. Its fleet, which had been virtually wiped out 20 years earlier, had added several modern warships and it was now the second most powerful navy in the world.

In July 1778 hostilities between France and England broke out openly, and the French were immediately successful in the West Indies and on the high seas. In 1779 Spain too joined the war against Great Britain, and the following year Holland joined as well. The conflicts became worldwide, and the British, overwhelmed, were attacked at Minorca and Gibraltar in the Mediterranean, and in Florida, India and the West Indies, all at a time when they saw a powerful French corps join the American army. In October 1781 General Charles Cornwallis, driven back to Yorktown in Virginia, had to surrender, putting an end to the hostilities along the Atlantic coast. That same year, the Spanish army forced the fall of Pensacola in western Florida, thus putting an end to the British presence in the Gulf of Mexico.