The Seven Years’ War (1756–63), known in the USA as the French and Indian War (1754–63), dominates conventional accounts, with the central narratives being ‘the miracle of Prussia’ — Frederick the Great’s ability to fight off a stronger coalition, and the conquest by his ally Britain of French Canada, which centred on Québec.1 These achievements were important, but the presentation of the conflict as the first world war, while capturing the range of the fighting, both underplays earlier instances of wide-ranging warfare between European maritime powers, notably Spain and the Dutch in the seventeenth century, and also fails to deal with the autonomy and importance of major wars across much of Central and South Asia in the mid-eighteenth century. These conflicts were not linked to this supposed first world war.
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