Battle of the Plains of Abraham
“…two nations are at war over a few acres of snow near Canada, and they are
spending on this little war more than all of Canada is worth” – Voltaire
Fight for North America
France, England and Spain
were the main colonial powers
in North America.
Spain’s influence was mainly
in the southern part of the
continent, while France and
England were adversaries in
Many conflicts occurred
between France and England
in the 18th Century.
Seven Years’ War is
considered to be the first
The Battle of the Plains of
Abraham was the event which
led to England gaining control
of what was to become
• Major towns were established along the
St. Lawrence River. The largest towns
were Quebec and Montreal. Quebec was
the oldest, most important with the
• The fortress of Louisbourg was built on
Cape Breton Island to protect the St.
A view of Quebec showing cliffs which helped to protect the city.
British North America
• 13 colonies established along the Atlantic coast
south of New France were the most important of
Britain's North American possessions.
• The population and economy in these colonies
was growing and they wanted to expand
westward into the fertile Ohio Valley.
• The French were also interested in this area to
support their fur trading business.
• Tensions between the two countries grew as
both tried to expand their influence in the area.
Conflict Between the French and British
There were 4 major wars between
France and England in North America.
The first 3 conflicts were European wars
that carried over to the colonies, while
the 4th conflict started in the colonies
and would result in the British gaining
control of North America.
The Seven Years War
• In North America this war was also known as the
French and Indian War. It eventually became a
world-wide conflict – the first true world war.
• After war officially began in 1755, the Acadians,
a French people which refused to swear loyalty
to England, were forcibly removed from their
homes. In 1758 Louisbourg was captured and
the St. Lawrence became accessible to the
• Main leaders in Canadian part of the conflict
were the Marquis de Montcalm for the French
and James Wolfe for the British.
Montcalm and Wolfe
A French noble appointed to
command French forces in
Quebec in 1756.
Brilliant general who suffered
from tuberculosis when he
commanded the English forces
British Assault of Quebec
• After the capture of Louisbourg by Wolfe
the British sailed down the St. Lawrence to
Quebec. The British began a
bombardment of the fortress.
• As it was late in the year, and Quebec’s
defences were strong, the French hoped
that the British would be forced to leave
when winter set in.
Path Leading to the Plains of Abraham
• Wolfe, fearing winter’s
approach, wanted to fight
a land battle to gain
control of Quebec.
• Wolfe learned of a path
that would allow his
forces to climb the cliffs
• In September 1759 his
troops landed in what is
now called Wolfe’s cove
and they scaled the cliffs
leading to the Plains of
Canons shell Quebec while the British climb up to the Plains of Abraham
Battle of the Plains of Abraham
When Montcalm saw the
British troops he decided to
fight them before they could
bring cannons closer to
Quebec to shell the fortress.
British troops were better
trained. After a short battle
the French are forced to
Both Wolfe and Montcalm
died because of injuries from
Death of Montcalm
Significance of the Battle
• The Battle of the Plains of Abraham resulted in
the surrender of New France’s strongest
fortress. After the capture of Montreal in 1760,
England had control of North America.
• The Seven Years War officially ended in 1763.
Under the terms of the Treaty of Paris all of
France’s North American colonies, except for
two small islands, officially became British
• Because of the Battle of the Plains of Abraham
France lost its influence in North America along
with wealth that it received from the fur trade.
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