In 1754, France had a strong relationship with a number of Native-American tribes in Canada and along the Great Lakes. It controlled the Mississippi River and, by establishing a line of forts and trading posts, controlled a great crescent-shaped empire stretching from Quebec to New Orleans. Given this, the French threatened not only the British Empire but also the American colonists themselves. An armed clash between a band of French regulars and Virginia militiamen took place in 1754. The Virginia force, commanded by a young George Washington, was unsuccessful in expelling the French from Fort Duquesne and the Ohio region. The British government attempted to deal with the conflict by calling a meeting of representatives from New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and the New England colonies. The Albany Congress, as it came to be known, met with the Iroquois in Albany, New York, in order to improve relations with them and secure their loyalty to the British. The delegates also declared a union of the American colonies "absolutely necessary for their preservation" and adopted a proposal drafted by Benjamin Franklin. This proposal became known as The Albany Plan of Union. The Albany Plan suggested the future direction of the colonies, but at the time, none of the colonies accepted the plan. They were not prepared to surrender either the power of taxation or control over the development of the western lands. England's superior strategic position and her competent leadership ultimately brought victory in the conflict with France, known as the French and Indian War. This war was also known as the Seven Years' War in Europe. In the Peace of Paris (1763), France relinquished all of Canada, the Great Lakes, and the territory east of the Mississippi to the British. The dream of a French empire in North America was over.

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