|The French Regime
1749 – The Abbé
François Picquet builds a mission fort called Fort de la Présentation
on the banks of the Oswegatchie River and the St. Lawrence River to convert
the Iroquois Confederacy to Catholicism and to bring them to the side of
France as his nation prepares for war with the British.
French leaders in New France support
the construction of the fort as a crucial step to repair relations with
the powerful Iroquois Confederacy, the most powerful Native American government
in North America, which controls most of what is now upstate New York above
Valley and western New York.
The Iroquois have a long history of
friendly relations with the British who have designs on New
France. The French control what is now Canada and the entire Mississippi
Valley to New Orleans, pinning in the rapidly growing 13 British Colonies.
Unfortunately, New France only has about 80,000 people thinly stretched
across its widespread colony. The 13 British colonies have a population
of more than a million people.
agree to allow Picquet to build his mission fort because they are growing
concerned by the way the Britsh settlers keep encroaching on their territory
in the Mohawk Valley. They are also uneasy over the British decision to
build a fort at Oswego.
1755 – The Abbé Picquet’s
mission Fort de la Présentation has attracted more than 3,000 Onondagas,
and other Iroquois to the side of France. In the 1750s, Montreal
only had a population of 4,000. With such a sparse population, Picquet’s
mission represents a large fighting force in the service of New France.
The French use the fort as a base of
operations for attacks on the British in the Mohawk Valley, the Champlain
Valley and the Ohio
1755 – Warriors from la Présentation
play a role in the defeat of Braddock
Washington in the Ohio Valley.
1756 – Warriors join Gaspard-Joseph
Chaussegros de Léry’s expedition which destroys Fort
Bull (near present day Rome,
1756 – Picquet and his warriors accompany
to help capture Oswego.
1756 – At the Albany
Franklin urges the British to destroy Fort de la Présentation.
1757 – Picquet and warriors accompany
Montcalm at the battle of Fort
William Henry and is blamed by many of the British for his failure
to stop the massacre afterwards. This battle was depicted in James
Fenimore Cooper's novel Last
of the Mohicans. Picquet accompanies Montcalm to the battle at Fort
Carillon, but his warriors do not join the battle.
1759 – The French begin evacuating Fort
de la Présentation and construct Fort
Lévis on Chimney
Island to prevent a British attack up the St. Lawrence River on Montreal
1760 – For five days and nights, 300
French soldiers at Fort Lévis stand off 10,000 Anglo-American troops
led by Sir
Jeffrey Amherst, blocking them as they sweep down the St. Lawrence
River on their way to Montreal. This is the last Battle of the French
and Indian War.