By Frank McLynn
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Extra info for 1759: The Year Britain Became Master of the World
It is difficult to underrate seapower and the advantage it gave Britain in the global struggle in the eighteenth century, but one clue is the way in which it enabled London to nullify the advantages France seemed to have on paper. There were at most seven million people in Britain in 1759, as against more than twenty-five million in France (140 million in Europe as a whole and 800 million in the entire world). In normal circumstances, this kind of disparity in numbers between combatants is crucial and is often cited as the core reason for the victory of the North over the South in the American Civil War.
Contemporaries were aware of the massive import of the struggle and frequently used analogies from the classical world to explain it. On one model, the struggle was freedom and civilisation (Britain) versus despotism and barbarism (France), with the British as the Greeks and the French as the Persians. Others preferred the analogy of seaborne Athens (Britain) against land-based Sparta (France). All such comparisons are useful provided they are not pushed too far in a deterministic, cyclical or ahistorical way, and I must plead guilty to ‘analogy fever’ myself, for in many ways the Seven Years War was, like the Second World War, a two-front conflict.
To add insult to injury, when the Cherokee warriors eventually staggered in to their homelands, they found that South Carolina colonists had taken advantage of their absence to poach game on the ancestral hunting lands of the tribe. Cherokee elders spent the spring of 1759 debating their options: either a sudden war of revenge or an embassy to Governor William Henry Lyttelton of South Carolina to seek substantial reparations. The Indian tribes of eastern North America, 1759 The Cherokee chief Attakullakulla (Little Carpenter) was the leading advocate of a peaceful resolution of the tribe’s grievances.