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The Seven Years War (1756-63)

Maps and views, correspondence and journals from the first global war

The Seven Years War is recognised as the first truly global war. It divided the European powers into two factions. Great Britain formed a coalition with Prussia, Portugal, Hanover and some other German states and was opposed by France, the Holy Roman Empire, the Electorate of Saxony, Russia, Spain and Sweden. Anglo-French engagements in North America, known as the French and Indian War, began in 1754 and persisted until the end of the Seven Years War. The conflict ranged across the globe, from North America to the Indian subcontinent, and was precipitated by Austrian ambitions to recover Silesia which had been occupied by Frederick the Great during the War of the Austrian Succession (1740–8).

During this time, the Duke of Cumberland remained as Captain General of the British land forces until his defeat, in command of the Army of Observation, by the French at the Battle of Hastenbeck on 26 July 1757, which led to the French occupation of Hanover. Cumberland’s father, George II, who was also King of Hanover, expressed his displeasure with his son in such strong terms that Cumberland felt obliged to resign from all his appointments. In spite of this, and until his death in 1765, he continued to correspond with military figures and politicians on the progress of the war; this correspondence included some of the maps from the theatres of war.

The focus of this section is on the war in Europe but it also includes items from North America, Cuba, West Indies and India. Correspondence, maps – printed and manuscript – occasional journals and views of naval engagements include unique material by William Roy, who is regarded as the founder of the Ordnance Survey, and the Hanoverian engineer surveyors and draughtsmen, the du Plats.

Similarly, the manuscript mapping of the French and Indian War (1754–63, a part of the Seven Years War, 1756–63), which includes work by such famous surveyors as Samuel Holland (1728–1801), Joseph Desbarres (1721–1824), Patrick McKellar (1717–78) and Hugh Debbeig (1731–1810), is of the greatest importance in the history of the mapping of Canada and complements the material in the King’s Topographical Collection in the British Library.

A plan of the encampment of the detachment at Little Meadows, 1755. French and Indian War (1754-63). No orientation. 
Little Meadows, Maryland (39°41'57"N 79°05'36"E), marked on RCIN 731061.a as number 4, was an often used campsite by the Bri
French and Indian War (1754-63)

War between the colonies of Britain and France in North America

Plan of St Philips, 1756 (Sant-Felip, Port Mahon, Minorca, Balearic Islands) 39?52'01"N 04?18'13"E

Troops in the UK, and Port Mahon in the Balearics

A map of the positions and movements of the Army of Observation (George II's German troops) and those of the French, at Hastenbeck, 24 July 1757. Seven Years War (1756-63) Oriented with west to top. 
Additional text: [below title, in cartouche, a key, A-G

French attacks on Britain's Hanoverian possessions

View of the siege of Schweidnitz, 1758 (Swidnica, Lower Silesian Voivodeship, Poland) 50?50'37"N 16?29'18"E

A year of indecisive actions in Europe

Map of Beauport, 1759 (Beauport, Quebec, Canada) 46?51'31"N 71?11'31"W

British naval victories at Quiberon Bay and Lagos, major land defeats for the Prussians

PLAN SHEWING THE ENCAMPMENTS AND MOVEMENTS / OF HIS MAIESTY’S ARMY IN GERMANY / under the Command of H,S,H, Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick and Lunebourg, / from the 10:th of July 1760, when it occupied the Camp of Sachsenhausen, to...

Action in Germany, and the Battle of Leignitz in Poland

PERSPECTIVE view of ROSEAU in the Island of DOMINIQUE taken upon the 6,th of June 1761 by His Majesty’s troops commanded by LORD ROLLO c.1761

The Battle of Vellinghausen

Map of Havana, 1762 (Havana, Ciudad de La Habana, Cuba) 23?07'58"N 82?22'58"W

Britain declares war on Spain