1754 – French and Indian War: George Washington surrenders Fort Necessity to French forces.
The Battle of Fort Necessity (also called the Battle of the Great Meadows) took place on July 3, 1754, in what is now the mountaintop hamlet of Farmington in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. The engagement was one of the first battles of the French and Indian War and George Washington’s only military surrender. The battle, along with the May 28 Battle of Jumonville Glen, contributed to a series of military escalations that resulted in the global Seven Years’ War.
Washington built Fort Necessity on an alpine meadow west of the summit of a pass through the Allegheny Mountains. Another pass nearby leads to Confluence, Pennsylvania; to the west, Nemacolin’s Trail begins its descent to Uniontown, Pennsylvania, and other parts of Fayette County along the relatively low altitudes of the Allegheny Plateau.
Main article: French and Indian War
Throughout the 1740s and early 1750s, British and French traders had increasingly come into contact in the Ohio Country, including the upper watershed of the Ohio River in what is now western Pennsylvania. Authorities in New France became more aggressive in their efforts to expel British traders and colonists from this area, and in 1753 began construction of a series of fortifications in the area. In previous wars, the Québecois had more than held their own against the English colonials.
The French action drew the attention of not just the British, but also the Indian tribes of the area. Despite good Franco-Indian relations, British traders became successful in convincing the Indians to trade with them in preference to the Canadiens, and the planned large-scale advance was not well received by all. The reason for this was that they had to provide them with the goods that the Anglo-American traders had previously supplied, and at similar prices. This proved to be singularly difficult. With the exception of one or two Montreal merchant traders, the Canadians showed a great reluctance to venture into the Ohio country. In particular, Tanacharison, a Mingo chief also known as the “Half King”, became anti-French as a consequence. In a meeting with Paul Marin de la Malgue, commander of the Canadian construction force, the latter reportedly lost his temper, and shouted at the Indian chief, “I tell you, down the river I will go. If the river is blocked up, I have the forces to burst it open and tread under my feet all that oppose me. I despise all the stupid things you have said.” He then threw down some wampum that Tanacharison had offered as a good will gesture. Marin died not long after, and command of the operations was turned over to Jacques Legardeur de Saint-Pierre.
Virginia colonial Lieutenant Colonel George Washington was sent by Governor Robert Dinwiddie to travel from Williamsburg to Fort LeBeouf in the Ohio Territory (a territory claimed by several of the British colonies, including Virginia) as an emissary in December 1753, to deliver a letter. Saint-Pierre politely informed Washington that he was there pursuant to orders, and Washington’s letter should have been addressed to his commanding officer in Canada.
Washington returned to Williamsburg and informed Governor Dinwiddie that the French refused to leave. Dinwiddie ordered Washington to begin raising a militia regiment to hold the Forks of the Ohio, in present-day Pittsburgh, a site Washington had identified as a fine location for a fortress. The governor also issued a captain’s commission to Ohio Company employee William Trent, with instructions to raise a small force and immediately begin construction of a fortification on the Ohio. Dinwiddie issued these instructions on his own authority, without even asking for funding from the Virginia House of Burgesses until after the fact. Trent’s company arrived on site in February 1754, and began construction of a storehouse and stockade with the assistance of Tanacharison and the Mingos. In response, the Canadians sent a force of about 500 men, Canadian, French, and Indians under Claude-Pierre Pécaudy de Contrecœur (rumors reaching Trent’s men put its size at 1,000). On April 16, they arrived at the forks; the next day, Trent’s force of 36 men, led by Ensign Edward Ward in Trent’s absence, agreed to leave the site. The Canadians tore down the British works, and began construction of the fort they called Fort Duquesne.
1743 – Sophia Magdalena of Denmark (d. 1813)
Sophia Magdalena of Denmark (Danish: Sofie Magdalene; 3 July 1746 – 21 August 1813) was Queen of Sweden as the spouse of King Gustav III.
Princess Sofie Magdalene was born on 3 July 1746 at Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen as the eldest surviving child of King Frederick V of Denmark and his first consort, the former Princess Louise of Great Britain. She was the heir presumptive to the throne of Denmark from the death of her elder brother in 1747 until the birth of her second brother in 1749, and retained her status as next in line to the Danish throne after her brother until her marriage. She was therefore often referred to as Crown Princess of Denmark.
In the spring of 1751, at the age of five, she was betrothed to Gustav, the heir apparent to the throne of Sweden, and she was brought up to be the Queen of Sweden. The marriage was arranged by the Riksdag of the Estates, not by the Swedish royal family. The marriage was arranged as a way of creating peace between Sweden and Denmark, which had a long history of war and which had strained relations following the election of an heir to the Swedish throne in 1743, where the Danish candidate had lost. The engagement was met with some worry from Queen Louise, who feared that her daughter would be mistreated by the Queen of Sweden, Louisa Ulrika of Prussia. The match was known to be disliked by the Queen of Sweden, who was in constant conflict with the Parliament; and who was known in Denmark for her pride, dominant personality and hatred of anything Danish, which she demonstrated in her treatment of the Danish ambassadors in Stockholm.
After the death of her mother early in her life, Sophia Magdalena was given a very strict and religious upbringing by her grandmother and her stepmother, who considered her father and brother to be morally degenerate. She is noted to have had good relationships with her siblings, her grandmother and her stepmother; her father, however, often frightened her when he came before her drunk, and was reportedly known to set his dogs upon her, causing in her a lifelong phobia.
In 1760, the betrothal was again brought up by Denmark, which regarded it as a matter of prestige. The negotiations were made between Denmark and the Swedish Queen, as King Adolf Frederick of Sweden was never considered to be of any more than purely formal importance. Louisa Ulrika favored a match between Gustav and her niece Philippine of Brandenburg-Schwedt instead, and claimed that she regarded the engagement to be void and forced upon her by Carl Gustaf Tessin. She negotiated with Catherine the Great and her brother Frederick the Great to create some political benefit for Denmark in exchange for a broken engagement. However, the Swedish public was very favorable to the match due to expectations Sophia Magdalena would be like the last Danish-born Queen of Sweden, Ulrika Eleonora of Denmark, who was very loved for her kindness and charity. This view was supported by the Caps political party, which expected Sophia Magdalena to be an example of a virtuous and religious representative of the monarchy in contrast to the haughty Louisa Ulrika. Fredrick V of Denmark was also eager to complete the match: “His Danish Majesty could not have the interests of his daughter sacrificed because of the prejudices and whims of the Swedish Queen”. In 1764 Crown Prince Gustav, who was at this point eager to free himself from his mother and form his own household, used the public opinion to state to his mother that he wished to honor the engagement, and on 3 April 1766, the engagement was officially celebrated. When a portrait of Sophia Magdalena was displayed in Stockholm, Louisa Ulrika commented: “why Gustav, you seem to be already in love with her! She looks stupid”, after which she turned to Prince Charles and added: “She would suit you better!”
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