The Seven Years' War (1756 - 1763) pitted Great Britain, Prussia and Hanover against France, Austria, Russia, Sweden, and Saxony. It was the first "world war"; a force from the neutral Netherlands was attacked in India. Battles in Europe were largely inconclusive (see Battle of Rossbach) and European boundaries were returned to their pre-war states, by the Treaty of Hubertusburg (February 1763).
The war began on May 15, 1756; when Great Britain declared war on France. Great Britain battled France across India, North America, Europe, the Caribbean isles, the Philippines and coastal Africa. During the 1750s up to 1763, Great Britain gained enormous areas of land and influence at the expense of the French. Robert Clive ran the French from India, and General James Wolfe defeated the French forces of General Louis-Joseph de Montcalm and so conquered Canada (New France).
The British-French hostilities were ended by the Treaty of Paris (1763), which involved a complex series of land exchanges. France was given the choice of keeping either New France or their islands in the Caribbean, and chose the latter to retain their source of sugar. This suited the British as well, as their own Caribbean islands already supplied ample sugar, but with the handover of New France they gained control of all lands in North America east of the Mississippi River. Spain lost control of Florida to Britain, but took control of New Orleans and the Louisiana Territory west of the Mississippi River from the French.
The North American phase of this conflict is known in the United States as the French and Indian War. Many of the Indians (Native Americans/First Nations) sided with France although some did fight with the British. The name "Seven Years' War" is used in the United States to refer only to the European portions of the conflict (1756-1763), not the nine-year North American conflict or the Indian campaigns which lasted 15 years.