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Battle of the Bay: England and France at War

 

In 1697 England and France were at war in Europe. Both sides used the war to try to gain control of the fur trade in North America. Each side sent out raiding parties to try to capture the other company's trading posts.

One of the most valuable trading posts was York Fort; the French were eager to capture it. Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville got his chance on a return trip from France. D'Iberville was the commander of the Pelican, a 44-gun ship. His ship was part of a fleet on its way to Hudson Bay. The fleet had been trapped in the ice. The Pelican broke free from the ice and so it went ahead.

When the Pelican was close to the trading post, a group of soldiers were sent ashore to scout out the fort and see how hard it would be to capture. Meanwhile, d'Iberville remained on board the Pelican. In the distance he saw the masts of some other ships. Thinking it was the rest of the French fleet, he set off to meet them. It wasn't until his ship got close to the other ships that he realized that there were not French. Rather, they were enemy ships.

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