TICONDEROGA - Fort Ticonderoga's Author Series continues July 25, with Russell P. Bellico, author of Empires in the Mountains: French and Indian War Campaigns and Forts in the Lake Champlain, Lake George, and Hudson River Corridor. The program takes place in the Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center at Fort Ticonderoga at 2 p.m., followed by a book signing at 3 p.m. in the Museum Store. The program is included in the cost of admission.
The French and Indian War (1754-1763), the North American theater of the Seven Years' War, would change the map of the continent and set the stage for the American Revolution. The conflict, which pitted the French and their Indian allies against the English, has often been misunderstood and largely received minor treatment in most general histories of America. To some, the name of the war itself has been puzzling and somewhat misleading because Britain also had Indian allies during the war. The war represented a culmination of a century-old struggle for control of North America. The clash was inevitable. English settlers increasingly pushed westward and northward from their original settlements on the east coast, displacing the French and Native Americans. The French population in North America, approximately 55,000 by the middle of the eighteenth century, lived principally along the St. Lawrence River; but New France claimed a vast amount of territory to the west, linked by a string of isolated trading posts and forts. In contrast, the population of the English colonies had expanded from a quarter million inhabitants in 1700 to 1.2 million by 1750. English land companies soon began to encroach on territories claimed by the French. To defend their land holdings, the French built a series of substantial fortifications on the strategic water routes of their empire, including along the Richelieu River-Lake Champlain corridor. To the south, the British likewise constructed fortifications in the upper Hudson valley and at the southern end of Lake George, thus making the historic Lake Champlain-Lake George-Hudson River corridor crucial to the outcome of the war.
Russell Bellico is a professor emeritus at Westfield State College in Massachusetts and the author of four books with Purple Mountain Press. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Connecticut and his doctorate from the University of Massachusetts. He taught economic history at Westfield State College for 34 years. In addition to Empires at War, Bellico is the author of Sails and Steam in the Mountains: A Maritime and Military History of Lake George and Lake Champlain, Chronicles of Lake Champlain: Journeys in War and Peace, and Chronicles of Lake George: Journeys in War and Peace.
Additional "Author Series" programs will take place Aug. 8, Aug. 15, and Oct. 17. Each program begins at 2 p.m. and is followed by a book signing at 3 p.m. in the Museum Store.
Fort Ticonderoga is a private not-for-profit site dedicated to preserving and interpreting the important history in which it played such a vital role. The French & Indian War and the American Revolution are explored with tours, family programs, demonstrations of 18th-century crafts as well as world-class exhibits and collections. The King's Garden is part of the reconstruction history of the Fort and also offers tours and programs. Both are open from 9:30 to 5 daily and are covered by the same admission charge: $15 for adults, $13.50 for those 60 and older, $7 for children from 7 through 12. Children under 6 and residents of Ticonderoga and the surrounding communities; Crown Point, Hague, Putnam, Silver Bay, Orwell and Shoreham, are admitted free of charge. Information on this and all the Fort activities see www.FortTiconderoga.org.