Although it began in America in 1754, the war is officially declared between France and England on May 17, 1756. In the colonies, French, British, Canadians, and Amerindians clash in bloody battles. Using their influence and alliances, the French have spent years building a flourishing fur trade, which now extends over a vast territory. The British—those from Europe as well as the American colonists—find it crowded in the thirteen colonies and want to expand their territory in North America. Despite their small numbers, Canadian colonists have succeeded in establishing an effective network of alliances with the Amerindians. They rapidly adjusted to the climate and land by changing their lifestyles. They identify less and less with their homeland, France.The Amerindians stand to lose a great deal in this conflict. They are trying to strike the best alliance possible in the hope of preserving their rights. The majority of the Native people prefer to side with the French because they perceive them to be less of a threat to their lands. Plus, it is widely known that "the English are land eaters."