King William's War, 1689–97, a war between the English and French in North America. It was the first of the so-called Intercolonial Wars, in which England and France fought for domination in North America. It took its name from William III of England and was the American phase of the War of the Grand Alliance in Europe. The war began with a three-pronged attack by the French and their Indian allies on English colonial settlements. They raided Schenectady, New York; several villages along the Canadian border in New Hampshire and Maine; and settlements along the Maine coast. Many colonists were massacred by Indians.
Terror spread throughout the northern English colonies. The colonists first retaliated by sending a fleet, commanded by Sir William Phips, to attack the French fort of Port Royal, Acadia (now Nova Scotia), in 1690. After the capture of Port Royal, the English prepared a combined land and sea attack on Quebec, hoping to capture French Canada. When their army of 2,000 was scattered by the French, the fleet turned back. Both sides continued to make border raids, but without significant results.
The Treaty of Ryswick in 1697 returned Port Royal to the French. With the beginning of Queen Anne's War three years later, fighting was resumed.