Naively, Washington did just that the morning of May 28, 1754, wounding Jumonville before he could explain that he had come on a diplomatic mission. The French called for a ceasefire and tried to parley with their assailants, but Tanaghrisson cut off the chances for a diplomatic resolution by bashing in Jumonville's skull and washing his hands in the dead man's brains. He intended to make it impossible for Washington, the Virginians, and the British empire as a whole to back out of their alliance with him, and to use Britain's strength to eject the French from his land. Tanaghrisson's calculated act triggered events that ranged unimaginably far beyond his control, however. A French counterattack quickly escalated into the French and Indian War, which spread to Europe as the Seven Years' War. By 1763 France's empire lay in ruins and Britain was in at least theoretical control of the eastern half of North America. The newly-expanded British Empire proved too unwieldy to control, however, and 13 years later George Washington would lead colonial forces against the British in a revolt that would become known as the American Revolution.
--Fred Anderson, Crucible of War