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Word Count: 767
The eldest of six children from his fathers second marriage George Washington was born into the landed gentry in 1732 at Wakefield Plantation VA Until reaching 16 years of age he lived there and at other plantations along the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers including the one that later became known as Mount Vernon His education was rudimentary probably being obtained from tutors but possibly also from private schools and he learned surveying After he lost his father when he was 11 years old his half-brother Lawrence who had served in the Royal Navy acted as his mentor As a result the youth acquired an interest in pursuing a naval career but his mother discouraged him from doing so At the age of 16 in 1748 Washington joined a surveying party sent out to the Shenandoah Valley by Lord Fairfax a land baron For the next few years Washington conducted surveys in Virginia and present West Virginia and gained a lifetime interest in the West In 1751-52 he also accompanied Lawrence on a visit he made to Barbados West Indies for health reasons just before his death The next year Washington began his military career when the royal governor appointed him to an adjutantship in the militia as a major That same year as a gubernatorial emissary accompanied by a guide he traveled to Fort Le Boeuf PA in the Ohio River Valley and delivered to French authorities an ultimatum to cease fortification and settlement in English territory During the trip he tried to better British relations with various Indian tribes In 1754 winning the rank of lieutenant colonel and then colonel in the militia Washington led a force that sought to challenge French control of the Ohio River Valley but met defeat at Fort Necessity PA - an event that helped trigger the French and Indian War 1754-63 Late in 1754 irked by the dilution of his rank because of the pending
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