Was the Seven Years' War the actual First World War?

Maybe they were "skirmishes" by European standards, but not by standards of the colonies at that time. At the start of the War of Spanish Succession there were only ca. 300,000 white and black people living in European colonies in North America* (the majority in English colonies). Native American tribes were also not exactly very numerous, for example the Iroquois Confederation numbered 70,000 people in 1690:


So even a "skirmish" involving a few thousand men on each side was large by North American standards of the 1700s.

*Only counting those in colonies to the north of Rio Grande (excluding Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean).

This low population of North America in the 1700s is actually one of the main reasons why the conflicts happening there were minor and why that also does not qualify the Wars of Spanish/Austrian Successions as World Wars. Furthermore these skirmishes did not have any real impact on the course of events of these two wars in Europe. They just happened during the same period, but had little to do with the matter of Spanish or Austrian succession, which was the cause of the war. I suppose that the Iroquois had little idea of where Spain was, and may never have heard of the House of Habsburg.

War of the Spanish Succession and War of the Austrian Succession were world wars. They were not fought just in Europe.

War of the Spanish Succesion was fought in:

Europe - Low Countries, Italy, Hungary, Spain and Portugal
North America - Spanish Florida, West Indies, Thirteen Colonies and Newfoundland
Asia - India, East Indies
Africa - West Africa

The North American Theatre of that war is known as Queen Anne's War - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen_Anne's_War

As Wikipedia states about Queen Anne's War:

"In Europe, it is generally viewed as the American theater of the War of the Spanish Succession; in the Americas, it is more commonly viewed as a standalone conflict. It is also known as the Third Indian War. In France it was known as the Second Intercolonial War."

Personally I would rather regard it as a separate war as it was mostly a conflict between France and Britain, with their respective Amerindian allies, for colonies in North America. It had nothing to do with the Spanish succession. The two wars just happened to coincide in time.

In any case, the main reason why I don't view the War of the Spanish or Austrian Succession as World Wars is that almost all the belligerents were European (if we exclude that IMO unrelated Third Indian War). In contrast the Dutch-Portuguese War involved the Kingdom of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, the Kingdom of Cochin in India, two Sri Lanka kingdoms, the Ayutthaya Kingdom (Thailand), the Johor Sultanate in Malaysia, Ming China, and so on. This was far more than a European war. Ditto for the Seven Years' War.

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