Open main menu

Wikipedia β

Portal:American Revolutionary War

Introduction

AmericanRevolutionaryWarMon.jpg

The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the American War of Independence, was a global war that began as a conflict between Great Britain and its Thirteen Colonies which declared independence as the United States of America.

After 1765, growing philosophical and political differences strained the relationship between Great Britain and its colonies. Patriot protests against taxation without representation followed the Stamp Act and escalated into boycotts, which culminated in 1773 with the Sons of Liberty destroying a shipment of tea in Boston Harbor. Britain responded by closing Boston Harbor and passing a series of punitive measures against Massachusetts Bay Colony. Massachusetts colonists responded with the Suffolk Resolves, and they established a shadow government which wrested control of the countryside from the Crown. Twelve colonies formed a Continental Congress to coordinate their resistance, establishing committees and conventions that effectively seized power.

British attempts to disarm the Massachusetts militia in Concord led to open combat on April 19, 1775. Militia forces then besieged Boston, forcing a British evacuation in March 1776, and Congress appointed George Washington to command the Continental Army. Concurrently, an American attempt to invade Quebec and raise rebellion against the British failed decisively. On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress voted for independence, issuing its declaration on July 4. Sir William Howe launched a British counter-offensive, capturing New York City and leaving American morale at a low ebb. However, victories at Trenton and Princeton restored American confidence. In 1777, the British launched an invasion from Quebec under John Burgoyne, intending to isolate the New England Colonies. Instead of assisting this effort, Howe took his army on a separate campaign against Philadelphia, and Burgoyne was decisively defeated at Saratoga in October 1777.

Burgoyne's defeat had drastic consequences. France formally allied with the Americans and entered the war in 1778, and Spain joined the war the following year as an ally of France but not as an ally of the United States. In 1780, the Kingdom of Mysore attacked the British in India, and tensions between Great Britain and the Netherlands erupted into open war. In North America, the British mounted a "Southern strategy" led by Charles Cornwallis which hinged upon a Loyalist uprising, but too few came forward. Cornwallis suffered reversals at King's Mountain and Cowpens. He retreated to Yorktown, Virginia, intending an evacuation, but a decisive French naval victory deprived him of an escape. A Franco-American army led by the Comte de Rochambeau and Washington then besieged Cornwallis' army and, with no sign of relief, he surrendered in October 1781.

Selected event

The French battleships Ville de Paris and Auguste, in the "Second Battle of the Virginia Capes", September 1781
The Battle of the Chesapeake, also known as the Battle of the Virginia Capes or simply the Battle of the Capes, was a crucial naval battle in the American Revolutionary War which took place near the mouth of Chesapeake Bay on September 5, 1781, between a British fleet led by Rear-Admiral Sir Thomas Graves and a French fleet led by Rear-Admiral Comte de Grasse. It was, in strategic terms, a major defeat for the Royal Navy.

The victory by the French fleet prevented the Royal Navy from resupplying the forces of General Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown, Virginia. It also prevented interference with the supply of troops and provisions from New York to the armies of George Washington through Chesapeake Bay. As a result, Cornwallis surrendered after the siege of Yorktown, and Great Britain later recognized the independence of the United States of America.


Featured content


Featured articles
Featured lists
A-Class articles

Selected image

Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Leutze, MMA-NYC, 1851.jpg
Washington Crossing the Delaware (1851)
Credit: Emanuel Leutze
On the night of December 25–26, 1776, George Washington led a force of 2,400 across the Delaware River which surprised and captured the Hessian force located at Trenton, New Jersey

Selected biography

Portrait by John Singleton Copley
Thomas Gage (1719 or 1720 – 2 April 1787) was a British general who was the commander in chief of British forces in the early days of the American War of Independence.

Born to an aristocratic family in England, he entered military service, seeing action in the French and Indian War, where he served alongside future opponent George Washington in the 1755 Battle of the Monongahela. After the fall of Montreal in 1760, he was named its military governor. During this time he did not distinguish himself militarily, but proved himself to be a competent administrator.

From 1763 to 1775 he served as commander-in-chief of the British forces in North America, overseeing the British response to the 1763 Pontiac's Rebellion. In 1774 he was also appointed the military governor of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, with instructions to implement the Intolerable Acts, punishing Massachusetts for the Boston Tea Party. His attempts to seize military stores of Patriot militias in April 1775 sparked the Battles of Lexington and Concord, beginning the American War of Independence. After the Pyrrhic victory in the June Battle of Bunker Hill he was replaced by General William Howe in October 1775, and returned to Britain, playing no further major role in the war.


Selected ships and units

Philadelphia on display at the National Museum of American History
Philadelphia was a gunboat (referred to in contemporary documents as a gundalow or gondola) of the Continental Navy. Manned by Continental Army soldiers, she was part of a fleet which, under the command of General Benedict Arnold, fought in the Battle of Valcour Island against a larger Royal Navy fleet on Lake Champlain in October 1776. Although many of the American boats in the battle were damaged in the October 11 battle, Philadelphia was one of the few that actually sank that day. In 1935 amateur military marine archaeologist Lorenzo Hagglund located her remains standing upright at the bottom of Lake Champlain, and had her raised. Bequeathed to the Smithsonian Institution in 1961, Philadelphia and associated artifacts are part of the permanent collection of the National Museum of American History, in Washington, D.C. She is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a National Historic Landmark.


Things you can do

From the American Revolutionary War task force of the Military history WikiProject:

Attention needed
...to referencing and citation  • ...to coverage and accuracy  • ...to structure  • ...to grammar  • ...to supporting materials 
Popular pages
Full list
Cleanup needed
Add an article here!
Requested articles 
Quebec in the American Revolution
Expansion needed
many existing "<State> in/during the American Revolution" articles
Images needed
1780 Black Camp RebellionAlbemarle BarracksBattle of Lenud's FerryBattle of Wetzell's MillCarleton's RaidCortlandt SkinnerDaniel Waters (minuteman)Fort DaytonFort Independence (Vermont)HM galley PigotJohn Swift (general)King's Royal Regiment of New YorkMatthias OgdenSamuel Holden ParsonsVolunteers of Ireland
Merging needed
Add an article here!
Citations needed
Battle of Monmouth • Battles in {{Campaignbox American Revolutionary War: Gulf Coast}}
Translation needed 
Add an article here!

Categories

Category puzzle
Select [►] to view subcategories

Major topics

Related content

Associated Wikimedia

The following Wikimedia Foundation sister projects provide more on this subject:

Wikibooks
Books

Commons
Media

Wikinews 
News

Wikiquote 
Quotations

Wikisource 
Texts

Wikiversity
Learning resources

Wiktionary 
Definitions

Wikidata 
Database