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.
(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.
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