Portal:American Revolutionary War

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The American Revolutionary War Portal

Clockwise from top left: Battle of Bunker Hill, Death of Montgomery at Quebec, Battle of Cowpens, "Moonlight Battle"
The American Revolutionary War began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen united former British colonies on the North American continent, and ended in a global war between several European great powers. The war was the culmination of the political American Revolution and intellectual American Enlightenment, whereby the colonists rejected the right of the Parliament of Great Britain to govern them without representation. In 1775, revolutionaries gained control of each of the thirteen colonial governments, set up an alliance called the Second Continental Congress, and formed a Continental Army. Petitions to the king to intervene with the parliament on their behalf resulted in Congress being declared traitors and the states in rebellion the following year. The Americans responded by formally declaring their independence as a new nation, the United States of America, claiming sovereignty and rejecting any allegiance to the British monarchy. In 1777 the Continentals captured a British army, leading to France entering the war on the side of the Americans in early 1778, and evening the military strength with Britain. Spain and the Dutch Republic – French allies – also went to war with Britain over the next two years.

Throughout the war, the British were able to use their naval superiority to capture and occupy coastal cities, but control of the countryside (where 90% of the population lived) largely eluded them due to their relatively small land army. French involvement proved decisive, with a French naval victory in the Chesapeake leading to the surrender of a second British army at Yorktown in 1781; in 1783, the Treaty of Paris ended the war and recognized the sovereignty of the United States over the territory bounded by what is now Canada to the north, Florida to the south, and the Mississippi River to the west.

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Battle of Lexington, 1775.png
The Battles of Lexington and Concord were the first military engagements of the American Revolutionary War. They were fought on April 19, 1775, in Middlesex County, Province of Massachusetts Bay, within the towns of Lexington, Concord, Lincoln, Menotomy (present-day Arlington), and Cambridge, near Boston. The battles marked the outbreak of open armed conflict between the Kingdom of Great Britain and its thirteen colonies in the mainland of British North America.

About 700 British Army regulars were ordered to capture and destroy military supplies that were reportedly stored by the Massachusetts militia at Concord. The first shots were fired just as the sun was rising at Lexington, the militia were outnumbered and fell back. Other colonists, hours later at the North Bridge in Concord, fought and defeated three companies of the king's troops. Outnumbered, soldiers of the British Army fell back from the Minutemen after a pitched battle in open territory. More Minutemen arrived soon thereafter and inflicted heavy damage on the British regulars as they marched back towards Boston.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, in his Concord Hymn described the first shot fired by the Patriots at the North Bridge as the "shot heard 'round the world".


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Declaration of Independence (1819), by John Trumbull.jpg
Declaration of Independence
Credit: John Trumbull

The United States Declaration of Independence is a statement adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, which announced that the thirteen American colonies then at war with Great Britain were now independent states, and thus no longer a part of the British Empire. Written primarily by Thomas Jefferson, the Declaration is a formal explanation of why Congress had voted on July 2 to declare independence from Great Britain, more than a year after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War. The birthday of the United States of AmericaIndependence Day—is celebrated on July 4, the day the wording of the Declaration was approved by Congress.

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Unfinished portrait of Daniel Boone by Chester Harding 1820.jpg
Daniel Boone (November 2 [O.S. October 22] 1734 – September 26 1820) was an American pioneer and hunter whose frontier exploits made him one of the first folk heroes of the United States. Boone is most famous for his exploration and settlement of what is now the U.S. state of Kentucky, which was then beyond the western borders of the Thirteen Colonies. Despite resistance from American Indians, for whom Kentucky was a traditional hunting ground, in 1775 Boone blazed the Wilderness Road through the Cumberland Gap and into Kentucky. There he founded Boonesborough, one of the first English-speaking settlements beyond the Appalachian Mountains, before the end of the 18th century, more than 200,000 people entered Kentucky by following the route marked by Boone.

Boone was a militia officer during the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), which in Kentucky was fought primarily between settlers and British-allied American Indians. Boone was captured by Shawnees in 1778 and adopted into the tribe, but he escaped and continued to help defend the Kentucky settlements, he was elected to the first of his three terms in the Virginia General Assembly during the war, and fought in the Battle of Blue Licks in 1782, one of the last battles of the American Revolution. Boone worked as a surveyor and merchant after the war, but he went deep into debt as a Kentucky land speculator. Frustrated with legal problems resulting from his land claims, in 1799 Boone resettled in Missouri, where he spent his final years.

Boone remains an iconic, if imperfectly remembered, figure in American history, he was a legend in his own lifetime, especially after an account of his adventures was published in 1784, making him famous in America and Europe. After his death, he was frequently the subject of tall tales and works of fiction, his adventures—real and legendary—were influential in creating the archetypal Western hero of American folklore. In American popular culture, he is remembered as one of the foremost early frontiersmen, even though the mythology often overshadows the historical details of his life.


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The Romney breaking up in 1804
HMS Romney was a 50-gun fourth rate of the Royal Navy. Launched in 1762, the Romney spent most of her early career in North American waters, serving on the Newfoundland station, often as the flagship of the commander-in-chief. The ship was involved in the tensions of the American Revolution when she was sent to support the Boston commissioners enforcing the Townshend Acts in 1768. Her actions involved impressing local sailors, confiscating the merchant ship Liberty (a vessel belonging to John Hancock), and providing a refuge for the unpopular commissioners when rioting broke out after the seizure, she was active in the American War of Independence, serving in European waters from 1779. She assisted in the defense of the British Isles against a planned Franco-Spanish invasion, assisted in the capture of a Spanish frigate, and participated in the inconclusive 1781 Battle of Porto Praya. She later served in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars in a career that spanned forty years, finally breaking up after running aground off the Dutch coast in 1804.


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