American Revolution Timelime

Signing of the Treaty of Paris

  • Ending the Seven Year’s War, also known as the French and Indian War in North America. France ceded all mainland North American territories, except New Orleans, in order to retain her Caribbean sugar islands. Britain gained all territory east of the Mississippi River; Spain kept territory west of the Mississippi, but exchanged East and West Florida for Cuba.

Proclamation of 1763
Wary of the cost o
f defending the colonies, George III prohibited all settlement west of the Appalachian mountains without guarantees of security from local Native American nations. The intervention in colonial affairs offended the thirteen colonies' claim to the exclusive right to govern st.

       Sugar ActThe first attempt to finance the defense of the colonies by the British Government. In order to deter smuggling and to encourage the production of British rum, taxes on molasses were dropped; a levy was placed on foreign Madeira wine and colonial exports of iron, lumber and other goods had to pass first through Britain and British customs. The Act established a Vice-Admiralty Court in Halifax, Nova Scotia to hear smuggling cases without jury and with the presumption of guilt. These measures led to widespread protest.1765
22 March

      Stamp Act  Seeking to defray some of the costs of garrisoning the colonies, Parliament required all legal documents, newspapers and pamphlets required to use watermarked, or 'stamped' paper on which a levy was placed.176515 May
Quartering ActColonial assemblies required to pay for supplies to British garrisons. The New York assembly argued that it could not be forced to comply.176530 May
Virginian ResolutionThe Virginian assembly refused to comply with the Stamp Act.17657-25 October
Stamp Act CongressRepresentatives from nine of the thirteen colonies declare the Stamp Act unconstitutional as it was a tax levied without their consent.1766
18 March
Declaratory Act
Parliament finalizes the repeal of the Stamp Act, but declares that it has the right to tax colonies176729 June
Townshend Revenue Act (Townshend Duties)Duties on tea, glass, lead, paper and paint to help pay for the administration of the colonies, named after Charles Townshend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer. John Dickinson publishes Letter from a Philadelphian Farmer in protest. Colonial assemblies condemn taxation without representation.17681 OctoberBritish troops arrive in Boston in response to political unrest. 17705 March

Boston MassacreAngered by the presence of troops and Britain's colonial policy, a crowd began harassing a group of soldiers guarding the customs house; a soldier was knocked down by a snowball and discharged his musket, sparking a volley into the crowd which kills five civilians.

12 April
Repeal of the Townshend Revenue Act1772
10 June
Burning of the Gaspee, The revenue schooner Gaspee ran aground near Providence, Rhode Island and was burnt by locals angered by the enforcement of trade legislation.1773

Publication of Thomas Hutchinson lettersIn these letters, Hutchinson, the Massachusetts governor, advocated a 'great restraint of natural liberty', convincing many colonists of a planned British clamp-down on their freedoms.177310 May
Tea ActIn an effort to support the ailing East India Company, Parliament exempted its tea from import duties and allowed the Company to sell its tea directly to the colonies. Americans resented what they saw as an indirect tax subsidizing a British company.1773
16 December

Boston Tea PartyAngered by the Tea Acts, American patriots disguised as Mohawk Indians dump £9,000 of East India Company tea into the Boston harbor.

May to June Intolerable Acts
Four measures which stripped Massachusetts of self-government and judicial independence following the Boston Tea Party. The colonies responded with a general boycott of British goods.1774
SeptemberContinental Congress
Colonial delegates meet to organize opposition to the Intolerable Acts.177519 April
Battles of Lexington and ConcordFirst engagements of the Revolutionary War between British troops and the Minutemen, who had been warned of the attack by Paul Revere.1775
16 JuneContinental Congress appoints George Washington commander-in-chief of Continental Army; issued $2 million bills of credit to fund the army.1775
17 JuneBattle of Bunker Hill

The first major battle of the War of Independence. Sir William Howe dislodged William Prescott's forces overlooking Boston at a cost of 1054 British casualties to the Americans' 367.17755 July Olive-Brach Petition
Congress endorses a proposal asking for recognition of American rights, the ending of the Intolerable Acts in exchange for a cease fire. George III rejected the proposal and on 23 August 1775 declared the colonies to be in open rebellion.1776
9 January
Thomas Paine's Common Sense published anonymously in Philadelphia17762 May
France provides covert aid to the Americans1776
4 July
Continental Congress issues the Declaration of Independence1775-1776Winter
Invasion of Canada by Benedict Arnold1776
August - December
Battles of Long Island and White Plains
British forces occupy New York after American defeats.1776 26 December
Battle of Trenton, New Jersey, providing a boast to American morale.1777
2-3 January
Battle of Princeton, New Jersey.
General Washington broke camp at Trenton to avoid a British advance, attacking the British rearguard and train near Princeton and then withdrawing to Morristown.177713 October
British surrender of 5,700 troops at Saratoga.
Lacking supplies, 5,700 British, German and loyalist forces under Major General John Burgoyne surrender to Major General Horatio Gates in a turning point in the Revolutionary War.1778
6 FebruaryFrance recognizes US Independence.178016 AugustUS Defeat at battle of Camden1781
1 MarchRatification of the Articles of Confederation1781
5 SeptemberBattle of the Capes, denying British reinforcements or evacuation.178118 OctoberSurrender of British forces under Cornwallis at Yorktown.1782
5 MarchBritish Government authorizes peace negotiations.17833 SeptemberTreaty of Paris, formally ending the Revolutionary War1786-1787Shays’s Rebellion
Massachusetts rebellion led by the Revolutionary War veteran Daniel Shays against high taxes.1787
25 MayConstitutional Convention1787Adoption of the American Constitution

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