The American Revolution – When and Where Did It Really Start and End?

What we know as the American Revolution began less than a decade after the Seven Years War ended in 1763. Defeating France, Spain, Russia, Sweden and Russia emptied the British treasury.  We know the North American theater of this global war as the French and Indian War.

 To help pay its debts, the Stamp Act was passed in 1765requiring residents of the Thirteen Colonies to use paper with an embossed Royal revenue stamp for all printed materials. Legislation such as the Tea Act in 1774 passed in May 1774 led to the Boston Tea Party on the night of December 16th, 1774.

 Most historians attribute the beginning of the war as the Battle of Lexington and Concord and skip over one battle and one thwarted raid that enabled our forefathers to face the British on April 19th,1775.

First was what historians call the Powder Alarm.  General Thomas Gage – the military governor of Massachusetts – sent troops throughout the colony to seize stores of gunpowder on September 1st, 1774. Alerted to the mission, the precious gunpowder was kept hidden from the Royal Army.

Next was the storming of Fort William and Henry outside Portsmouth, NH.  Four months before he made his famous ride to let everyone know the British are coming, Paul Revere rode from Boston to Portsmouth to tell the local militia know that the British intended to reinforce the fort.

Under John Langdon, a force of Colonials attacked the fort on December 12th, 1774.  The tiny garrison of six British soldiers fired cannons and muskets at the Americans before they were overwhelmed in hand-to-hand fighting.  The seized powder seized was put to good use in the Siege of Boston and the Battle of Bunker Hill.

The Revolutionary War pitted our forefathers against the Royal Army and Navy and was just one theater of what became a global war.  Battles took place in North and Central America, Europe, Africa and India. Ultimately, Spain and France declared war against the British and their German allies.  Thirteen Indian tribes supported the rebels and ten were allied with the British.

In what officially started on April 19th, 1775 along the road in Lexington and Concord ended when the last battle was fought between French and British ships of the Virginia coast on January 23rd1783, roughly sixteen months and four days after Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown on October 19th, 1781.  The Treaty of Paris signed on May 12th, 1784 ended the war after nine plus years.

Both sides were exhausted and broke.  The war cost the colonists approximately twenty-three thousand dead, of which seventeen thousand died of disease!

Through the treaty, we received all the British territory east of the Mississippi and south of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.  The country we know as the United States of America was born.

Marc Liebman

December 2018

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