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Revolutionary War Timeline

By Family Tree Editors Premium

1773

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  • Boston citizens protest the Tea Act by dumping tons of tea into Boston Harbor

1774

  • British Parliament passes the “Intolerable Acts”
  • First Continental Congress meets in Philadelphia
  • The Royal American magazine, the first periodical to regularly use engraved illustrations, begins publication with contributions from Paul Revere

1775

  • Patrick Henry proclaims, “Give me liberty or give me death”
  • “The Shot Heard ‘Round the World” is fired as Colonists engage the British in the Battles of Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts
  • George Washington named commander of the Continental army
  • Congress establishes a postal service, naming Benjamin Franklin postmaster general
  • British triumph at the Battle of Bunker Hill

1776

  • Rhode Island declares independence from Great Britain on May 4
  • Congress approves the Declaration of Independence

1777

  • The Stars and Stripes becomes the official flag June 14
  • Washington sets up a winter encampment at Valley Forge, Pa.

1778

  • France acknowledges American independence

1779

  • John Paul Jones vows, “I have not yet begun to fight,” and defeats the British frigate Serapis

1780

  • Gen. Benedict Arnold flees the Colonies after being discovered as a traitor

1781

  • At Yorktown, Gen. Charles Cornwallis surrenders to Washington
  • Articles of Confederation ratified

1782

  • The Purple Heart, known as the Badge of Military Merit, is America’s first military medal
  • Virginia legislation makes it legal for any man “to emancipate and set free his slaves”

1783

  • Treaty of Paris with Great Britain recognizes American independence
  • First daily newspaper in America, The Pennsylvania Evening Post, begins publication
  • Noah Webster publishes the American Spelling Book
  • US population is 2.4 million

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