Today's Article - American Revolutionary War

This article is for quizzes on Wednesday July 1st, 2015...

The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) was the armed conflict between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen of its former North American colonies, which had declared themselves the independent United States of America. Early fighting took place primarily on the North American continent. In 1778 France, eager for revenge after its defeat in 1763, signed an alliance with the new nation. The conflict then escalated into a world war with Britain combating France, Spain, and the Netherlands. Contemporaneous fighting also broke out in India between the British East India Company and the French allied Kingdom of Mysore.
France, Spain and the Dutch Republic began supplying the North American colonists with money and arms in the spring of 1776, mainly through the Dutch East Indies. In July 1776, the Continental Congress formally declared independence. The British were meanwhile mustering forces to suppress the revolt. Sir William Howe outmaneuvered and defeated Washington, capturing New York City and New Jersey. Washington was able to capture a Hessian detachment at Trenton and drive the British out of most of New Jersey. In 1777 Howe's army launched a campaign against the national capital at Philadelphia, failing to aid Burgoyne's separate invasion force from Canada. Burgoyne's army was trapped and surrendered after the Battles of Saratoga in October 1777. This American victory encouraged France to enter the war in 1778, followed by its ally Spain in 1779.

In 1778, having failed in the northern states, the British shifted strategy toward the southern colonies, where they planned to enlist many Loyalist regiments. British forces had initial success in bringing Georgia and South Carolina under control in 1779 and 1780, but the Loyalist surge was far weaker than expected. In 1781 British forces moved through Virginia, but their escape was blocked by a French naval victory. Washington took control of a Franco-American siege at Yorktown and captured the entire British force of over 7,000 men. The defeat at Yorktown finally turned the British Parliament against the war. The war at sea continued, and the British Navy scored key victories, especially the Battle of the Saintes in 1782. In 1783, the Treaty of Paris ended the war and recognized the sovereignty of the United States over the territory bounded roughly by what is now Canada to the north, Florida to the south, and the Mississippi River to the west. France gained its revenge and little else except a heavy national debt, while Spain picked up Britain's Florida colonies.


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