Revolutionary War

Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff


  • U.S. troops engaged: 217,000
  • American battle deaths: 4,435
  • The 13 American colonies fought for independence from British rule to become the United States.
  • Colonists were frustrated because Britain forced them to pay taxes, yet did not give them any representation in the British Parliament. Colonists rallied behind the phrase, “no taxation without representation.”
  • The first shots rang out on the morning of April 19, 1775 in Lexington, Mass.
  • At the Battle of Bunker Hill, colonial officer William Prescott ordered, “Do not fire until you see the whites of their eyes!” His troops had the courage and discipline to hold their fire until the enemy was near, an early sign that the rag-tag American army had a chance at defeating the well-trained, well-armed British troops.
  • Congress chose George Washington as commander and chief of America's armed forces.
  • The Battle of Saratoga was the first great American victory of the war and is widely believed to have been the turning point that led America to triumph over Britain.
  • The Treaty of Paris was signed in 1783, and Great Britain acknowledged America's independence. The treaty established a northern boundary with Canada and set the Mississippi River as the western boundary.


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