Timeline for American Independence (Short Version)
French and Indian War.
Sugar Act. Parliament taxes sugar.
Stamp Act. Parliament taxes magazines, newspapers, and other documents.
Parliament repeals the Stamp Act.
Townshend Revenue Act. Parliament taxes many items.
Boston Massacre. British troops fire on a crowd, killing five colonists.

Tea Act. Parliament says only one British company may import tea.

Boston Tea Party. Outraged by the Tea Act, some colonists dump British tea into the harbor.


Angered by the Tea Party, in 1774, Parliament passes a series of laws. Americans call them the Intolerable Acts.

First Continental Congress. It meets in Philadelphia with every colony, except Georgia, sending delegates.


Virginian Patrick Henry delivers a speech favoring independence. He says, “Give me liberty or give me death!”

Rides of Paul Revere and William Dawes. At night, the two men ride from Boston to warn colonists that British troops are coming.

First battle of the Revolutionary War. Americans and British troops open fire at Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts. “The shot heard ’round the world.”

Second Continental Congress. It meets in Philadelphia.

Congress names George Washington commander in chief of the Continental Army.

Battle of Bunker Hill (Breed’s Hill), Boston. The first major battle between British and American troops.


Declaration of Independence. Congress votes to adopt the declaration.

Caught spying on the British, Nathan Hale is hanged. His last words are “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”

Battle of Trenton, N.J. Washington crosses the Delaware River and launches a surprise attack on British troops, who surrender quickly.


Flag Resolution. Congress adopts the U.S. flag. It has 13 stars and 13 white and red stripes.

Second Battle of Saratoga, N.Y. Americans defeat the British. Ten days later, more than 5,000 British troops surrender.

Valley Forge. Washington’s army begins its long winter stay at Valley Forge.

France declares war on Britain.
In a sea battle, Captain John Paul Jones meets a larger British ship. When the British demand that he surrender, he responds, “I have not yet begun to fight!” Jones captures the British ship before his own ship sinks.
Last Major Battle of the Revolutionary War. British General Cornwallis surrenders at Yorktown, Virginia.
U.S. and Britain sign the Treaty of Paris.
Congress ratifies the Treaty of Paris. The Revolutionary War officially ends.
U.S. Constitution. The Constitutional Convention approves the new U.S. Constitution.
First President. George Washington starts in office.
Bill of Rights. The first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution are ratified.
50th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Founders Thomas Jefferson and John Adams die. Adams’ last words are, “Thomas Jefferson lives.”
100th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.
Statue of Liberty. A gift from France, the statue stands on Liberty Island in New York Harbor.
 200th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.



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