Manuscripts and Special Collections


Year Date Event 
1760   George II succeeded by King George III
1764-1770   American colonists boycott English goods in opposition to Britain’s taxation policies
1773 December 16 ‘Boston Tea Party’: activists throw tea chests from ships moored in Boston harbour in protest at duties imposed on tea
1774   British parliament passes various Coercive Acts aimed at restoring order in the American colonies.


First Continental Congress meets in Philadelphia
1775 April 19 Exchange of gunfire between British troops and colonists at Lexington, Massachusetts, marks the start of the Revolutionary War. The British, under General Gage, destroy the colonists’ weapons at Concord, then retreat to Boston where they are besieged
  May American troops capture Fort Ticonderoga, New York.


Major General William Howe, Major General Henry Clinton and Lieutenant General John Burgoyne arrive in Boston
  June 15 Second Continental Congress at Philadelphia appoints George Washington as general of the Continental Army
  June 17 Battle of Bunker Hill near Boston
1776 March American troops take the Dorchester Peninsula.


The British evacuate Boston for Halifax, Nova Scotia
  May France and Spain offer assistance to the Americans
  June Clinton’s attack on Charlestown, South Carolina, is defeated.


Massive British naval force gathers at New York
  July 4 Declaration of Independence
  August 27-30 Battle of Long Island
  November Howe captures Fort Washington
  December 6 Clinton captures Newport, Rhode Island
1777 June British army under General Burgoyne takes Fort Ticonderoga on Lake Champlain
  August 16 Battle of Bennington
  September Howe captures Philadelphia
  October Burgoyne defeated at the Battle of Saratoga.


France recognises America’s independence
1778 February France signs the Treaty of Alliance with the Americans
  May 8 Clinton replaces Howe as Commander-in-Chief of the British forces in America
  June Clinton evacuates the army from Philadelphia in order to reinforce New York
  June 28 Battle of Monmouth, N.J.
  July France declares war on Britain. French naval fleet arrives under Admiral D’Estaign
  December British troops capture Savannah, Georgia
1779 September-October Siege of Savannah. Americans suffer large number of casualties
  December 29 Clinton’s army leaves New York for Charlestown, South Carolina, arriving in the area in February 1780
1780 May 12 Clinton captures Charlestown after a three month campaign
  June 5 Clinton leaves Charlestown for New York; leaves General Charles Cornwallis in charge in South Carolina
  July French troops under Count de Rochambeau arrive at Newport, Rhode Island
  August 16 General Cornwallis’s troops defeat the Americans at the Battle of Camden, South Carolina
  October 7 British defeated at the Battle of King’s Mountain
1781 January 17 British defeated at the Battle of Cowpens
  March Skirmish between Cornwallis’s troops and those of General Lafayette. Cornwallis moves towards Virginia
  May American and French commanders agree on an assault against New York
  August Cornwallis arrives at Yorktown, Virginia
  September 5 British naval defeat at the Battle of the Chesapeake Capes. French fleet under de Grasse blockades Cornwallis at Yorktown
  October 19 Cornwallis surrenders at Yorktown
  October 24 Clinton arrives off the Chesapeake
1782 February The British Parliament votes against further war in America
  March Lord North resigns as Prime Minister. The new Prime Minister, Lord Rockingham, opens peace negotiations with America
  May Clinton replaced as Commander-in-Chief by Sir Guy Carleton
  November 30 Preliminary peace treaty signed
1783 September 3 Treaty of Paris brings an end to the war. Britain recognizes America as an independent country


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Manuscripts and Special Collections

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