1. The French & Indian War (1754–1763), the North American part of the worldwide Seven Years War, made Great Britain the dominant power in eastern North America, but also left the country with high debts. Hence, the British government passed several acts on the colonies imposing taxes on, among other things, tea and paper. Also, the Quartering act compelled Colonists to provide British soldiers with any needed housing or food.
2. These acts led to resistance among the Colonists and the building of an opposition against the British suppressors. Acts were disobeyed and the import of British goods were boycotted. In the line of the European Enlightenment movement, rebels plead for democracy, liberalism and a republic instead of being part of the British monarchy.
3. The Colonists didn't accept the British monopoly position and started to boycott the British tea that was imported to the American colonies. The 1773 Tea Act was a reaction on this boycott: it granted the British East India Company the right to import its tea to North America duty-free. But the colonies kept refusing the British tea. On December 16, 1773, a group of men calling themselves "Sons of Liberty", dress themselves as Mohawk Indians and destroyed the entire load of the tea ships that were to enter Boston. The "Boston Tea Party" is seen as the symbolic start of the War of Independence.
4. Representatives from twelve of the thirteen Colonies come together in 1774 in a first Continental Congress and start making plans to boycot other British goods as well, and to disobey the other laws British Parliament imposed on them.
5. Just like in Europe, philosophers had lots of influence in the uprising. Thomas Paine's pamphlet "Common Sense" from 1776 inspired people in the Colonies to declare and fight for independence from Great Britain.
6. The British army based in Boston got notice of a large revolutionary arms storage in the nearby town of Concord. British troops want to ride to Concord in order to take away those weapons. But the plan leaks, and when the troops are marching towards Concord, minutemen had had enough time to mobilize and face the British army. The alarm is sounded to warn the neighbor town Lexington. Though Lexington is outnumbered by the British troops, the Colonist win the battle in Concord.
7. Minutemen were private Colonists independent of the official army. They were self-trained in weaponry, tactics and military strategies. There names derives from the fact they could be ready to fight in a minute's notice.
8. On the 4th of July, 1776, the Declaration of Independence is signed by the so-called Founding Fathers, among whom are John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. In this Declaration the Thirteen Colonies announce that they now regard themselves as independent states, no longer a part of the British Empire. Except for an independency announcement, the declaration holds 'self-evident truths', such as human rights of equality, liberty and happiness. The United States of America are born.
9. The Thirteen Colonies that now had themselves declared independent. The colonies could be divided into three bigger areas: the people from the rocky North lived from fishing and trade. People from the North were rather puritanical. The middle colonies were more modern and liberal, especially New York already was a multicultural trading city. In the southern states, the soil was most fertile. In those states, there were many rice and tobacco plantations, were many African slaves were hold.
10. But the British of course did not accept the Declaration of July 4th so easily and tried to regain the Colonies. The first major battle was fought on August 27 at Brooklyn Heights. The Continental Army under General George Washington had to retreat after just a couple of days, which gave the British control of the strategically important city of New York. Washington could successfully evacuate American artillery, supplies, and every single man of his troops through the East River.
11. Many large and smaller battles followed. The British surrender in the battle of Saratoga was a turning point in the war. France, that had already supported the Americans with arms and supplies, signed a Treaty of Alliance and officially recognized the United States as an independent nation. Only four days after, Great Britain declared war on France, and the American Revolutionary War became an international war.
12. The Franco-American Alliance was the beginning of the end for the British troops. Weakened by many lost men, financial problems and confronted with other wars in Europe - the French, Spanish and Dutch were at war with Britain by 1780 -, Britain lost its focus on fighting the American revolutionaries. The British position got even weaker when an army of 5,000 Frenchmen landed in Rhode Island in 1780.
13, The Battle of Yorktown ended in October 1781 with a decisive victory by a combined force of American troops led by General George Washington and French Army troops over the British army. This siege was the last major land battle of the war. After the surrender of General Cornwallis's army, the British government pandered to negotiate an end to the conflict.
14. The negotiations started, but naval battles between Great Britain on the one side and France, Spain and The Netherlands on the other side around in the Indian Ocean, the Caribbean and Central America continued until 1783.
15. The negotiations for peace lasted almost two years. On the 3rd of September, 1783, King George III and representatives of the United States, including John Adams and Benjamin Franklin, signed a treaty in Paris that finally ended the war.
16. The thirteen colonies were now recognized as being independent, but had no common government yet. It took four years before the United States Constitution was accepted by all colonies. In 1789, George Washington, was the first president elected under the new constitution.