When constructing an American Revolutionary War Timeline it is important to remember the events before the war. This was a war for independence, but prior to the war the colonists viewed themselves as British citizens, not as Americans so it is important to know the events that occurred leading up to the war.
The French and Indian War played a huge role in setting the stage for the colonies. It unified the colonies against the French and it put Great Britain in a great deal of debt. From Great Britains perspective they needed the pay off their debt and the colonies represented an income stream that was untapped so it only seemed logical that the colonies be taxed to pay off their war debt. However, the colonies believed that being taxed without any representation was signs of a dictatorship.
American Revolutionary War Timeline: 1760
- September 8: End of the French and Indian War.
- October 25: King George II dies and his son, King George III takes the throne of England.
American Revolutionary War Timeline: 1763
- February 10: Treaty of Paris is signed by the Great Britain and France. This formally ends the French and Indian War.
- No recognized date: Pontiac’s War begins when the Native Americans that allied themselves with the French resist British policies.
- October 7: King George III administers the Royal Proclamation of 1763. This creates a western boundary for the colonists of the 13 original colonies and the Native Americans.
American Revolutionary War Timeline: 1764
- April 5: Britain passes the Sugar Act and the colonists push back on the taxation.
- September 1: Currency Act was passed. This act stopped the colonists from printing paper money. It resulted in more protests by the colonists.
American Revolutionary War Timeline: 1765
- March 22: Parliament passes the Stamp Act. The Stamp Act ignites the colonies and a Stamp Act Congress is created. Patrick Henry delivered his famous “Give me liberty or give me death!” speech to the delegates.
- March 24: Parliament passes the Quartering Act which requires the colonies supply housing, food, and other provisions to British troops stationed in the colonies.
American Revolutionary War Timeline: 1766
- March 18: Due to so much opposition and protest the British repealed the Stamp Act, but, in the simultaneous Declaratory Act, asserts its “full power and authority to make laws and statutes … to bind the colonies and people of America … in all cases whatsoever.”
American Revolutionary War Timeline: 1767
- June 29: Struggling with war debt, Charles Townshend presents a series of acts to Parliament. These acts become known as the Townshend Acts. These would once again ignite a firestorm among the colonies and would begin to shift public opinion further away from the British crown.
American Revolutionary War Timeline: 1770
- January 19: Golden Hill incident occurs in New York Colony. It results in one colonist dead at the hands of British soldiers.
- January 28: Lord North becomes Prime Minister of England.
- March 5: Boston Massacre occurs. Crispus Attucks, a free black Bostonian, is killed during the event. The British soldiers are jailed and put on trial.
- October 24: Thomas Preston, British commander, is put on trial for his troops actions during the Boston Massacre. The attorney sent to defend him is the future founding father John Adams and the prosecuting attorney was Robert Treat Paine, another founding father. He and Adams would engage in a hotly contested trial. In the end the British troops were found innocent.
American Revolutionary War Timeline: 1772
- January – June: Samuel Adams organizes the committee of correspondence.
- June 9: The Gaspee Affair occurs between the Sons of Liberty and the British.
American Revolutionary War Timeline: 1773
- May 10: The Tea Act is passed by Parliament. Once again the colonists meet the act with protests.
- December 16: Colonists from the New England Colonies dress up as Indians and destroy millions of pounds in tea. The event became known as the Boston Tea Party.
American Revolutionary War Timeline: 1774
- March 31 – June 2: The Intolerable Acts were enacted.
- September 1: The Powder Alarm, General Gage’s secret raid on the Cambridge powder magazine. The raid triggered the colonists alarm system. While nothing happened this alerted Gage to the organization of the colonists and it helped the colonists work out the kinks.
- September 5: First Continental Congress meets to discuss the Intolerable Acts.
- December 22: A second Tea Party happened in Greenwich, Pennsylvania.
American Revolutionary War Timeline: 1775
- April 19: Battles of Lexington and Concord, followed by the Siege of Boston.
- April 20: Gunpowder Incident takes place in Virginia.
- May 9: Skenesboro, New York captured by Lieutenant Samuel Herrick.
- May 10: Fort Ticonderoga captured by Ethan Allen, Benedict Arnold and the Green Mountain Boys.
- June 17: Battle of Bunker Hill happens when General William Howe arrived in Boston. The British took the field, but with heavy casualties.
- May 10: The Second Continental Congress meets
- July 5: Olive Branch Petition sent to King George III
- December 5 – January 24: Henry Knox transported fifty-nine captured cannons from upstate New York to Boston, MA. Trip took 56 days to complete.
American Revolutionary War Timeline: 1776
- January 10: Thomas Paine publishes Common Sense
- March 3–4: Battle of Nassau
- March 4–5: Fortification of Dorchester Heights begins when Henry Knox brings the guns of Fort Ticonderoga to Boston.
- March 17: British evacuate Boston and move to Canada. There they begin plans to invade New York.
- June 29: Battle of Turtle Gut Inlet takes place.
- July 2: The Second Continental Congress enacts a resolution declaring independence from the British Empire
- July 4: Declaration of Independence is released.
- August 27: Battle of Long Island begins and ends in catastrophe for General George Washington and his Continental Army. British prison ships begin in Wallabout Bay, New York
- September 11: Staten Island Peace Conference
- September 15: Landing at Kip’s Bay
- September 16: Battle of Harlem Heights
- September 21 – 22: Great Fire of New York
- September 22: Nathan Hale captured and executed for espionage
- October 11: Battle of Valcour Island
- October 29: Battle of White Plains
- November 16: Battle of Fort Washington ends in disaster.
- November 20: Battle of Fort Lee
- December 23 – December 26: Battle of Iron Works Hill
- December 26: Battle of Trenton occurs and later is believed to be Washington’s greatest victory. The Hessians were defeated.
American Revolutionary War Timeline: 1777
- January 2: Second Battle of Trenton
- January 3: Battle of Princeton
- January – March: Forage War
- April 13: Battle of Bound Brook
- May 28 – July 2: Middlebrook encampment
- June 26: Battle of Short Hills
- July 5: Fort Ticonderoga abandoned by the Americans due to advancing British troops placing cannon on Mount Defiance.
- July 6: British retake Fort Ticonderoga.
- July 7: Battle of Hubbardton
- July 8: Delegates in Vermont, which was not one of the 13 Original Colonies, establish a republic and adopt a constitution the first in what is now the territory of the United States to prohibit slavery.
- August 6: Battle of Oriskany
- August 16: Battle of Bennington
- September 11: Battle of Brandywine
- September 20: Battle of Paoli
- September 26: British occupation of Philadelphia
- October 4: Battle of Germantown
- September 19 – October 7: The Continental Army wins the Battle of Saratoga with heroics from Benedict Arnold. Burgoyne surrenders his sword to Horatio Gates.
- October 22: Battle of Red Bank
- November 15: Articles of Confederation adopted by the Second Continental Congress
- November 16 – 18: Capture of Fort Mifflin and Fort Mercer
- December 5 – 8: Battle of White Marsh
- December 11: Battle of Matson’s Ford
- December 19 – June 19: Continental Army in winter quarters at Valley Forge. Baron Von Steuben arrives and trains the Continental Army in European Warfare.
American Revolutionary War Timeline: 1778
- February 6: Treaty of Amity and Commerce and Treaty of Alliance with France
- May 20: Battle of Barren Hill
- June: British leave Philadelphia.
- June 28: Battle of Monmouth
- December 28: Capture of Savannah
- November 30 – June 3: Continental Army in winter quarters at Middlebrook encampment
- American Revolutionary War Timeline: 1779
- February 23–25: Siege of Fort Vincennes
- July 16: Battle of Stony Point
- August 19: Battle of Paulus Hook
- December–May: Continental Army in winter quarters at Morristown
American Revolutionary War Timeline: 1780
- January 15: Congress establishes the Court of Appeals in Cases of Capture to provide for final adjudication of appeals from state court prize cases involving disposition of ships and cargo allegedly seized from the British.
- January 28: A stockade known as Fort Nashborough is founded on the banks of the Cumberland River. Two years later the site is renamed Nashville.
- February 1: Some 8,000 British forces under General Henry Clinton arrive in Charleston, South Carolina Colony, from New York.
- March 14: Bombardment of Fort Charlotte: After a two-week siege, Spanish general, colonial governor of Louisiana, and Viceroy of New Spain Bernardo de Gálvez captures Fort Charlotte, taking the port of Mobile from the British. Fort Charlotte was the last remaining British frontier post capable of threatening New Orleans in Spanish Louisiana. Its fall drove the British from the western reaches of West Florida and reduced the British military presence in West Florida to its capital, Pensacola.
- April 8: Siege of Charleston: British Army troops under General Henry Clinton and naval forces under Admiral Mariot Arbuthnot besiege Charleston, South Carolina. British ships sail past Fort Moultrie on Sullivan’s Island to occupy Charleston Harbor. Washington will order reinforcements to Charleston, but the city falls on May 12 in what is arguably the worst American defeat of the war.
- May 6: Siege of Charleston: Fort Moultrie falls to the British.
- May 12: Siege of Charleston: American General Benjamin Lincoln surrenders Charleston to the British. The British lose 255 men while capturing a large American garrison.
- May 29: Battle of Waxhaws: A clash between Continental Army forces under Abraham Buford and a mainly Loyalist force led by Banastre Tarleton occurs near Lancaster, South Carolina in the Waxhaws area. The British destroyed the American forces.
- June 6: Battle of Connecticut Farms
- June 23: Battle of Springfield. With the attempted British invasion of New Jersey stopped at Connecticut Farms and Springfield, major fighting in the North ends.
- August 16: Battle of Camden. British General Cornwallis gains a humiliating victory over Gates in South Carolina.
- September 23: John André captured and the treason of Benedict Arnold is exposed
- September 26: Battle of Charlotte
- October 7: Battle of Kings Mountain
American Revolutionary War Timeline: 1781
- January 17: Battle of Cowpens
- March 1: Articles of Confederation ratified
- March 15: Battle of Guilford Court House
- September 5: Battle of the Chesapeake
- September 8: Battle of Eutaw Springs
- October 19: The British surrender at Yorktown
- December 31: Bank of North America chartered
American Revolutionary War Timeline: 1782
- February 27: The British House of Commons votes against further war, informally recognizing American independence.
- December 14: British evacuate Charleston, South Carolina
American Revolutionary War Timeline: 1783
- September 3: The Treaty of Paris ends the American Revolutionary War
- November 25: The British evacuate New York, marking the end of British rule, and General George Washington triumphantly returns with the Continental Army.
American Revolutionary War Timeline: 1784
- January 14: The Treaty of Paris is ratified by the Congress.
- April 9: The Treaty of Paris is ratified by the British
- May 12: Ratified treaties are exchanged in Paris between the two nations.
- August: “The state of Frankland,” later known as Franklin, secedes from North Carolina
- American Revolutionary War Timeline: 1785
- November 28: Treaty of Hopewell
- December: Congress refuses admission of Franklin to the Union
- American Revolutionary War Timeline: 1786
- August 31: Shays’ Rebellion begins
- September 11 – 14: Annapolis Convention fails
- American Revolutionary War Timeline: 1787
- July 13: Northwest Ordinance passes
- May 25 – September 17: Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia