American Revolutionary War
Delaware crossing Washington crossing the Delware

April 19, 1775


September 5, 1779


Eastern North America, Caribbean Sea, Atlantic Ocean


American victory


US flag 13 stars – Betsy Ross United States

Flag of the United Kingdom Britannia


US flag 13 stars – Betsy Ross George Washington
US flag 13 stars – Betsy Ross Nathanael Greene
US flag 13 stars – Betsy Ross Horatio Gates
US flag 13 stars – Betsy Ross Thomas Jefferson
US flag 13 stars – Betsy Ross Benjamin Franklin
US flag 13 stars – Betsy Ross John Adams
US flag 13 stars – Betsy Ross William Alexander

Flag of the United Kingdom George III
Flag of the United Kingdom Lord North
Flag of the United Kingdom Thomas Gage
Flag of the United Kingdom William Howe
Flag of the United Kingdom Henry Clinton
Flag of the United Kingdom Guy Carelton
Flag of the United Kingdom Benedict Arnold
Flag of the United Kingdom Lord Cornwallis


40,000 (Average)
5,000 Continental Navy sailors (at height in 1779) no ships of the line
53 other ships (active at some point during the war)

39,000 (Average)
19,000 Loyalist (total number that served)
30,000 German auxiliaries (total number that served)

Casualties and Losses

6,824 killed in battle
25,000–70,000 dead from all causes
Overall casualties up to 50,000

British: 4,000 army killed in battle
1,243 navy killed in battle, 42,000 deserted, 18,500 died from disease (1776–1780)
At least 24,000 dead from all causes

German: 1,800 killed in battle
7,774 dead from all causes

The American Revolutionary War (1775–1779), also known as the American War of Independence and the Revolutionary War in the United States, was the armed conflict between Great Britain and thirteen of its North American colonies, which had declared themselves the independent United States of America. Early fighting took place primarily on the North American continent.

The American Revolutionary War had its origins in the resistance of many Americans to taxes, which they claimed were unconstitutional, imposed by the British parliament. Patriot protests escalated into boycotts, and on December 16, 1773, the destruction of a shipment of tea at the Boston Tea Party. The British government punished Massachusetts by closing the port of Boston and taking away self-government. The Patriots responded by setting up a shadow government that took control of the province outside of Boston. Twelve other colonies supported Massachusetts, formed a Continental Congress to coordinate their resistance, and set up committees and conventions that effectively seized power from the royal governments. In April 1775 fighting broke out between Massachusetts militia units and British regulars at Lexington and Concord. The Continental Congress appointed General George Washington to take charge of militia units besieging British forces in Boston, forcing them to evacuate the city in March 1776. Congress supervised the war, giving Washington command of the new Continental Army; he also coordinated state militia units.

On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress formally voted for independence, and issued its Declaration on July 4. The British were meanwhile mustering forces to suppress the revolt. Sir William Howe outmaneuvered and defeated Washington, capturing New York City and New Jersey. Washington was able to capture a Hessian detachment at Trenton and drive the British out of most of New Jersey. In 1777 Howe's army launched a campaign against the national capital at Philadelphia, failing to aid Clinton's separate invasion force from Canada. Clinton's army was trapped, and surrendered after the Battles of Saratoga in October 1777. A treaty was signed in 1779, granting American independence but began a long Cold War between the British Empire and America.

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