This American Revolution timeline lists important events from the revolutionary period, from 1765 to 1773. This timeline has been written and compiled by Alpha History authors. If you would like to suggest an important event for inclusion into this timeline, please contact Alpha History.
January: With Britain’s defence of her American colonies set to cost £200,000 per year, British prime minister George Grenville plans measures to extract £78,000 per annum from the colonies.
February 2nd: Grenville meets with Benjamin Franklin and other London-based colonial agents, to discuss raising revenue in the American colonies. The Americans ask Grenville not to submit his proposed stamp tax but to seek revenue from the colonial assemblies.
February 6th: During parliamentary debates about a proposed colonial stamp tax, Isaac Barré refers to Americans who object to British taxation as “these sons of liberty”.
February 12th: Benjamin Franklin meets with Grenville again and suggests Britain raise revenue in America by issuing its own paper currency. Grenville ignores this suggestion.
February 27th: The British House of Commons passes the Stamp Act, which is scheduled to come into effect on November 2nd.
March: With the Stamp Act passed, Benjamin Franklin recommends a friend, John Hughes, for appointment as Pennsylvania’s official tax stamp distributor.
March 22nd: The Stamp Act is given royal assent and passes into law.
March 24th: Parliament passes a Quartering Act, requiring colonial assemblies to organise and supply accommodation and minor equipment for British regular troops.
May 29th: The House of Burgesses, Virginia’s colonial legislature, passes the Stamp Act Resolves. During debates on the resolves, newcomer Patrick Henry delivers a fiery speech, criticising the king.
July: Street protests against the Stamp Act are reported in Boston and New York City.
July 13th: A change in the British government when George III replaces George Grenville and his ministry. Lord Rockingham becomes the new prime minister.
August 14th: An effigy of royal official Andrew Oliver is hung by a noose from a Boston tree (the ‘Liberty Tree’).
August 15th: A mob gathers outside Oliver’s home, builds a bonfire and makes threats. Oliver agrees not to enforce the stamp tax. He later resigns altogether.
August 28th: A Boston mob attacks the homes of several unpopular royal officials, including lieutenant governor Thomas Hutchinson.
October 7th: Delegates from nine of the 13 colonies attend the Stamp Act Congress in New York.
October 25th: The Stamp Act Congress ends after formulating the Declaration of Rights and Grievances and a petition to King George III.
December: Groups in Boston begin referring to themselves as ‘Sons of Liberty’.
December: The Stamp Act comes under attack within the British parliament, from Edmund Burke and William Pitt.
January: The New York assembly refuses to follow the terms of the Quartering Act, passed the previous year.
March 18th: Westminster formally repeals the Stamp Act after weeks of heated debate.
March 18th: The parliament passes the Declaratory Act, asserting authority over the colonies “in all cases whatsoever”.
April: News of the repeal of the Stamp Act reaches the American colonies, prompting celebrations and easing of trade boycotts – however there is some concern about the wording of the Declaratory Act.
May 21st: The Sons of Liberty in New York celebrate victory over the Stamp Act by erecting a ‘liberty pole’.
July 30th: Lord Rockingham resigns as British prime minister. He is replaced by William Pitt, who names Charles Townshend as his Chancellor of the Exchequer.
August: Reports of street violence between British soldiers and colonists in New York.
December: The New York assembly is suspended for failing to comply with the Quartering Act.
June 29th: Westminster passes the Revenue Acts, often known as the ‘Townshend duties’. This legislation imposes customs duties on certain goods imported to America from Britain.
October: Town meetings in Boston decide to again boycott luxury items purchased from Britain.
February: Boston radical Sam Adams issues a ‘Circular Letter’ encouraging the colonies to resist the Townshend duties.
June: Armed British ships seize Liberty, a John Hancock-owned ship suspected of smuggling wine and other goods.
July: The Massachusetts assembly is dissolved after it refuses to revoke its endorsement for Adams’ Circular Letter.
August 1st: Boston merchants commit to a non-important agreement, resolving not to order or import further goods from England until the Townshend duties are repealed.
October 1st: Two regiments of British soldiers arrive in Boston to keep order.
March: Town meetings in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania vote to join in the boycott of British goods.
May: The governor of Massachusetts dissolves the local assembly after it passes resolves condemning British policy.
August 2nd: Thomas Hutchinson becomes acting governor of Massachusetts, after the recall of Francis Bernard.
January: Tension between Boston civilians and British soldiers garrisoned in the city begins to escalate. Several fights and skirmishes are reported.
January 28th: Lord North becomes prime minister of Great Britain. North, a conservative, replaces the Duke of Grafton, a Whig.
February 22nd: A young boy, Christopher Seider, is shot and killed while throwing stones at the home of a Boston Loyalist.
March 5th: Five civilians are killed after a confrontation with British soldiers in King Street, Boston. This incident becomes known as the Boston Massacre.
April 12th: The British parliament repeals the Revenue Act or ‘Townshend duties’.
October 11th: A group of Boston merchants decides to end the non-importation of British goods.
October 31st: Captain Thomas Preston, the officer in charge of British soldiers during the Boston Massacre, is acquitted of murder.
November 27th: The trial of six British regular soldiers involved in the Boston Massacre commences. Two are convicted of manslaughter and lightly punished; the remaining four are acquitted.
March 14th: Thomas Hutchinson is officially confirmed as the governor of Massachusetts.
June 10th: The British customs ship Gaspee runs ashore on Rhode Island, where it is boarded by locals and burned to the waterline.
June 13th: Massachusetts governor Thomas Hutchinson declares that his salary with henceforth be collected from customs duties rather than the colonial assembly.
September: The British government offers a £500 reward for the arrest of those involved in the burning of the Gaspee.
November: A Boston town meeting, led by Samuel Adams, decides to form a 21-man Committee of Correspondence.
January 6th: Felix, an African-American slave. petitions the Massachusetts governor for the abolition or relaxation of slavery.
March: the Virginian assembly sets up its own 11-man Committee of Correspondence; four other colonies soon follow suit.
May: London passes the Tea Act, permitting the British East India Company to sell surplus tea directly to American retailers.
September: opposition to the terms of the Tea Act grows in the colonies, particularly in Boston and New York City.
November: three tea-laden British ships arrive in Boston Harbour but are prevented from offloading their cargo by locals.
December: the Boston Tea Party – a small band raids the three ships and tips 342 crates of tea into Boston Harbour.