February 10, 1763:
After nine years of intermittent fighting along American borders, the French and Indian War ended with the Treaty of Paris. France ceded all claims on Canada to Britain, as well as Louisiana territories east of the Mississippi. Although Britain won the war, £100 million is added to its national debt.
March 22, 1765:
In an effort to raise £60,000 per year, the British Parliament passed the Stamp Act which placed a "stamp tax" on all newspapers, pamphlets, almanacs, legal documents, playing cards and dice. In Boston, Samuel Adams instigated the formation of the rebel organization, Sons of Liberty to resist the act. Similar organizations were formed in other colonies.
October 7-25, 1765:
A Stamp Act Congress met in New York and was attended by delegates from nine colonies. The group agreed to resist "taxation without representation" and resolved not to import any goods that required payment of duties.
March 18, 1766:
The Stamp Act was repealed by the British Parliament but the Declaratory Act was passed to assert Britain's rights for "better securing the dependency of his majesty's dominions in America upon the crown and parliament of Great Britain."
June 29, 1767:
The Townshend Revenue Act (named for Chancellor of the Exchequer Charles Townshend) was passed which required the colonist to pay import duties on tea, glass, paints, oil, lead and paper. The act was expected to raise £40,000 per year for Britain.
February 11, 1768:
The Massachusetts legislature requested other colonies to join an organized resistance of Townshend Act duties. Britain threaten to dissolve any colonial legislature that answered the call. On May 16, 1769, the Virginia House of Burgesses issued a resolution supporting Massachusetts and the Governor dissolved the House of Burgesses. The Burgesses continued to meet secretly.
March 5, 1770:
On the Boston waterfront a confrontation, instigated by the Sons of Liberty rebel organization, between colonist and British soldiers, resulted in the death of five citizens. Samuel Adams and Paul Revere, members of the Sons of Liberty, denounced the troops for the "Massacre." A few days later, John Hancock joined in with a speech delivered at the funerals of the slain patriots.
April 12, 1770:
Britain repealed the Townshend Act except for duties on tea. This was seen by the colonist as an assertion of Parliament that the Declaratory Act was still valid.
May 10, 1773:
The King approved the Tea Act to save the East India Company from bankruptcy. The act authorized reimbursement of English duty paid on the company's tea shipments to America, thereby permitting the company to undersell American tea merchants.
December 16, 1773:
Rebels in Boston dressed up as Indians and staged the Boston Tea Party by boarding British ships and throwing 342 chests of tea overboard into Boston Harbor.
March 31, 1774:
The King approved the first of parliamentary reprisals know as the Intolerable Acts. To punish Boston for the "Tea Party," the port is closed until the colony pays £18,000 for destroyed tea. Later measures included a ban on public meetings without the Governor's approval and passage of the Quartering Act which required private citizens to house and feed British soldiers whenever a British officer so demanded.
May 17, 1774:
Rhode Island issued a first call for a colonial Congress and was soon followed by calls from Pennsylvania and New York.
September 5, 1774:
The First Continental Congress met in Philadelphia and produced a declaration of "rights," including "life, liberty, property, peaceable assembly and to petition the King."
March 23, 1775:
Virginia's foremost orator, Patrick Henry, denounced British rule with his "Give me liberty or give me death" speech.
April 18-19, 1775:
700 British troops were dispatched from Boston seeking to confiscate rebel arms believed stored at Concord and to arrest Samuel Adams and John Hancock. Paul Revere rode out to warn Adams and Hancock, who managed to escape, and to alert the Minutemen. The British clashed with Minutemen at Lexington Green and were turned back from the North Bridge at Concord. Casualties for the engagements were: American, 95; British, 272.
May 10, 1775:
Colonel Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys attacked Fort Ticonderoga and seized gateway to Lake Champlain and water route to Canada. Also Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia.
May 18, 1775:
Congress urged colonies to put their militia in state of readiness.
June 15, 1775:
George Washington was appointed commander of continental troops by congress.
June 17, 1775:
Battle of "Bunker Hill" was fought as colonial forces were driven from nearby Breed's Hill after inflicting 1,150 casualties.
August 23, 1775:
George III proclaimed that Americans have "proceeded to open and avowed rebellion."
October 13, 1775:
Congress authorized acquisition of first Continental naval warships.
December 31-January 1, 1775-1776:
American General Richard Montgomery was killed in a joint attack with Colonel Benedict Arnold on Quebec. The colonist were routed. Also, British forces burn Virginia port of Norfolk.
March 17, 1776:
British General Sir William Howe evacuated besieged Boston and sailed for Halifax to await reinforcements.
March 26, 1776:
South Carolina created its own constitution, forshadowing independent governments in the colonies.
May 15, 1776:
Congress recommended that all colonies establish their own governments "sufficient to the exigencies of their affairs."
June 7, 1776:
Richard Henry Lee of Virginia offered Congress a resolution that the Colonies "are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states." The resolution was generally opposed, but the congress resolved to try again.
June 11, 1776:
Thomas Jefferson was elected to a committee to produce a "Declaration" to support the Richard Henry Lee resolution. On the committee with the 33 year old Jefferson were John Adams, 40, Benjamin Franklin, 70, Connecticut Lawyer and Merchant Roger Sherman, 55, and New York Lawyer Robert R. Livingston, 29.
July 1, 1776:
A preliminary vote to approve Lee's resolution was less than unanimous: 9 in favor, 2 (South Carolina and Pennsylvania) against, 1 (New York) abstention, and Delaware's two delegates locked in a tie and unable to participate. Delaware had sent three delegates but Farmer Caesar Rodney was back home on business.
July 2, 1776:
The congress assembled to find that Pennsylvania and South Carolina were now prepared to vote in favor of the Lee resolution, leaving only New York without instructions from home and Delaware still stalemated. As Congress President John Hancock started to take the vote, Rodney arrived for Delaware with a favorable position so that the result was 12-0 with New York still abstaining. The congress began the process of going through the Jefferson prepared Declaration line-by-line.
July 4, 1776:
The Declaration of Independence was approved "without one dissenting colony" and signed by Congress President John Hancock who ordered that it be "proclaimed in each of the United States."