American Revolution begins this year, with the first military engagement being the April 19
Battles of Lexington and Concord on the day after
Paul Revere's now-legendary ride. The
Second Continental Congress takes various steps toward organizing an American government, appointing
George Washington commander-in-chief (June 14),
Benjamin Franklin postmaster general (July 26) and creating a
Continental Navy (October 13) and a Marine force (November 10) as landing troops for it, but as yet the 13 colonies have not declared independence, and both the British (June 12) and American (July 15) governments make laws. On July 6, Congress issues the
Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms and on August 23, King
George III of England declares the American colonies in rebellion, announcing it to parliament on November 10. On June 17, two months into the colonial
siege of Boston, at the
Battle of Bunker Hill, just north of Boston, British forces are victorious, but only after suffering severe casualties and after Colonial forces run out of ammunition,
Fort Ticonderoga is taken by American forces in New York Colony's northern frontier, and American forces unsuccessfully
invade Canada, with an attack on
Montreal defeated by British forces on November 13 and an attack on
Quebec repulsed December 31.
Human knowledge and mastery over nature advances when
James Watt builds a successful prototype of a steam engine, and a scientific expedition continues as Captain
James Cook claims the South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands in the south Atlantic Ocean for Britain. Nature's power over humanity is dramatically demonstrated when the
Independence Hurricane (August 29 – September 13) devastates the east coast of North America, killing 4,173, and when a
smallpox epidemic begins in New England.
- January – The
Habsburg Monarchy forces the
Ottoman Empire to cede
Bukovina to its rule.
January 5 –
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart finishes a Sonata for Keyboard in C.
Second voyage of James Cook: Captain
James Cook circumnavigates, makes the first landing on and (on
January 17) takes possession of
South Georgia in the southern Atlantic Ocean for the Kingdom of Great Britain. The following month he discovers the
South Sandwich Islands.
February 9 –
American Revolution: The
Parliament of Great Britain declares the
Province of Massachusetts Bay to be in rebellion.
February 15 –
Pope Pius VI succeeds
Pope Clement XIV as the 250th pope.
March 6 –
Peshwa of the
Maratha Empire in India, signs the
Treaty of Surat with the British Governor-General
Warren Hastings in
Bombay ceding the territories of
Bassein to the British
East India Company along with part of the revenues from
Bharuch districts in return for military assistance. This leads to the
First Anglo-Maratha War fought between the British and the Marathas, ending with the Treaty of Salbai in
March 17 –
Catherine the Great of Russia issues a manifesto prohibiting freed serfs from being returned to
March 23 – American Revolution:
Patrick Henry, a delegate to the
Second Virginia Convention after the
House of Burgesses was disbanded by the
Royal Governor, delivers his "
Give me liberty, or give me death!" speech at
St. John's Church in
April 18 – American Revolution:
Paul Revere and
William Dawes, instructed by Dr.
Joseph Warren, ride from Boston to Lexington to warn
John Hancock and
Sam Adams that British forces are coming to take them prisoner and to seize colonial weapons and ammunition in Concord.
April 19 – American Revolution: Hostility between Britain and its American colonies explodes into bloodshed at the
Battles of Lexington and Concord
 igniting the
May 9 – American Revolution:
Brunswick militiamen commanded by
Samuel Thompson capture
Henry Mowat, captain of
May 14 – American Revolution:
Battle off Fairhaven, the first naval engagement of the
American Revolutionary War.
May 17 – American Revolution: The Continental Congress bans trade with Canada.
June 11 –
Battle of Machias, the second naval engagement of the
American Revolutionary War.
June 12 – American Revolution:
June 14 – American Revolution: The Continental Congress names
George Washington as commander of the
June 16 – Post of
Chief Engineer of the
Continental Army created.
June 17 – American Revolution: Two months into the colonial
siege of Boston, British open fire on
Breed's Hill on Charles Town Peninsula. After 3 charges, the British take the hill in the misnamed
Battle of Bunker Hill.
June 19 – Post of
Commanding General was created by the
June 25 – The
Great Fire of Tartu,
Governorate of Livonia, destroys most of the town.
July 3 – American Revolution: George Washington takes command of the 17,000-man Continental Army at Cambridge.
July 5 – American Revolution: The Continental Congress sends the
Olive Branch Petition, hoping for a reconciliation.
July 6 – American Revolution: The Continental Congress issues
Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms, which contains the words: "Our cause is just. Our union is perfect... being with one mind resolved to die freemen rather than to live slaves...".
July 26 – The Second Continental Congress appoints
Benjamin Franklin to be the first
Postmaster General of what later becomes the
United States Post Office Department.
July 30 –
Second voyage of James Cook:
HMS Resolution anchors off the south coast of England,
Captain Cook having completed the first eastabout global
August 18 –
Tucson is founded.
August 21 – American Revolution –
Siege of Fort St. Jean: American rebels launch an
invasion of Canada.
August 23 – American Revolution: Refusing to even look at the Olive Branch Petition, King George issues a
Proclamation of Rebellion against the American colonies.
August 29 –
September 12 – The Independence Hurricane from
South Carolina to
Nova Scotia kills 4,170, mostly fishermen and sailors.
September 8 – The unsuccessful
Rising of the Priests in
September 25 – American Revolution: Siege of Fort St. Jean –
Battle of Longue-Pointe:
Thirteen Colonies revolutionary forces under Maj.
Ethan Allen attack
Montreal in Quebec, commanded by
Guy Carleton. Allen's forces are defeated, and Allen himself is captured and held on British ships until he is later released.
- October – The
Sayre Plotters attempt to kidnap
George III of Great Britain.
October 13 – American Revolution: The Continental Congress orders the establishment of the
Continental Navy (later the
United States Navy).
October 18 – American Revolution:
Burning of Falmouth by ships of the
Royal Navy commanded by
Henry Mowat, who had been humiliated by local militiamen on May 9th.
October 26 – American Revolution:
George III announces to
Parliament that the American colonies are in an uprising and must be dealt with accordingly.
- November – American Revolution: Colonel
South Carolina revolutionaries march through
Ninety-Six District in what becomes known as the Snow Campaign, effectively ending all major support for the
Loyalist cause in the
backcountry of South Carolina.
November 10 – American Revolution: The Continental Congress passes a resolution creating the
Continental Marines to serve as landing troops for the recently created Continental Navy (the Marines are disbanded at end of the war in April
1783 but reformed on
1798 as the
United States Marine Corps).
November 13 – American Revolution –
Battle of Montreal: American forces under
Richard Montgomery capture
Montreal. British General
Guy Carleton escapes to
November 17 –
John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore offers freedom to slaves who join the loyalist army, thus losing the support of most planters, who see slaves as their vital livelihood.
December 5 – American Revolution:
Henry Knox begins his journey to
Cambridge, Massachusetts with the artillery that has been captured from
December 9 – American Revolution:
Battle of Great Bridge: Victory by the
Continental Army and militia leads to withdrawal of the British from the
Colony of Virginia.
December 31 – American Revolution:
Battle of Quebec: British forces repulse an attack by Continental Army generals
Richard Montgomery and
Benedict Arnold at
The Honourable Mrs Graham (1757–1792) painted by