1780-1789


* 1770-1779 1790-1799 *
1780 * Papers found on captured British messenger Major John Andre reveal General Benedict Arnold's plan to surrender to the British the American fort in his command at West Point, New York.


Over 5,000 American soldiers surrender at Charleston, South Carolina in the worst American defeat of the Revolutionary War.
1781
Striking their own blow for liberty, enslaved African Americans rebel in Williamsburg, Virginia.

* British General Cornwallis surrenders to George Washington at Yorktown, Virginia, ending the fighting in the American Revolution.
1782
Many Loyalists--Americans who wanted to remain under British rule and did not support the Revolution--begin to leave the United States. Some return to Britain, but most move to Canada.


Harvard Medical School opens.
1783
The American Revolution officially ends when the United States and Britain sign the Treaty of Paris.


Noah Webster publishes his "Blue-Backed Speller," which standardizes spelling and word usage and becomes the chief textbook for generations of American schoolchildren.
1784 * A new trade route opens for American merchants when the "Empress of China" sails from New Jersey around Cape Horn to the Orient, opening a profitable trade with China.
1785
Regular stage routes linking New York City, Boston, Albany and Philadelphia begin.
1786
Congress adopts a new coinage system based on the Spanish dollar, replacing British pounds used during the colonial era.


Inventor John Fitch sails the first steamboat in America on the Delaware River.
1787 * The Northwest Ordinance provides a plan for governing the region northwest of the Ohio River and admitting new states to the Union.


John Cabot and Joshua Fisher establish the first American cotton mill at Beverly, Massachusetts.
1788
The Constitution becomes effective, creating a new system of government for America made up of three branches--the Executive (the president), the Legislative (the Senate and the House of Representatives) and the Judicial (the Supreme Court).


African Americans found the First African Baptist Church, the first African-American church in the United States.
1789
George Washington becomes the first president of the United States.

* Thanksgiving is celebrated for the first time as a national holiday.

* 1770-1779 1790-1799 *
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