Britain in North America - we would rather forget

American war of independence The name of Sir Walter Raleigh and his efforts to found the colony in Virginia in the 1580s, named after Elizabeth I, brought the American colony to prominence at court in London.

Then there was the voyage of the Pilgrim fathers in the Mayflower in 1620. But all in all the American colony was not a major factor in British life.

Britain colony in America, map It was only in the middle of the 18th century that the bitter quarrel over tax emerged as a major problem. Riots resulted , George III became more and more repressive. Finally the British governments concession for the East India Company to sell tea directly to the colonists, resulted in the merchants, who would have been bankrupted by the action, tipping the entire cargo of 10000 worth of tea into Boston harbour. The british reaponse was to declare martial law, which led to further riots and eventually to rebellion. The colonists declared independence in 1776 at Philadelphia
The British army and their weapons were ill suited to guerilla warfare, and Cornwallis's surrender of his army of 3700 men at Yorktown was effectively the end of the war
redcoat yorktown surrender
From the British point of view the whole thing was an unmitigated disaster. The army was 3000 miles from home, and difficult to supply. The British navy temporally lost control of the sea to the French. And the two British commanders, Cornwallis and Clinton, quarrelled over how to conduct the campaign. Even in Britain the political parties were not united on who to support, with the Whigs attacking the king for his tyranical rule.

The British suffered their first major defeat for centuries, and retreated to continue controling Canada, leaving the American Colonists to their new country

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