On April 19, 1775, the American Revolution began when the “shot heard around the world” was fired between the 700 British troops on a mission to capture Patriot leaders Sam Adams and John Hancock and to seize a Patriot arsenal and the 77 armed minutemen under Captain John Parker waiting for them on the Lexington town green. The Battle of Lexington ended with eight Americans killed and ten wounded, along with one wounded British soldier.
In Concord, a couple of hours later, British troops were encircled by hundreds of armed Patriots. The British commander ordered his men to return to Boston without directly engaging the Americans, but on the 16-mile journey they were constantly attacked by Patriot marksmen firing at them Indian-style from behind trees, rocks, and stone walls. By the time the British reached the safety of Boston, nearly 300 soldiers had been killed, wounded, or were missing in action. The Patriots suffered fewer than 100 casualties. (See Liberty’s Kids for a video on these events, or the video featured on this page.)
On April 19, 1782, John Adams secured the Dutch Republic’s recognition of the United States as an independent government.