Was the Last Battle of the American Revolution Fought in the U.S?

Was the Last Battle of the American Revolution Fought in the U.S?

Kathleen DuVal, professor of history at the University of North Carolina says until recently almost all American historians and indeed the American people too, were focused only the 13 colonies that rebelled against the British.

“But in just the past decade or two, historians have broadened their focus and started to write about the Revolutionary War as being, as you say, a world war,”

In 2018, Smithsonian Books published The American Revolution: A World War, a collection of essays from 17 authors from eight countries that gives “a multifaceted but coherent account of the American Revolution’s international geopolitics,” according to a review in the Journal of American History.

DuVal and others say two key protagonists of the Revolutionary War – Britain and France – actually fought this war in many countries around the world. “Britain with its colonies across the globe had more enemies than just France! Spain and the Netherlands allied with France to fight Britain, too.”

France’s help for the United States has long been part of Americans’ knowledge of the American Revolution, but the French king decided to enter the war because of France’s opposition to Britain more than any love for the Americans.”

In the Seven Years’ War, Britain dealt defeats to France and its ally Spain across the globe, from the Indo-Pacific to Portugal to Canada, but that came with a steep price, the State Department’s Office of the Historian says on its website.

“The war had been enormously expensive, and the British government’s attempts to impose taxes on (American) colonists to help cover these expenses resulted in increasing colonial resentment of British attempts to expand imperial authority in the colonies, and eventually led to the Revolutionary War,” it adds.

For much of America’s 247-year history, it’s been taught that the last battle of that war was at Yorktown, Virginia, from Sept. 28 to Oct. 19, 1781. “It was a victory not just of Americans, but of allies,” the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian says of the Battle of Yorktown. David Allison of the museum said, “Without allies, the colonies would never have gained their freedom.”

After Yorktown, the fighting between Britain and France and Spain continued in places like Jamaica, Gibraltar and India.

Don Glickstein, a Seattle-based historian and journalist who covered the subject in his 2015 book, After Yorktown told CNN, “Controlling India was a much bigger prize for Britain than controlling portions of North America. British colonizers coveted its resources, such as silk, cotton, textiles, spices, tea, opium, and precious stones. Everything that India made, the Brits wanted,” he said, adding that India’s strategic location meant it was a base from where Britain could protect its trade routes to the Asia-Pacific.

“When France entered the war in 1778 as an American ally, the British East India Company immediately moved to attack France’s Indian colonies, drawing both countries’ Indian allies into the fight,” the museum’s website says. The garrison of the French and its Indian allies at Cuddalore on the Bay of Bengal was an important target for Britain in late June of 1783.

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Fighting took place on land and at sea. On land, the French forces were defeated by the British. However, the naval battle of Cuddalore on June 20 was considered a French victory. The French admiral ordered his ships to prepare a bombardment of British land forces in support of the French ground operation, Glickstein says.

But before it could commence, “a British ship appeared in the distance flying a white flag, with the news that six months before in Paris, the British, French and the Americans (the Dutch were a little later) signed the Treaty of Paris ending the American Revolution,” he says.

Cuddalore, India, was indeed the last battle of the American Revolution.”


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