The official beginning of the American Revolution: fighting breaks out between patriots (yay!) and redcoats (boo!).
You probably know this date pretty well. The Founding Fathers just really wanted to give everyone an excuse to eat hot dogs and watch fireworks.
After the capture of the British army at Saratoga, the French think that maybe the U.S. has what it takes and officially becomes an ally. (They'd been secretly supplying arms and materiel since 1775 though, including 90% of patriot gunpowder.)
Looking for revenge for the Seven Years War, Spain—who had already been providing aid to the patriots—entered the war on the side of the United States.
Well, really they entered the war against Britain. Everyone kind of hated Britain at the time.
Yup: that makes three European power mixing it up with Britain. The American Revolution was, at the time, a sideshow to these European wars. The U.S. was considered a convenient pawn to use to weaken Britain's position in the world.
And it worked—maybe too well.
This is the decisive victory of the Revolution. A joint force of American and French forces beat Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown, Virginia.
American diplomats Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, Henry Laurens, and future president John Adams meet British diplomats David Hartley and Richard Oswald to discuss terms.
The French were looking for peace, but Spain would keep it up until they got Gibraltar, and the Dutch showed no signs of stopping. This put the U.S. in a great position to negotiate, with Britain facing a ton o' enemies.
The first semi-treaty gets some ink on it, reaffirming everyone's desire to knock it off with the fighting. The Preliminary Articles are something of a rough draft for the eventual Treaty of Paris.
Congress ratified the treaty, making it officially legal.
This time by the British. Both sides had to ratify it to make it legal. (Remember when we told you this process was slooooow?)
Inspired by the American Revolution (and clueless nobles who wore ridiculous wigs), this was ten years of chaos. The French expected the U.S. to aid them since they were doing a similar revolution-type thing.
The U.S. did not. That was kind of terrible—but then, so was the French Revolution.
Also inspired by the American Revolution (not to mention horrible conditions), enslaved Black people in the French colony of Saint Domingue fight for their freedom.
After thirteen years they get it, becoming the second New World power in history to get their independence, and setting up a government that exists to this day.