a war between America and Britain (1775-1783) in which America became an independent nation. Britain had colonies (= places taken over by people from a foreign country) in North America from 1607 and in the 17th century the 13 colonies each had an assembly of representatives. After Britain passed a series of laws raising taxes and restricting trade, the assemblies wanted to decide what taxes they should pay rather than the British Parliament and some colonists, called patriots began to want independence from Britain. After a number of events including the Boston Massacre in 1770 and the Boston Tea Party in 1773, the British tried to increase control over the colonies. Representatives of the colonies formed the Continental Congress in 1774 and decided to form their own army. On 18 April 1775 when British soldiers near Boston were looking for weapons hidden by the colonists, the soldiers met and the first shot of the war was fired. After the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775 when many British soldiers, known as Redcoats, were killed, the Continental Congress suggested that Britain and America should make an agreement, but Britain refused and on 4 July 1776 members of the Congress signed the Declaration of Independence. During the following years of fighting, the Americans received support from France and Spain. Finally, after seven years of war, Britain recognized the United States of America in 1783.