By the 18th century, Britain had built up a great empire, including the thirteen rich colonies along the eastern coast
of the United States. The colonisation of America began when British settlers arrived. The
settlers were also known as pilgrims. Life in the colonies was tough and many people died. The settlers began farming and
goods were imported from Britain. The British Empire put lots of tax on the imported products. No taxation without
representation! On the other hand, the British government also had to face a lot of problems: the cost of the empire,
the huge size of the territory taken in 1763 from the French in North America, which had to be organized,
and the collection of taxes. The British colonists in North America thought that they had the right to tax themselves. Anti-tax
protests erupted into violence in Boston in 1770, when British troops fired on protesters. In 1773,
the Parliament passed a new law which imposed tax on tea without the colonies' agreement. In response to this, angry Bostonians
disguised as Indians boarded three British ships and threw 342 chests of tea into the sea. This event was known as the "Boston
Tea Party". As a result, the British government closed the port of Boston and forced upon the colonists hardships
which led to the War of Independence.
In 1775, representatives from the thirteen colonies met at the Philadelphia Congress. They set up a
colonial army and navy under George Washington. On July 4th, 1776, the Congress adopted
the Declaration of Independence. The War of Independence ended in victory for the Thirteen
Colonies, when in 1781 the army of Washington finally defeated the British at the Battle of Yorktown.
Britain recognised America independent in 1783. A new constitution was drawn up, and George Washington became
the first president of the United States of America.