How Much Do You Know About the American Revolution?


By: Bambi Turner

6 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

In just a little over two centuries, the United States has grown into a world power in politics, industry and culture. If it weren't for the American Revolution, however, the land we now call the USA could still be just another British colony. Take our quiz to see how much you know about the people, places and events that made up the war that birthed America.

Which country were the colonies actually fighting to win independence from?

The American Revolution was primarily a war between Great Britain and the 13 colonies that the country had established in North America. The colonies wanted independence from the mother land, while Great Britain wanted to hold onto its "assets."


What did the colonists famously dump into the Boston Harbor in 1773?

To protest tea taxes, colonists dressed themselves up as Native Americans and dumped an entire shipment of tea from the East India Company into Boston Harbor. The event took place on December 16, 1773.


Who took a famous midnight ride in April 1775?

After learning that British soldiers were marching toward Lexington and Concord, silversmith Paul Revere took a midnight ride to warn colonists of the danger. Contrary to myth, he never told anyone that the British were coming, because he and the other colonists also considered themselves to be British at the time. He also didn't make the ride alone, and was one of several brave men to take up the call.


Which of these was the biggest beef the colonists had with Great Britain?

Great Britain was pretty tax-happy with its new colonies in North America, jacking up taxes with the Stamp Act of 1765 and the Tea Act of 1773. The colonists weren't thrilled about the taxes, of course, but they were most frustrated by the lack of representation in Parliament for the colonies.


What color uniforms did the British soldiers wear?

The whole "Redcoats" nickname came from the red uniforms that the British soldiers wore with their white breeches. The colonists wore a hodgepodge of uniforms, though the official uniform of the Continental Army was eventually navy and white.


Crispus Attucks and four others were killed by British soldiers in a 1770 massacre in this city.

Tensions mounted between the British government and the colonists throughout the 1760s and 1770s. In 1770, the first serious violent incident in what would become the American Revolution took place in Boston. Now known as the Boston Massacre, the event started when British soldiers slaughtered five colonists, including Attucks. The soldiers were arrested, but later acquitted.


What were the colonists seeking when they organized the First Continental Congress?

When the colonists met for the First Continental Congress in September 1774, they weren't yet looking for independence. Instead, they were looking for a guarantee of basic rights and an end to abusive acts by the British Parliament.


Which colony is home to Lexington and Concord, where the first battles of the war were fought?

The British were pretty unhappy after the Boston Tea Party incident, and took steps to punish colonists in Massachusetts. This resulted in the very first battles of the Revolutionary War being fought in the Massachusetts towns of Lexington and Concord.


Why were British soldiers sent to Lexington and Concord in April 1775?

The British government was not happy with the colonies after events like the Boston Tea Party and other protests. To help quell a potential uprising, British soldiers were sent to Massachusetts in April 1775 to collect weapons from colonists. Instead, colonial militias fought back, driving away more than 700 British soldiers at the Battles of Lexington and Concord.


On June 14, 1775, the Second Continental Congress....

The Second Continental Congress met in 1775. They immediately established a Continental Army, led by none other than George Washington. They also extended an olive branch of peace to Great Britain, still hoping to avoid a war.


Which of these battles took place June 17, 1775?

The Battle of Bunker Hill actually took place on Breed's Hill in Massachusetts on June 17, 1775. While the British won the battle, the colonists took down a surprisingly large number of British soldiers.


What happened on July 4, 1776?

July 4, 1776 is celebrated as America's Independence Day. On that date, Congress voted to adopt the Declaration of Independence. It wasn't signed until weeks later, however.


Who was on the British throne during the Revolution?

King George III was the English monarch who had the dubious honor of ruling the nation during the American Revolution.


Which river did Washington famously cross on Christmas 1776?

Washington and his troops famously crossed the Delaware River into New Jersey on Christmas night 1776. He and his men surprised British troops at Trenton on December 26th.


What happened at the two Battles of Saratoga?

The British and colonists fought two major battles at Saratoga in New York in the autumn of 1777. It was a major victory for the colonists because British General John Burgoyne discovered he was surrounded and decided to surrender.


Why was the British defeat at Saratoga such a big deal?

Throughout the entire American Revolution, France had secretly been helping the colonists by supplying them with weapons. After the decisive colonial victory at Saratoga, the French openly joined the war in support of the colonists.


What American landmark did Benedict Arnold plan to surrender to the British?

Benedict Arnold was a general for the American Continental Army when he switched his loyalties. He planned to surrender West Point to the British, but was discovered before he could do the dirty deed. He later became a general in the British Army.


The British conquered this city on May 12, 1780.

The biggest defeat for the colonists took place on May 12, 1780 as the British took the city of Charleston, South Carolina. Meanwhile, the two sides continued to engage in a stalemate in the northern states.


Where did the British finally surrender to end the war?

British Lord Charles Cornwallis surrendered to the colonists at Yorktown, VA on October 19, 1781 -- effectively ending the war.


What happened immediately after the British surrendered in 1781?

The British surrender at Yorktown ended the American Revolution ... sort of. While the fighting was over, nothing much happened for two full years. In fact, the British kept troops stationed in both Charleston and Savannah during that time.


What treaty marked the official start of American independence?

Great Britain recognized America as an independent nation in the Treaty of Paris, which was signed on September 3, 1783.


What side did Spain take during the war?

Spain informally fought on the side of the colonists at the start of the the war. On June 21, 1779, Spain officially declared war on Britain.


Where were the Hessians from?

The British hired German soldiers, dubbed the Hessians, to fight against the colonists during the war. Eventually, one-fourth of the British Army fighting against the colonists was made up of Hessians.


Where is Fort Ticonderoga located?

The British fort at Ticonderoga in New York served as a strategic point thanks to its access to the Hudson River and the Canadian border. Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold teamed up to take the fort on May 10, 1775.


Were black soldiers allowed to fight in the war?

Black soldiers made up around 5 percent of the entire Continental Army, which was officially around 100,000 strong. At least twice that many men of all colors fought in the colonial war effort in you count minutemen and militias.


What side did the majority of Native Americans take in the war?

Most Native Americans took the side of the British in the war, hoping that if the British won, it would slow the spread and settlement of colonists. Some coastal Native Americans who interacted frequently with the colonists did fight alongside the colonists, however.


About how many Americans died in combat in the American Revolution?

Around 6,800 Americans died fighting in the war. Another 22,000 were taken prisoner. The British lost around 24,000 men.


How many European colonists lived in what is now the U.S. when the war began?

In 1775, Great Britain was home to 8 million people. Two and a half million colonists lived in America at the time -- including half a million slaves.


About how many colonists were loyal enough to fight for the British and against other colonists in the war?

The British had around 25,000 loyalists -- colonists who were loyal to the British crown and fought against the colonists. They also sent around 22,000 British soldiers to the colonies to fight, plus thousands of Hessians.


In terms of participants, this was the largest battle in the war.

Around 40,000 people fought in the Battle of Long Island, making it the largest battle in the war. This is followed by the Battles of Brandywine and Yorktown, with 30,000 and 27,000 people, respectively.


Explore More Quizzes

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!