After the end of the Seven Years’ War there was no longer a threat of French invasion in North America, and the English colonies no longer needed the British army and navy for protection. The England demanded, however, that the colonists pay heavy taxes on their imports and trade. Colonists were unhappy with this and they wanted to be able to elect representatives to parliament as other Englishmen could. Colonists protested, and one famous riot became known as the Boston massacre when British soldiers sent to keep order killed five members of the crowd. Many rebelled by refusing to pay the taxes, and protested by dumping a heavily taxed good, tea, into Boston harbour in what became known as the Boston Tea Party. When Britain did nothing to improve the situation for colonists, they rebelled.
Not all the colonists agreed that independence was the best idea. Some people worried that Catholics would not be given religious freedom, others wanted to be ruled by the King and have the protection of the British Empire. People in each of the colonies worried that the rebels (who called themselves patriots) were dangerous and would bring about chaos, and therefore could not be trusted.

On July 4th, 1776 representatives of the thirteen colonies met in Philadelphia to issue a Declaration of Independence and announce their willingness to fight to become a separate country. The colonies demanded that they be given the independence to rule themselves, but Britain would not give up such profitable colonies. The War of Independence began.
The American rebels considered themselves patriots fighting the British Army for their freedom. Between 1775 and 1783 battles were fought across the colonies and as far north as the city of Quebec. George Washington lead the Continental Army, fighting British soldiers, loyal British subjects and French colonists tricked into joining the British army.

The American Revolution was a catalyst for great change on the continent. By 1783 the war was over and thirteen colonies (New York had later joined) became the original states of the United States of America, a new country. The United States of America did not welcome those who had opposed the rebels during the war. The Loyalist would have to leave and their departure would greatly influence the colonies to the north, the future country of Canada.

In a Nutshell

The Thirteen Colonies were:
New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.

Visit Society section Thirteen Colonies around 1745