Patriotic primer: How well do you know the facts about the American Revolution?

As American families gather to celebrate our glorious freedoms this weekend, a 13-

question history quiz about the War for Independence may serve as a source of fun and lively discussion.

  1. Why were British troops sent to Boston in 1768?

The troops were sent to help officials enforce the Townshend Acts, a series of laws passed by the British Parliament. These laws were to make colonial governors and judges independent of colonial control, to create a more effective means of enforcing compliance with trade regulations, and to establish the controversial precedent that Parliament had the right to tax the colonies.

Colonists objected that the Townshend Acts were a violation of the natural, charter and constitutional rights of British subjects in the colonies. Boston was a center of the resistance.

  1. What was the largest city in the American colonies and the first capital of the United States?

Philadelphia. (Boston and New York followed in size.)

  1. At the outbreak of The Revolutionary War, what states comprised the 13 colonies?

New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.

The oldest was Virginia, founded in 1607 by The London Company; next came Massachusetts, founded as Plymouth Colony in 1620, settled by the Pilgrims; and Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630, settled by the Puritans. They were united in 1691, and annexed Maine.

  1. What crop served as the backbone of the Southern colonies?

Tobacco. Ships from England collected the tobacco and delivered in exchange goods that enabled the most successful planters to maintain the lavish lifestyle of English country gentlemen. More than 50 percent of the Southern colonial population was composed of African slaves.

  1. What war, fought in Europe, India and the West Indies, left Britain with great debts that led the British government to tax the American colonies to reduce that debt?

The French and Indian War, 1755 to 1762, saw the French forced out of Canada, with Britain assuming government of the French population, and the American colonies released from the threat of French invasion and dominance. France had a powerful base along the St. Lawrence Seaway in Canada and the western borders of New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia. This kept the colonies and the British Crown in uneasy alliance.

  1. Why did the citizens of Boston throw a famous Tea Party?

Angry and frustrated over a new tax on tea, colonists calling themselves the Sons of Liberty and disguised as Mohawk Native Americans boarded three British ships (the Dartmouth, the Eleanor and the Beaver) and dumped 342 crates of British tea into Boston Harbor on Dec. 16, 1773. Similar incidents occurred in Maryland, New York and New Jersey in the next few months, and tea was eventually boycotted throughout the colonies.

  1. What triggered the Boston Massacre?

The Boston Massacre, on March 5, 1770, was a pre-Revolutionary incident growing out of the resentment against the British troops. The troops, constantly tormented by gangs, finally fired into a rioting crowd and killed five men — three on the spot, two died of wounds later.

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