Timeline for the American War of Independence as a Global War

European Theatre - Gibraltar - English Channel - Africa - Asia

1781, April 16
Battle of Porto Praya, Cape Verde Islands.

A French fleet under the Bailli de Suffren fought Royal Navy vessels under Commodore George Johnstone.

While the French fleet sustained more damage than the British, the battle was inconclusive. Johnstone tried to pursue the French, but was forced to call it off in order to repair the damage his ships had taken.

The French gained a strategic victory, since Suffren beat Johnstone to the Cape of Good Hope and reinforced the Dutch garrison there before continuing on his journey to the Ile de France (now Mauritius).
1781, April 16

European Theatre - Gibraltar - English Channel

January

1781, January 7
A French force under Belgian Philippe de Rullecourt (* 1744) lands on the British island of Jersey in the English Channel. The assault fails and Rullecourt is killed.
1781, January 7
1780, January 16
Admiral Rodney defeats Spanish fleet off Cape St Vincent.
1780, January 16

February

1782, February 5
A combined French and Spanish force captures the island of Minorca following a siege that had begun on 19 August 1781.
1782, February 5

March

April

1779, April 12
Spain enters into the Convention of Aranjuez with France.
1779, April 12
1781, April 16
Naval battle of Porto Praya, Cape Verde Islands.
1781, April 16

May

1779, May 1
A joint Franco-Dutch attempt led by Charles Christian, Prince of Nassau-Weilburg (1735-1788) to capture the island of Jersey in the English Channel fails.
1779, May 1

June

1779, June 21
Spain declares war against Great Britain as an ally of France, not of the United States.
1779, June 21
1779, June 24
A combined Franco-Spanish force totaling as many as 33,000 soldiers and 30,000 sailors and Marines begins a 43-month long siege of Gibraltar which only ends on 7 February 1783.
1779, June 24

July

August

1781, August 18
A combined Franco-Spanish force invades the island of Minorca in the Mediterranean and lays siege to Fort St. Philip.
1781, August 18

September

1782, September 13
A joint Franco-Spanish force of some 30,000 sailors on 18 Ships-of-the Line, 40 gun-boats and ten floating batteries and about 28,000 Spanish and 7,000 – 8,000 French land forces launch a massive attack on Gibraltar, which is defended by about 7,500 Crown forces. The attack failed.

For comparison: At Yorktown in October 1781, a French fleet of 24 Ships of the Line and supporting frigates with around 24,000 sailors and 5,200 men Line infantry doing duty as marines, supported around 9,150 Continental Army forces (incl. 3,300 Militia) and 9,250 French forces in their siege of around 8,100 Crown forces (incl. 840 naval personnel) under Lord Cornwallis. Cornwallis surrenders on 19 October.
1782, September 13

October

November

December

Caribbean – West Indies – American Mainland (excluding territory of the 13 United States in 1776)

West Indian Theatre of War

January

1781, January 7
A Spanish force under Bernardo de Gálvez y Madrid (1746- 1786) captures Mobile and Biloxi from British.
1781, January 7
1782, January 11 - February 12
French forces capture of the British islands of Saint 5 Kitts, St. Martin, Nevis & Montserrat. The fortress on Brimstone Hill on St. Kitts surrenders on 12 February.
1782, January 11 - February 12
1782, January 22
French occupy Dutch settlements of Demerara and Essequibo on the Guiana coast of South America, seized by British in early 1781. The operation is completed by 5 February 1782.
1782, January 22
1782, January 22
French occupy Dutch settlements of Demerara and Essequibo on the Guiana coast of South America, seized by British in early 1781. The operation is completed by 5 February 1782.
1782, January 22
1779, January
British capture French islands of St Martin and St. Barthelemy.
1779, January

February

1780, February 2 - 3
British forces capture the Dutch island of St. Eustatius.
1780, February 2 - 3
1780, February 4
British naval forces take Dutch islands of St. Maarten and Saba.
1780, February 4
1783, February 12
French forces capture Turks and Caicos Islands.
1783, February 12
1782, February 20
French forces capture island of Nevis.
1782, February 20
1782, February 22
French forces capture island of Monserrat.
1782, February 22
1779, February 24
French forces capture island of St. Martin.
1779, February 24
1779, February 28
French forces capture island of St. Barthelemy.
1779, February 28

March

1781, March 9
Spanish forces occupy island of Santa Rosa off Pensacola.
1781, March 9
1782, March 16
Spanish forces capture British Caribbean islands of Roatan, Providence Island and St. Andrew’s Island.
1782, March 16
1781, March 18
Spanish forces under Gálvez lay siege to Pensacola.
1781, March 18
1781, March
Tupac Katari launches rebellion against Spanish in Bolivia.
1781, March

April

1782, April 12
Royal Navy squadron under Admiral Sir George Brydges Rodney, 1st Baron Rodney defeats French squadron under François-Joseph Paul, marquis de Grasse Tilly, comte de Grasse in Battle of the Saints.
1782, April 12
1782, April 17, May 15 & 19
British and French forces engage in naval battles off Martinique.
1782, April 17, May 15 & 19
1780, April 29
Spanish forces surrender San Juan, Costa Rica to Lt. Horatio 6 Nelson; British withdrawal begins on 30 November 1780.
1780, April 29
Casualties
More than 2,500 British soldiers and sailors died between April and December 1780, making the San Juan expedition the costliest British campaign in human lives of the war.

Bunker Hill: 226 killed, 828 wounded. Total: 1,054

Saratoga: 440 killed, 695 wounded. Total: 1,135 (about 6,200 are taken prisoners)

Monmouth: 304 killed, 770 wounded, Total: 1,074 (about 60 are taken prisoners)

Trenton: 22 killed, 83 wounded, Total: 105 (almost 900 are taken prisoners)

Princeton: 100 killed, 70 wounded. Total: 170

Cowpens: 110 killed, 229 wounded. Total: 339

Guilford Court House: 93 killed, 413 wounded, Total: 506

Yorktown: 309 killed, 326 wounded. Total: 635 (about 7,700 are taken prisoners)
Casualties
1782, April 13 – August 23
The Battle of Black River for control of the Black River settlement, on the Caribbean coast of present-day Honduras.
1782, April 13 – August 23
1782, April 18
Joint Spanish-American fleet captures Nassau in the Bahamas. This was the third time the island changed hands, having been captured by an American force on 3/4 March 1776, and by a 7 Spanish force under Galvez on 6 May 1782.
1782, April 18
1782, April 19
French forces join Spanish forces outside Pensacola.
1782, April 19

May

1781, May 8
Spanish and French forces capture Pensacola.
1781, May 8
1781, May 10-12
French raid on St. Lucia.
1781, May 10-12
1781, May 26
Spanish and French forces capture Pensacola.
1781, May 26

June

1781, June 2
French capture island of Tobago.
1781, June 2
1781, June 16 - 18
French forces capture island of St. Vincent.
1781, June 16 - 18

July

1781, July 2 - 4
French under Admiral d’Estaing capture island of Grenada.
1781, July 2 - 4

August

September

1778, September 7
French forces under François Claude Amour, marquis de Bouillé capture the island of Dominica.
1778, September 7
Note
A committed Royalist, Bouillé is the only person mentioned by name in the French national anthem La Marseillaise where he is vilified in the 5th stanza:

French original

Français, en guerriers magnanimes, Portez ou retenez vos coups ! Épargnez ces tristes victimes, À regret s'armant contre nous. (bis) Mais ces despotes sanguinaires, Mais ces complices de Bouillé Tous ces tigres qui, sans pitié, Déchirent le sein de leur mère!

English translation

Frenchmen, as magnanimous warriors, Bear or hold back your blows! Spare these sorry victims, Arming against us with regrets. (repeat) But these bloodthirsty despots, But these accomplices of Bouillé, All these tigers who, mercilessly, Rip their mother's breast!
Note
1778, September 14
British capture islands of St. Pierre-et-Miquelon off the coast of 8 Newfoundland.
1778, September 14
1779, September 15
Spanish forces take Cayo Cocina (also known as Saint George's Caye) off the coast of present-day Belize.
1779, September 15
1779, September 21
Spanish forces under Bernardo de Galvez capture Baton Rouge.
1779, September 21

October

1777, October 1
Spain and Portugal sign Treaty of San Ildefonso ending their land dispute in Brazil.
1777, October 1
1779, October 16
British forces take San Fernando de Omoa on the Gulf of Honduras. They abandon the fort again in late November 1779.
1779, October 16

November

1776, November
Large Spanish force leaves to invade Ilha Santa Catarina, Brazil in a land dispute; since British are Portuguese allies, this could result in British war against Spain.
1776, November
1776, November 16
“Stars and Stripes” saluted by Johannes de Graaff, Dutch governor of St. Eustatius, St. Maarten and Saba as USS Andrea Doria enters harbor of St. Eustatius.
1776, November 16
1781, November 26
French forces under the marquis de Bouillé capture Dutch island of St. Eustatius/Statia.
1781, November 26

December

1778, December 13/14
British naval forces capture the island of St. Lucia. A French attempt on 18 December to retake the island fails.
1778, December 13/14
1778, December 13
French forces under the duc de Lauzun capture St. Louis in Senegal.
1778, December 13
1780, December 20
Britain declares war on the Netherlands, commencing the Fourth Anglo-Dutch War since 1652.
1780, December 20
1781, December
Admiral Suffren arrives in Dutch-owned Capetown before Commodore George Johnstone, preventing a British capture.
1781, December

India – Sri Lanka - Pacific

East Indian Theatre of War

January

1782 , January 8
Trincomalee in Ceylon/Sri Lanka is captured by British forces under Admiral Sir Edward Hughes.
1782 , January 8

February

1782, February 17 - 18
Naval battle of Sedras off the coast of Madras between French forces under the Bailli de Suffren and Royal Navy vessels under Admiral Hughes.
1782, February 17 - 18
1782, February 18
Tipu Sultan defeats British force at Battle of Annagudi.
1782, February 18

March

1779, March 19
British capture of French base at Mahe.
1779, March 19
1783, March – July
French participate in capture of Voloze and siege of Mangalore.
1783, March – July

April

1782, April 12
Naval battle of Providien off the coast of Ceylon/Sri Lanka again pits Suffren against Hughes.
1782, April 12
1783, April 20
Marquis de Bussy leads French forces to assist Sultan Tipu at siege of Cuddalore.
1783, April 20

May

June

1783, June 20
British and French naval battle off Cuddalore.
1783, June 20

July

1781, July 1
British forces defeat Hyder Ali in Battle of Porto Novo.
1781, July 1
1781, July 4 and 21
Naval Battle of Saldanha off South Africa. Commodore George Johnstone takes six loaded Dutch East India Company vessels on their way to the Netherlands.
1781, July 4 and 21
1782, July 6
Naval battle of Negapatam off the coast of India again pits Suffren against Hughes.
1782, July 6
1780, July 10
Hyder Ali of Mysore declares war on Britain.
1780, July 10

August

1778, August 21 - October 19
Successful British siege of Pondicherry.
1778, August 21 - October 19
1782, August 25-30
French besiege and capture Trincomalee (Ceylon/Sri Lanka.)
1782, August 25-30

September

1780, September 10
Hyder Ali defeats British forces in Battle of Pollilur.
1780, September 10
1781, September 27
British forces defeat Hyder Ali in Battle of Sholinghur.
1781, September 27

October

1778, October 19
British capture Pondicherry from the French.
1778, October 19
1778, October 21 - November 11
Successful British siege of the Dutch at Negapatam.
1778, October 21 - November 11

November

December

1778, December 13
French forces under the duc de Lauzun capture St. Louis in Senegal.
1778, December 13
1781, December
Admiral Suffren arrives in Dutch-owned Capetown before Commodore George Johnstone, preventing a British capture.
1781, December