The Shot Heard Around the World
In April of 1775, tensions in the colonies were very high. Many of the 13 colonies had begun to raise armies in order to defend themselves against the possibility of war with Great Britain. Colonists in Boston had suffered more than many of the other colonists.
In response to the Boston Tea Party, Great Britain had closed down the Boston Harbor. The result was that life in Boston became very difficult. Many who lived there had lost their jobs. British troops were also being sent to Boston in mass. In order to house these troops, Bostonians were forced to let them live in their homes and eat their food.
As tensions rose, officials in Great Britain ordered the governor of Massachusetts to send troops to Boston, and take possession of the weapons and ammunition that the colonists had gathered in a stock house.
The British soldiers were the best trained military force on Earth. They also had superior weapons. Everyone in Great Britain expected that they would have little difficulty marching to Boston to take these ammunitions.
Colonists in Boston had prepared themselves for any military actions by Great Britain. They had formed a group of soldiers known as Minutemen. These Minutemen were made up of farmers, shop owners and peasants, who could be called upon to respond with just a minute's notice.
Minutemen were called to stand against the British troops. As the two armies faced each other, someone fired a shot. No one knows who fired it, or which side they were on. This shot became known as the shot heard around the world, and it touched off a conflict that would help further the tensions between Great Britain and her colonies.
As the British troops began advancing towards where the ammunition and weapons were being stored, Paul Revere and William Dawes rode ahead of them shouting, "The Redcoats are coming!"
Their warning allowed the colonists the time they needed to get the Minutemen in place along the route. Hiding behind trees and buildings, these Minutemen were able to easily defeat the British soldiers, who were marching in formation in the open.
The defeat of the British military humiliated Great Britain and energized the colonists, showing them that it was possible to win their independence militarily.