In the 1700s a large area of North America, in what is now known as the USA, was controlled and governed by Britain. In 1765, the British government changed the tax rules for the people living in these American colonies. Large numbers of colonial Americans refused to pay these taxes, complaining they had no representation in the British Parliament and therefore no say over decisions made about their lives. A period of unrest followed with Americans boycotting British goods and staging protests, as well as electing delegates to a new Congress (colony-wide meeting). Britain responded by imposing increasingly tight regulations and sending more and more British troops to the American colonies. In 1775 military troops from many of the colonies fought back, beginning a war that escalated into the American Revolution.
In 1776, thirteen colonies came together and declared themselves as a new nation – the United States of America, rejecting the sovereignty of George III over them. Britain eventually admitted defeat, and a new republican nation was established, with George Washington as its first president. It would be a long road to the USA we recognise today, but the American Revolution proved that it was possible to defy Britain, one of the mightiest powers on earth. The Constitution and Bill of Rights drawn up at this time are still held up as a model and an epitome of freedom and liberalism.