1781 in the United States
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|1781 in the United States|
|Years:||1778 1779 1780 – 1781 – 1782 1783 1784|
13 stars, the Betsy Ross version (1777–95)
Events from the year 1781 in the United States.
- January 2 – Virginia passes a law ceding its western land claims, paving the way for Maryland to ratify the Articles of Confederation.
- January 5 – American Revolution – Richmond, Virginia is burned by British naval forces led by Benedict Arnold.
- January 17 – American Revolution – Battle of Cowpens: Americans under Daniel Morgan defeat British forces.
- February 2 – The Articles of Confederation are ratified by Maryland, the 13th and final state to do so.
- March 1 – The United States Continental Congress implements the Articles of Confederation, forming its Perpetual Union as the United States in Congress Assembled.
- March 15 – American Revolution – Battle of Guilford Court House: American General Nathanael Greene loses to the British.
- June 3 – American Revolution – Jack Jouett begins a "midnight ride" to warn Thomas Jefferson and the Virginia legislature of approaching British cavalry led by Banastre Tarleton who have been sent to capture them.
- July 29 – American Revolution – Skirmish at the House in the Horseshoe: A Tory force under David Fanning attacks Phillip Alston's smaller force of Whigs at Alston's home in Cumberland County, North Carolina (in present day Moore County, North Carolina). Alston's troops surrender after Fanning's men attempt to ram the house with a cart of burning straw.
- August 30 – American Revolution: A French fleet under Comte de Grasse enters Chesapeake Bay, cutting British General Charles Cornwallis off from escape by sea.
- September 4 – Los Angeles is founded as El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora La Reina de Los Ángeles de Porciuncula (City of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels of Porciuncula) by a group of 44 Spanish settlers.
- September 5 – American Revolution – Battle of the Chesapeake: A British fleet under Thomas Graves arrives and fights de Grasse, but is unable to break through to relieve the Siege of Yorktown.
- September 6 – American Revolution – Battle of Groton Heights: The British army attacks a fort in Groton, Connecticut.
- September 10 – American Revolution: Graves gives up trying to break through the now-reinforced French fleet and returns to New York, leaving Cornwallis to his fate.
- September 28 – American Revolution: American and French troops begin a siege of the British at Yorktown, Virginia.
- October 19 – American Revolution: Following the Siege of Yorktown, General Charles Cornwallis surrenders to General George Washington at Yorktown, Virginia, ending the armed struggle of the American Revolution.
- November 5 – John Hanson is elected President of the Continental Congress.
- December – A school is founded in Washington County, Pennsylvania that would later be known as Washington & Jefferson College.
- Bank of North America is chartered by the Continental Congress.
- Reverend Samuel Peters publishes his General History of Connecticut, using the term blue law for the first time.
- August 23 – John M. Berrien, United States Senator from Georgia from 1841 till 1852. (died 1856)
- October 2 – William Wyatt Bibb, United States Senator from Georgia from 1813 till 1816. (died 1820)
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