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.
- Meeting in Paris, Benjamin Franklin invites Princess Yekaterina Vorontsova-Dashkova to become the first woman member of the American Philosophical Society.
- 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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