This month we welcome acclaimed Revolutionary War novelist Lars Hedbor to the blog.


The American War of Independence Around the World

by Lars Hedbor



Which of the following were locations where incidents directly connected to the American War of Independence took place?


a)      Bermuda

b)      Senegal

c)      The Rock of Gibraltar

d)      San Juan, Costa Rica

e)      Pensacola

f)      Minorca

g)     Cuddalore, India

h)     All of the above

If you answered “All of the above,” you were completely correct!


Why were so many nations involved?


The American War of Independence rapidly grew beyond a confrontation between American rebels and the British Crown, with the French entering the war allied with the future United States, and Spain declaring war on Britain in alliance with France.  As all three colonial empires had holdings and interests across the globe, the war came to have a global scale.


Highlights from the 18th century “World War”


The Bermuda Powder Raid of 1775 involved Bermudan businessmen, who were both sympathetic to the American cause, and eager to restore trade with North America.  After brokering a secret deal with Ben Franklin, they broke into the Crown’s store of gunpowder and handed the powder over to ships sent by the Americans.  Most of what we know about this incident comes from the outraged proclamations and official letters sent by the loyal British governor, and despite substantial rewards, none of the plotters were ever definitively identified.


In 1778, French forces retook the capital, Saint-Louis, of Senegal, their former colony in West Africa.  The British had taken Senegal in 1758 during the Seven Years’ War (known in North America as the French and Indian War), and France was eager to restore their dominion over the colony.


The Rock of Gibraltar was the scene of the longest siege in history, with the French and Spanish attempting in vain to seize this crucial outpost at the mouth of the Mediterranean from Britain.  As many as 33,000 soldiers and 30,000 sailors besieged the island from June of 1779 through February 1783.



The later infamous British naval officer Horatio Nelson, along with Major John Polson, undertook a campaign in 1780 to take Granada, in the Spanish province of Nicaragua, in order to divide Spanish holdings in the Americas, and gain access to the Pacific Ocean.  Despite success at Fort San Juan (today part of Costa Rica), the force was decimated by yellow fever, and with the loss of 2,500 men, the San Juan expedition was the greatest British disaster of the war.


Pensacola, in modern-day Florida (and then part of the loyal British colony of West-Florida), was besieged and taken in 1781 by the Spanish under the heroic leadership of Bernardo de Gálvez, in the culmination of his incredible campaign along the Gulf Coast to deny the British access to attack American forces from the West.



The Mediterranean island of Minorca was seized by a joint French and Spanish force in 1782, and was ceded to the Spanish at the end of the war.  The British retook it in 1798, but it returned to Spanish hands in 1802, where it remains today.


The Siege of Cuddalore, India was the very last confrontation in the American War of Independence, pitting British and French-allied forces against each other in India.  The siege took place in 1783, after the signing of the Treaty of Paris that ended the war, but before word of the peace had reached the distant outposts in India.  It ended when news of the outbreak of peace reached them, bringing the long war to a final – if little-known – conclusion.




Thank you, Lars! At Saratoga National Historical Park in New York, I saw a wonderful display about the worldwide reach of the American Revolution, including the photos above. I recommend a visit.   Vern


About Lars D. H. Hedbor


Hedbor is the leading novelist of the American Revolution, with sixteen books in print, each of which is set in a different colony or future state.  In addition to writing about Bernardo de Gálvez’s Gulf Coast campaign in The Wind, his most recent novel, The Powder, is a telling of the story of the Bermuda Powder Raid.  You can find more about Hedbor on his Web site at  His books are available at all online booksellers, and are published in ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audio formats.  To get signed and personalized copies of his books, you can go to