Independence Day is one of the most important of all American holidays. That's the day that we celebrate our independence from England, who once controlled all of the new colonies in the New World. In 1773, there were only 13 colonies in America. About 2 million people lived in those colonies and all 2 million people had to pay taxes to England. The people believed this was unjust because even though they paid taxes they had no say in the way they were being governed. They thought England was a cruel task master and so the colonists began complaining. They decided that they would no longer pay such heavy taxes to England. A popular saying at that time was, "No taxation without representation.
The most famous and the most hated tax was on the tea that came from England. One night when three English ships loaded with tea was dock in Boston Harbor, some Americans dressed like Indians went aboard the ships and threw all the tea into the water. This became known as "the Boston tea party." This was seen as an act of treason by the English Crown and England sent many soldiers to America. The English soldiers killed many Americans in what is now called the Boston Massacre.
After the Boston Massacre, the colonists formed the Constitutional Congress which decided that America should declare its independence from England. Thomas Jefferson was appointed to write the Declaration of Independence which was signed July 4, 1776. But this did not guarantee America's freedom from England. Only after defeating England in a war that lasted for five years was America free from England's control. The British army surrendered to General Washington at Yorktown, Virginia in late 1781. The Treaty of Paris, which gave America its own sovereignty, was signed in 1783.