Why Was the Battle of Yorktown Important?

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The Battle of Yorktown was important because it triggered the point of final surrender for British forces. The battle was the last major conflict during the American Revolution, and its outcome in favor of the Americans effectively sealed the British loss. British casualties in this battle were nearly twice those of the Americans.

British forces continued to fight in places after the Battle of Yorktown, but back in Britain, the public began turning against the war. The following year saw a Parliament elected that was pro-American, and peace negotiations soon followed, leading to the Treaty of Paris.

The Battle of Yorktown was a significant victory for the Americans because it disabled a sizable force of 7,500 men led by Lieutenant General Lord Charles Cornwallis. General Washington chose to attack this force because it was isolated from reinforcements thanks to the French naval blockade. The combined French and American army marched on Yorktown on Sept. 28, 1781. On October 17 of this same year, Cornwallis surrendered his forces. Upon meeting with Washington after surrendering, Cornwallis attempted to gain favorable terms, but he was refused as Washington instead demanded the harsher terms previously imposed by British forces against an American general the previous year.