The American colonists won the Battle of Saratoga against the British Army and its German allies. Though the British won the first encounter on Sept. 19, 1777, they lost when they attacked again on Oct. 7.
Surrounded by American troops and outnumbered three to one, the British leader, General John Burgoyne, surrendered to the colonial troops under General Horatio Gates. The victory was a crucial part of the American Revolution because it showed the French that the colonial troops could fight and win against the larger and wealthier army of the British. The French king, Louis XVI, began negotiations to enter the war on the American side, providing the upstart country with a powerful ally and helping to divert British forces from the colonies to defend British interests in the Caribbean, Europe and Asia.