The Shot Heard Round the World

'Battle on Lexington Green' as painted by William Barnes Wollen
'Battle on Lexington Green' as painted by William Barnes Wollen

Historical Context

The American Revolutionary War began on April 19, 1775, with a battle between British soldiers and American revolutionaries at Concord and Lexington in Massachusetts. The first shot of the war - the so-called "shot heard 'round the world" is not actually known to history. The term comes from a poem, "Concord Hymn", by Ralph Waldo Emerson:

"By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world."

The bridge in question is North Bridge, in Concord, where it is established that the first shots by American soldiers acting under orders were taken, as well as the first British fatalities and retreat.

The war would end eight years later with the independence of a new country born of the Thirteen Colonies - the United States of America.

Painting Info

Artist: William Barnes Wollen
Location painted: Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts, USA


Related Events

  • 1775-04-19 American Revolution begins in Lexington, Massachusetts. The "Shot Heard Round the World" takes place later that day in Concord

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