Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.
So go the first verses of Paul Revere's Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
On April 18, 1775, it is unlikely Paul Revere cried out, "The British are coming!" as the American colonists at this time considered themselves British subjects and such a warning would only confuse them.
The following day, April 19, 1775, the battles of Lexington and Concord would the first military engagements of the American Revolutionary War.
The phrase "the shot heard around the world" comes from Ralph Waldo Emerson, whose grandfather fought in the Battle of Lexington and Concord:
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.
from Concord Hymn
Today, this phrase that has come to represent historical incidents throughout world history.
As for summing up what happened 235 years ago and the start of the American Revolution, The Shot Heard Round the World- Schoolhouse Rock shows it best:
God bless the patriots who gave us America!
For more information: Lexington and Concord
Timeline of the Revolutionary War: 1754 - 1788
photo from everystockphoto.com : "Minuteman" Statue, Concord, MA