Hessians, in American history, troops hired by the British from various German princes to fight in the American Revolution. Because most of them came from the states of Hesse-Kassel and Hesse-Darmstadt, they were all called Hessians. Over the course of the Revolutionary War, the German princes supplied about 30,000 men to the British.
At first, Americans detested the Hessians as mercenaries; later they came to respect them as well-trained troops, led by experienced officers. Hessians fought in almost every major campaign of the war. Washington defeated a Hessian contingent at their encampment in Trenton in December, 1776. During the war, more than 7,000 were killed. After the war, more than 5,000, mainly deserters and former prisoners of war, remained in the United States, eventually becoming citizens.