In 2000, singer Nathan Nicholson left the United States after the death of his mother and moved to the United Kingdom in London. A chance meeting with lead guitarist Todd Howe in London's 12 Bar Club resulted in the creation of a firm friendship and the beginnings of a band.
Writing together and living together, they attracted the attention of bassist Adam Harrison and drummer Piers Hewitt, friends from college. Their first project was known as The Slippermen. They produced a single and an EP, named "Lens" and The Traveler respectively, but received limited commercial success.
After rebranding to The Boxer Rebellion and with a massive overhaul in their sound they reworked their ensemble and started building a fan-base. As a result of the PlayLouder competition, in June 2003, the band played the Glastonbury New Bands tent ahead of Keane. Shortly after this appearance they were signed by Alan McGee to his Poptones record label.
Following the release of their debut EP, the band were to embark on a tour with The Killers, but while on tour with The Raveonettes Nathan became seriously ill with a burst appendix which required 5 hours of surgery and months of recovery forcing them to cancel the forthcoming tour with The Killers..
After three singles following their debut EP, their first full length album, Exits, was released on May 2, 2005. "Watermelon", seen as the band's signature track, was featured on The Football Factory soundtrack (along with Razorlight, The Libertines, and The Buzzcocks).
Two weeks after the album was released the Poptomes label imploded, rendering the band without a label which they announced at a gig at the ICA on May 16. They have been unsigned ever since.
The band continued financing their own gigs and playing throughout the UK and mainland Europe. While having support slots for such artists as Editors, Lenny Kravitz, and Gary Numan, the band continued writing and recording.
Their music can be heard on Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman's second motorcycle adventure, Long Way Down.
They released their self-funded second album Union on iTunes in January 2009.