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VICTORY: Britain concedes America’s independence, signs Treaty of Paris

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PARIS; SEPTEMBER 3, 1783— In a monumentous event that will surely change the balance of power in Europe and across the globe, the British government has signed a treaty recognizing the independence of its former colony, the United States of America.

America’s recognition as an independent country formalizes what has long been considered a foregone conclusion since the surrender of Lord Cornwallis’ forces in Yorktown, Virginia. After Cornwallis’ military disaster, the British government has faced considerable unrest and upheaval, which saw the government of Lord North fall in favor of the Earl of Shelburne, who promptly began negotiations with the American diplomatic team of John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and John Jay. Adams had been dispatched to France in 1779 for peace talks that were at that time still very premature. Adams ran personally afoul of French diplomat Charles Gravier, Count of Vergennes, and sources indicate that the bulk of negotiating with the French was carried out by Franklin and Jay.

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