The American Revolution officially ended when the representatives of the United States, Great Britain, Spain and France signed the Treaty of Paris on September 3, 1783. The signing signified America’s status as a free nation, Great Britain formally recognizing the independence of its country. Thirteen former American colonies and the boundaries of the new republic were agreed: Florida in the north to the Great Lakes and the Atlantic coast in the west to the Mississippi River.

The events leading up to the treaty date back to April 1775, on a common green in Lexington, Massachusetts, when American settlers responded to King George III’s refusal to grant them political and economic reform with an armed revolution. On July 4, 1776, more than a year after the firing of the first salvos of the war, the Second Continental Congress officially adopted the Declaration of Independence. Five difficult years later, in October 1781, British General Charles Lord Cornwallis surrendered to American and French forces at Yorktown, Virginia, ending the last great battle of the Revolution.


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