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This Day in Georgia History

November 30, 1782

Agreement to End American Revolution

American and British negotiators finally agreed to preliminary articles for a treaty to end the American Revolution. Those articles included a cessation of hostilities, British recognition of the independence of the American states, and agreement on the boundaries of the United States. The two sides also agreed to a secret article that affected Georgia’s southern boundary west of the Chattahoochee River. If Spain allowed Britain to retain her two Florida colonies, the northern boundary of West Florida would continue as it was prior to the American Revolution - a line marked at latitude 32° 22’ N stretching from the Chattahoochee River to the Mississippi River. If, however, Spain insisted on the return of the two Floridas, West Florida’s northern boundary would return to 31° (as originally stipulated in the Treaty of Paris of 1763). Thus, a substantial area of Georgia’s western territory was at stake. Unfortunately, no one consulted Spain, which expected to claim the entire area of West Florida for its role in defeating the British. The secret agreement would plague U.S.-Spanish relations until 1795, when Spain finally agreed to give up its claim to western Georgia north of the 31st parallel. For the complete story of this boundary dispute, see Marion R. Hemperley and Edwin L. Jackson, Georgia Boundaries: The Shaping of a State (Athens: Carl Vinson Institute of Government, University of Georgia, 1993), pp. 23-30).

Image of Agreement to End American Revolution View large image
Source: Carl Vinson Institute of Government