Sunday, September 03, 2006

Today is an important day in American history. We all know and celebrate the 4th of July and some may even observe other days of note, but today, The United States of America officially became a nation. For on this date, September 3rd, 1783, the Second Treaty of Paris was signed by John Jay, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Henry Laurens and William Temple Franklin (no relation to Ben) The treaty officially recognized the thirteen American colonies as free and independent states and established the boundries between this country and British North America. It also granted fishing rights to all Americans in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and off the coast of Newfoundland. Without these fishing rights, the infant states would have had a very much tougher economic plight.We might not have made it past the first ten years without these very important fishing privleges! In addition, all debts were to be paid by each others side, confisicated lands seized after the date of the treaty were to be returned or paid for, prisoners on both sides were to released and here's a surprise: Both Great Britain and the United States were each to be given perpetual access to the Mississippi River. At the same time, Brittan signed agreements with France, Spain and the Netherlands. The colonies of East and West Florida were ceded to Spain. The Bahamas and the island of Saint Kitts were returned to Brittan-- who owns them to this day! Sumatra was ceeded to the Netherlands. Congress signed the treaty on January 14th, 1784 and the British took until April 9th of the same year. Isn't it amazing that everyone assumes our country began in 1776 with a simple Declaration of Independence! But it was not. England took until March of 1782-- almost six years after this Declaration to decide that she would no longer use military force to try and regain control of the thirteen colonies. Our first war was the longest one other than Vietnam. By the way, the reason the painting by Benjamin West in the blog today looks incomplete is simply because it is! The British refused to pose as the treaty was signed-- still angry over losing the thirteen colonies-- and yet today she is one our strongest allies. And so the treaty was signed today by each side's representitives but the official end of the Revolutionary War did not take place officially until April 9th, 1784 when the treaty itself had been finally ratified by the British government and good old demonic King George III. American history is fascinating. We all should be aware of what it has taught us. Well off to my old neighborhood today as I visit the San Gabriel Mission for its annual fiesta-- its great fund raiser. I'm going to buy a raffle ticket for the big cash prize for both myself and Tim Doran my arranger-- who knows-- maybe one of us will win! Play a little bingo too! My sweet dear mother sure loved to do that when she was alive! And oh yes-- my very favorite I will be buying their amazing roast beef sandwich. You can't believe how good this is! Well, Bye for now!!

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