Treaty of Paris 1783 | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Treaty of Paris 1783

The Treaty of Paris was signed on 3 September 1783. It concluded the American Revolution. Additionally, it established a boundary between the United States and British North America. The agreement gave the United States lands reserved for Indigenous peoples. This transfer betrayed earlier treaties and alliances between the British and Indigenous peoples.

Aspects of the Treaty of Paris 1783

On 3 September 1783, Britain acknowledged American independence. This treaty recognized a boundary between British North America and the United States. The boundary went along the centre of the four Great Lakes (Ontario, Erie, Huron and Superior). The boundary ran from Lake of the Woods "due west" to what they imagined was the Mississippi's headwaters. It then went south along the Mississippi River. The Americans negotiated through Charles Gravier, the French comte de Vergennes. These negotiations obtained fishing rights off Newfoundland and access to the eastern banks of the Mississippi. In turn, they promised restitution and compensation to British Loyalists.

Britain gave the United States the valuable lands it had reserved for Indigenous peoples. These lands were reserved in the Royal Proclamation of 1763. This ignored numerous treaties made with Indigenous peoples. Indigenous peoples were not invited to the Paris negotiations. Many Indigenous people were surprised by this betrayal.

Between Britain and the United States, the treaty proved ineffective. Britain retained its western posts until after Jay’s Treaty (1794). Britain denied the United States free navigation of the St Lawrence River. The Americans largely ignored their promises to the Loyalists. Many Loyalists settled in Canada. Nevertheless, Britain soon resumed trading with, and investing in, the new republic.