(NEWS10) — Happy Ratification Day! Every year, the U.S. celebrates January 14 as ‘Ratification Day,’ a holiday celebrating the ratification of the Treaty of Paris by the U.S. Continental Congress, ending the Revolutionary War and establishing the United States as an independent nation.
Here are 10 facts you may not know about the pivotal document upon which the independence of the United States is based.
- Ratification Day celebrates the ratification of the Treaty of Paris by the Continental Congress on January 14, 1784, ending the Revolutionary war.
- The treaty was drafted and signed in Paris on September 3, 1783, more than one year after the last shots of the war were fired.
- France, Spain, and the Netherlands also signed separate treaties with Britain.
- The Continental Congress gathered at the Maryland State house in Annapolis for the pivotal vote.
- Richard Beresford of South Carolina traveled from his sickbed in Philadelphia to vote for the ratification. Before he made it to Maryland, not enough delegates were present to ratify the treaty.
- The new U.S. had six months to ratify and return the treaty to the British. After a significant delay attempting to gather enough delegates for ratification, the treaty took TWO MONTHS to cross the ocean back to England. It barely made it there in time!
- Three copies of the ratified treaty were sent back to England, using three different couriers.
- The treaty recognized the 13 former British colonies as an independent nation, the United States of America.
- The treaty granted the U.S. territory as far west as the Mississippi River – but left Canada to Great Britain.
- The Maryland Statehouse flies a special 13-star flag every January 14 to commemorate the day.