February 4, 1783 Britain proclaims formal end to hostilities with the U.S.
After the thirteen American colonies declared their Independence there was the small matter of the British to consider. Today, given the sheer size and population of the United States it is hard to imagine how they could possibly lose.
230 years ago, it was not a foregone conclusion. The colonies had just transformed themselves into states. They had no infrastructure for raising and supplying and army. Relatively few colonists were interested in volunteering. They had previously depended on Britain for such manufactures. Inflation was rampant and local merchants would not sell to the revolutionaries who had only paper money from new-born states whereas the British paid with gold and silver.
On the other hand, the British were the largest navy a well-equipped army and access to the greatest Empire the world had yet known, including Canada. The Americans only had support from French.
Yet from 1775 George Washington and the revolutionaries remained resilient. In 1781, with the help of the French commander Count Jean Baptiste de Rochambeau, they defeated Britain’s Cornwallis at Yorktown. This victory sapped Britain’s will to continue the war and proved the value of the Americans’ perseverance. On this date, the British would declare a formal end to hostility as they negotiated a formal peace with the Americans, Spain and France.
On this day, George Washington proved the virtue of resilience in pursuing and achieving even the most ambitious goals.