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Signing of the Treaty of Ghent.
Plaquette at the building in the Veldstraat, Ghent where the treaty was negotiated
The Treaty of Ghent ( ), signed on December 24, 1814, in Ghentmarker, Netherlands (currently in Belgiummarker), was the peace treaty that ended the War of 1812 between the United States of Americamarker and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Irelandmarker. The treaty largely restored relations between the two countries to status quo ante bellum. Due to the era's slow speed of communication, it took weeks for news of the peace treaty to reach America, well after the Battle of New Orleansmarker had begun.

The agreement

The treaty released all prisoners and restored all war lands and boats, that is, returned to America approximately of territory near Lakes Superiormarker and Michiganmarker, in Mainemarker, and on the Pacificmarker coast. The treaty made no major changes to the pre-war situation, but did make a few promises. Britain promised to return captured black slaves, but instead a few years later paid the United States £350,000 for them. The British proposal to create an Indian buffer zone in Ohio and Michigan collapsed after the Indian coalition fell apart. The United States ignored the guarantees it made in article IX regarding American treatment of the Indians.

The aftermath

Fighting immediately stopped when news of the treaty finally reached the United States, after the American victory in the Battle of New Orleansmarker and the British victory in the Battle of Fort Bowyermarker, but before the British assault on Mobile, Alabamamarker.

The U.S. Senate unanimously approved the treaty on February 16, 1815, and President James Madison exchanged ratification papers with a British diplomat in Washington on February 17; the treaty was proclaimed on February 18. Eleven days later, on March 1, Napoleon escaped from Elbamarker, starting the war in Europe again, and forcing the British to concentrate on the threat he posed.

The United States and Britain have not fought each other since.

See also



  • American Military History: Army Historical Series. Chapter 6: The War of 1812. Center of Military History, U.S. Army, Washington, DC, 1989. Official US Army history, available online.
  • Bemis, Samuel Flagg. John Quincy Adams and the Foundations of American Foreign Policy (1950).
  • A. L. Burt. The United States, Great Britain and British North America from the Revolution to the Establishment of Peace after the War of 1812, 1940 ( Online Edition.
  • Engelman, Fred L. The Peace of Christmas Eve (1962), popular account; online excerpt from American Heritage Magazine (Dec 1960) v 12#1.
  • Donald R. Hickey. The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict (1990) pp. 281-98.
  • Perkins, Bradford. Castelereagh and Adams: England and the United States, 1812-1823, 1964.
  • Robert Vincent Remini. Henry Clay: Statesman for the Union (1991) pp. 94-122.

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