While the English still controlled the major urban centers of North America and still had formidable forces in place elsewhere on the land and at sea, the debacle at Yorktown underlined the apparent futility of trying to maintain arbitrary military control over the thirteen rebellious colonies, which were now calling themselves the United States. With the war threatening to weaken other parts of their empire as well, the English decided to concede limited defeat in North America rather than risk a worldwide setback. In the Treaty of Paris, finally made formal in 1783, England recognized the independence of the United States and withdrew claims to land south of the Great Lakes and east of the Mississippi River.

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