235 years ago today, the United States won independence from Britain when the American colonists signed the Treaty of Paris to end the Revolutionary War. Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, John Jay, and Henry Laurens represented the United States in the Paris talks. David Hartley and Richard Oswald, representing Great Britain, ceded all the land east of the Mississippi River, north of Florida, and south of Canada. It was highly favorable for the US, with the British anticipating a highly profitable two-way trade between the two, which indeed came to pass. (1783)

MORE Good News on this Day:

  • San Marino, one of the smallest nations in the world and the world’s oldest republic still in existence, was founded by Saint Marinus (301 AD)
  • The King’s Speech of George VI was broadcast to the people of Britain immediately after that country’s Declaration of War against Germany (1939)
  • Officials opened the Trans-Canada Highway, which stretched over 4800 miles from coast to coast (1962)
  • Viking 2 landed on Mars; to shoot the first close-up, color photos of planet’s surface (1976)
  • Pope John Paul I, beloved for his outreach, compassion, and more modern outlook, was installed as the 264th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church (1978)
  • China and Russia ended their Cold War hatred and pledged they would no longer target nuclear missiles at each other (1994)
  • The leaders of divided Cyprus entered direct peace negotiations aimed at ending the 34-year-old division of the island (2008)

Happy Birthday to Shaun White who turns 32 years old today. The champion snowboarder-skateboarder who underwent two open-heart surgeries before the age of one was the first person to compete in and win both the Summer and Winter X Games in two different sports–including historic wins four years in a row.

Shaun White 2009 CC Gina Hughes
By Gina Hughes, CC license

In both the 2006 and 2010 Winter Olympics he brought home the gold in the snowboard halfpipe event and won hearts worldwide with his flowing red hair and broad smile.  (1986)

And on this day in 1838, the future abolitionist Frederick Douglass, dressed in a sailor’s uniform and carrying identification papers provided by a Free Black seaman, boarded a train in Maryland on his way to freedom from slavery.

Age 20 at the time, he went on to become a great orator, writer, and statesman. Known for his incisive antislavery writings and speeches, he stood as a living counter-example to slaveholders’ arguments that slaves lacked the intellectual capacity to function as independent American citizens. (Watch a video below)

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