1763: A Revolutionary Peace
May 25 - October 7, 2013
Old State House
206 Washington Street, Boston (State Street T stop on Orange and Blue lines)
Open daily M-F, 9am-6pm
Adults $8.50 | Children 18 & under FREE (courtesy of John Hancock Financial)
The Bostonian Society is pleased to announce an exclusive new exhibition, 1763: A Revolutionary Peace, exploring the history and significance of an epoch-making peace on the occasion of its 250th anniversary. Britain''s original signed copy of the 1763 Treaty of Paris, which forever redrew the geo-political boundaries of European North America, is the featured object of the exhibition, and has never been seen on the North America continent until now.
For much of the mid eighteenth-century Britain fought its rivals France and Spain in a global contest for commerce and colonies, the most notable of these struggles culminating in the Seven Years (or French and Indian War). On the 10th of February, 1763, the Treaty of Paris was signed, putting an end to the seven year war. Celebratory fireworks exploded in the night sky over London and Paris. Here in Boston, a great crowd gathered beneath the balcony of the Old State House to hear peace officially proclaimed.
The Paris treaty of 1763 literally redrew the map of North America, giving Britain all lands east of the Mississippi River, including Spanish Florida. Lands west of the Mississippi (and New Orleans) remained French, but because France had secretly transferred those claims to its ally Spain, the treaty effectively ended France’s presence on the continent’s mainland.
Britain had won the war, but now faced complex challenges in integrating new territories, peoples (including Native nations and French inhabitants), and governments into the new order. Even as the Treaty of Paris promised the start of a new era of peace and prosperity, it also sowed seeds of discontent from which a new crisis in the British Empire would soon grow.
Belonging to the British United Kingdom, the Treaty on display at the Old State House is one of three manuscript treaty texts signed by representatives of Britain, France, and Spain. Other objects featured in this exhibition include weapons and artifacts from the Seven Years War, medals marking peace between the British Crown and formerly French-allied First Nations, and a Native American wampum treaty belt.