What were the terms of conditions of the Treaty of Ghent?
On December 24, 1814, the members of the British and American negotiating teams signed and affixed their individual seals to the document. This did not itself end the war: that required formal ratification by their governments, which came in February 1815. The treaty released all prisoners and restored all captured lands and ships. Returned to the United States were approximately 10,000,000 acres (40,000 km2) of territory, near Lakes Superior and Michigan, and in Maine. American-held areas of Upper Canada (present-day Ontario) were returned to British control, and the American-held territory in Spanish Florida taken from Britain and officially-uninvolved Spain were returned to Spanish control. The treaty thus made no changes to the pre-war boundaries. Britain promised to return the freed black slaves that they had taken. In actuality, a few years later Britain instead paid the United States $1,204,960 for them.Both nations also promised to work towards an ending of the international slave trade. Pierre Berton wrote of the treaty, "It was as if no war had been fought, or to put it more bluntly, as if the war that was fought was fought for no good reason. For nothing has changed; everything is as it was in the beginning save for the graves of those who, it now appears, have fought for a trifle:...Lake Erie and Fort McHenry will go into the American history books, Queenston Heights and Crysler's Farm into the Canadian, but without the gore, the stench, the disease, the terror, the conniving, and the imbecilities that march with every army."