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On this day: December 17

POSTED: 04:50 PM EST Dec 14, 2012    UPDATED: 02:00 AM EST Dec 17, 2013 

France recognizes America as a nation, the Wright brothers take flight, Tiny Tim marries Miss Vicki in front of millions of TV viewers, and Kim Jong-il dies, all on this day.

OTD December 17 - America recognized
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1777: The French foreign minister, Charles Gravier, count of Vergennes, officially acknowledges the United States as an independent nation. Although France was eager to see an American victory over the British after losing North America to the British in the Seven Years' War, at first Louis XVI only sent unofficial aid to America. When word of the Continental Army's overwhelming victory at Saratoga in October reached France in early December 1777, it gave Benjamin Franklin new leverage in his efforts to rally French support for the American rebels.

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