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Encyclopedia > Country Club Dispute

The Country Club Area is a suburb of El Paso, Texas. It was the object of a lengthy border dispute between Texas and New Mexico. Downtown El Paso, Texas, looking south into Mexico from the US side. ... ... State nickname: Land of Enchantment Other U.S. States Capital Santa Fe Largest city Albuquerque Governor Bill Richardson Official languages English and Spanish Area 315,194 km² (5th)  - Land 314,590 km²  - Water 607 km² (0. ...

The Country Club area today.
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The Country Club area today.

Contents


Origins


As part of the Compromise of 1850, Texas gave up its claim to portions of present-day New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas and Oklahoma in exchange for $10,000,000, and New Mexico became a territory. The pertainent boundary of Texas was set in 1850 where the Rio Grande intersects the 32 degrees north parallel. A line from that point, along the 32nd parallel, to the Texas Panhandle defined the southern border of New Mexico. Henry Clay takes the floor of the Old Senate Chamber; Millard Fillmore presides as Calhoun and Webster look on. ... State nickname: The Centennial State Other U.S. States Capital Denver Largest city Denver Governor Bill Owens (R) Official languages English Area 269,837 km² (8th)  - Land 268,879 km²  - Water 962 km² (0. ... State nickname: Equality State Other U.S. States Capital Cheyenne Largest city Cheyenne Governor Dave Freudenthal (D) Official languages English Area 253,554 km² (10th)  - Land 251,706 km²  - Water 1,851 km² (0. ... State nickname: The Sunflower State Other U.S. States Capital Topeka Largest city Wichita Governor Kathleen Sebelius (D) Senators {{{Senators}}} Official languages None Area 82,277 mi²; 213,096 km² (15th)  - Land 81,815 mi²; 211,900 km²  - Water 462 mi²; 1,196 km² (0. ... Oklahoma is a South Central state of the United States (with strong Southern, Western, and Midwestern influences) and its U.S. postal abbreviation is OK; others abbreviate the states name Okla. ... The New Mexico Territory became an organized territory of the United States on September 9, 1850, and it existed until New Mexico became the 47th state on January 6, 1912. ... The Texas Panhandle is a region of the state of Texas consisting of the northernmost 26 counties in the state. ...


After the Gadsden Purchase in 1853, congress passed the Act of 1854 declaring the southern boundary of the Territory of New Mexico. This basically gave all Gadsden Purchase lands to New Mexico (Arizona did not yet exist), thereby creating a 12 mile long Rio Grande boundary between the State of Texas and New Mexico Territory. The Gadsden Purchase (shown with present-day state boundaries and cities) The Gadsden Purchase is a 29,640 mi² (77,700 km²) region of what is today southern Arizona and New Mexico that was purchased by the United States from Mexico in 1853. ... 1853 was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ... State nickname: The Grand Canyon State, The Copper State Other U.S. States Capital Phoenix Largest city Phoenix Governor Janet Napolitano (D) Senators John McCain (R) Jon Kyl (R) Official languages English Only State Area 295,254 km² (6th)  - Land 294,312 km²  - Water 942 km² (0. ...


Sometime between 1850 and 1912, when New Mexico gained statehood, the Rio Grande shifted course. How much it shifted, where, and in which direction were the central issues in dispute, as both sides agreed that the Rio Grande, as it existed in 1850, was the true boundary. By 1912, the de facto western boundary of Texas was well beyond the Rio Grande in most places. Deeds for lands over a half-mile west of the Rio Grande were filed in Texas, taxes for these lands were paid in Texas, and the residents voted in Texas.


The stakes of the dispute were more than trivial to these two vast states because of the value of the lands involved. As part of the Chihuahua Desert, lands in proximity to the Rio Grande were substantially more lush and fertile, and hence more valuable than similar sized tracts elsewhere in the region. In addition to productive farms, valuable homes and a country club were built in the vicinity (though not neccesarily on the disputed land), hence the name of the dispute. The Chihuahuan Desert is a desert mainly situated in much of central and southern New Mexico, Texas west of the Pecos River, the northern half of the Mexican state of Chihuahua and most of the Mexican state of Coahuila. ...


Resolution

In 1913, New Mexico filed suit against Texas in the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court appointed a special master to make findings of fact on the disputed issues in the case. The Court heard verbal arguments by both states in 1927, and announced its verdict later that year. Essentially, the Court sided with Texas with regards to most facts in the case and in its final verdict. They also implied that New Mexico had no standing to dispute any changes to its borders made before it gained statehood in 1912; those boundaries were an issue between Texas and the U.S. Federal Government. Link title1913 is a common year starting on Wednesday. ... Seal of the Supreme Court The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States of America, and is the head of the Judicial Branch of the Federal Government, one of three separate and equal governmental bodies, along with the Legislative and the Executive branches. ... 1927 was a common year starting on Saturday (link will take you to calendar). ... 1912 is a leap year starting on Monday. ...


Today this remains the only area where Texas extends beyond the Rio Grande.


Implications

It is usually understood that all Gadsden Purchase lands are today part of Arizona and New Mexico. However, if the history of the Country Club Dispute is taken into account, it opens the possibility that portions of west Texas (in the Country Club Area) were actually acquired in the Gadsden Purchase. Unless one believes that the western boundary of Texas today follows the exact course of the Rio Grande as it flowed in 1850 (an unlikely senario given the facts of the case and the state of surveying technology at the time), then inclusion of a small portion of Texas in the Gadsden Purchase seems likely. If even a few of New Mexico's claims made before the Supreme Court were valid, then this is the case.


External Links/Sources

Text of STATE OF NEW MEXICO v. STATE OF TEXAS, 275 U.S. 279 (1927)


 
 

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