The 1846 Oregon Treaty, formally titled Treaty with Great Britain, in Regard to Limits Westward of the Rocky Mountains, established the border between the British and American sections of the Oregon Country. The Oregon Country had been jointly occupied by both the British and Americans since the Anglo-American Convention of 1818 when they established a joint claim over the region. This arrangement steadily grew intolerable for both sides. American President James Polk ran on the platform "Fifty-Four Forty or Fight!" in the 1844 election; 54°40' referred to the latitude line that formed the northern border of the Oregon Country.
The Treaty states that the 49th parallel will form the border of the United States and the British on the mainland. Vancouver Island was an exception that was given to the British in its entirety despite going south of the 49th parallel. The 49th parallel became the US-Canadian border when British Columbia became part of Canada.
The treaty defined the border in the Strait of Juan de Fuca through the major channel. Due to difference in where the major shipping channel was, British and Americans had both settled on the same islands. In 1859, an unclear description of the border in the treaty later led to the Pig War over the ownership of the San Juan Islands.
Text of Treaty (http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/diplomacy/britian/br-1846.htm) from the Avalon Project
Categories: United States treaties | Oregon history
OREGON, one of the Pacific states of the U.S., bounded on the N by Washington, on the E by Idaho, on the S by Nevada and California, and on the W by the Pacific Ocean.
Oregon, with an area of 254,819 sq km (98,386 sq mi), is the ninth largest state in the U.S.; 52.3% of the land area is owned by the federal government.
Oregon was established as a territory in 1848; as originally established, it covered all the area between the 42d and 49th parallels, from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, and included present-day Washington and parts of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.
The treaty was negotiated by U.S. Secretary of State James Buchanan, who later become president, and Richard Pakenham, envoy to the United States and member of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom for Queen Victoria.
The OregonTreaty set the U.S. and British North American border at the 49th parallel with the exception of Vancouver Island, which was retained by the British.
The U.S. portion of the region was organized as Oregon Territory on August 14, 1848.
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