Friday, October 19, 2007

The 49th Parallel meets the Salish Sea

1846 Map of San Juan Island featured in
The Pig War: Standoff at Griffin Bay
by Mike Vouri

But wait! Don’t shoot the pig yet! Two important events must take place first, the signing of the Oregon Treaty and the Gold Rush. The signing of the Oregon Treaty in 1846 decided once and for all the holdings of Britain and the United States in the Pacific Northwest…well, almost. The border was drawn strait along the 49th parallel from the Rocky Mountains west to the edge of the continent. Then it gets a bit murky. Here is the actual language:

…. the line of the boundary between the territories of the United States and those of Her Britannic Majesty shall be continued westward along the said 49th parallel of north latitude to the middle of the channel which separates the continent from Vancouver’s Island; and thence southerly through the middle of said channel, and of Fuca’s Straits to the Pacific Ocean…

Did they mean the channel on the west side of San Juan Island or the channel on the east side of San Juan Island?

Author, actor, historian and National Park Ranger Mike Vouri has written the definitive book on the Pig War, The Pig War: Standoff at Griffin Bay. Mike also performs a one-man play in the character of Captain, then General George Pickett who served in the United States Army on San Juan Island before fighting for the Confederacy in the Civil War.

Mike Vouri playing Captain George Pickett

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