(CANADA and the UNITED STATES, 1814-46 – continued)

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CANADA and the UNITED STATES, 1814-46 (6 of 7)

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The Maine and Aroostook Border Dispute

After Maine became a state in 1820 it began granting lands to settlers, lands in the valley of the Aroostook River, an area claimed by the British. During the winter of 1838-39, British lumberjacks entered the area to cut wood. From the US a land agent arrived to expel them, and in February the British lumberjacks seized him. Maine sent 10,000 troops to the area. A militia in Canada, in New Brunswick, was called up. The US President, Van Buren, sent one of his generals, Winfield Scott, to the valley in hopes that Scott could settle the dispute peacefully. In March 1839 a treaty was arranged by Scott between Maine and New Brunswick. Violence was averted, the U.S. troops suffering only one death from an unknown cause.

A boundary commission consisting of British and US representatives resulted in the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842. That treaty gave 7,015 square miles to the United States, 5,012 square miles to the British and left the British with military communications between New Brunswick and Montreal. Britain agreed to pay Maine and Massachusetts $150,000 each, and the US reimbursed Britain for expenses incurred during the crisis.


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