Oregon Treaty

Partitioning the North Pacific

the Arctic 1846.0615

Oregon Treaty

Alaska Purchase, Rupert's Land Act, Amur, Opening of Japan (15 June 1846)

Historical Map of the Arctic & the Far North

Following the 1837 rebellions, the British merged the two Canadas into a single autonomous province and set about resolving their border disputes with the United States. The biggest dispute was over the jointly occupied Columbia District or Oregon Country, which had been dominated by the Hudson's Bay Company but was now seeing increasing numbers of American settlers. Despite originally supporting demands for full annexation, US President James Polk was preparing for war with Mexico and agreed to split the territory with the British.

Main Events

Upper Canada Rebellion

In response to longstanding grievances and emboldened by the Lower Canada Rebellion, rebels around Toronto revolted against the oligarchic government of the British colony of Upper Canada but were quickly defeated.

Province of Canada

In accordance with the Act of Union 1840, the British colonies of Upper and Lower Canada merged to form United Province of Canada. The colony of Upper Canada became the new region of Canada East, while Lower Canada became Canada West. The first capital was Kingston (1841-1844), but would be changed six times before settling on Ottawa in 1866.

Webster-Ashburton Treaty

The Webster-Ashburton Treaty between the United Kingdom and the United States resolved the Aroostook War, a nonviolent dispute over location of Maine-New Brunswick border. The treaty was signed by United States Secretary of State Daniel Webster and British diplomat Alexander Baring, 1st Baron Ashburton. It established the border between Lake Superior and the Lake of the Woods, originally defined in the Treaty of Paris in 1783, defined crimes subject to extradition, called for an end to the slave trade on the high seas, and agreed to shared use of the Great Lakes.

Construction of Fort Victoria

The British erected Fort Albert/Camosun in the south of Vancouver Island, establishing a permanent presence in the region. In 1846 it was renamed Fort Victoria.

Franklin's last expedition

The 59-year old explorer Captain Sir John Franklin led a British expedition from Greenhithe, England, in an attempt to be the first to transit the Northwest Passage. After their last contact with Europeans in late July 1845, his two ships, the HMS Erebus and the HMS Terror, ventured into the Canadian Arctic and disappeared. It was later discovered that they had become icebound in Victoria Strait near King William Island, after which Franklin and all 128 of his men perished.

Oregon Treaty

The United Kingdom and the United States signed the Oregon Treaty, bringing an end to the Oregon boundary dispute by dividing the jointly occupied Oregon Country (known to British as Columbia Department) between the US and British North America. The treaty was negotiated by US Secretary of State James Buchanan, who later became president, and Richard Pakenham, British envoy to the US. In accordance with the treaty the border was set at the 49th parallel with the exception of Vancouver Island, which was retained in its entirety by the British.

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