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by a joint commission between 1859 and 1862, and was marked by stone or iron pillars, rock piles, or mounds of earth at intervals ranging from a fraction of a mile to 25 miles. A retracement of this line was completed in 1907. The new marks consist of aluminum-bronze pillars 5 feet high, weighing about 250 pounds each, set in concrete bases at intervals not exceeding 4 miles. The maps of this section of the boundary, 19 sheets, have been published.

Along the 49th parallel in the Strait of Georgia, and through the Straits of Haro and Juan de Fuca to the Pacific Ocean, a distance of 142 miles, the boundary is defined by courses and distances between turning points, which are referred to reference marks consisting of concrete monuments and lighthouses on the shores. The report on this section of the boundary was published in 1921.73

Considerable information regarding the northern boundary of the United States may be found in articles by John W. Davis and Lawrence S. Mayo."



Several minor changes were made in the northern boundary by the treaty concluded February 24, 1925.75

The northern terminus of the Lake of the Woods boundary was fixed at latitude 49° 23' 04.49," longitude 95° 09' 11.61". (See p. 14.) By this change the United States lost about 21/2 acres of water area.

Article II of the treaty made the lines between monuments established under the treaty of 1908 on the 49th parallel east of the Rocky Mountains straight lines, not following the curve of the parallel. The United States gained between 30 and 35 acres of land by this change.

Article III added a new course bearing S. 34° 42' W., a distance of 2,383 meters (1.48 miles), from the terminus of the southeasterly line established by the treaty of 1910 in the Grand Manan Channel. Canada thereby made a net gain in water area of about 9 acres, which had previously been of “controversial jurisdiction.”

Article IV provided for inspecting existing monuments, repairing defective ones, and adding new ones, if needed, by joint commissioners "at such times as they shall deem necessary."

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72 See Baker, Marcus, Survey of the northwestern boundary of the United States, 18571861 : U. S. Geol. Survey Bull. 174, 1900. See also a history of the survey by Otto Klotz in Am. Geog. Rev., May, 1917, pp. 382–387. A report by the British Commissioner with descriptions and longitudes of marks for this survey is given in U. S. Foreign Office correspondence, 1865–1871, vol. 811, America, p. 1468.

Ta Reestablishment of the boundary between the United States and Canada, forty-ninth parallel to the Pacific Ocean, 95 pp., 1 map, Washington, 1921.

14 The unguarded boundary : Geog. Rev., New York, October, 1922, pp. 585-601 ; April, 1923, pp. 255–265.

76 44 Stat. L., pt. 3, p. 2102.

TREATY WITH SPAIN, 1796 The southern boundary of the United States was described in definite terms by the treaties with Great Britain of 1782 and 1783 (see pp. 8-9), but its location was not accepted by Spain and was in dispute with that country until settled by the treaty concluded October 27, 1795,78 wherein it was agreed that

The southern boundary of the United States which divides their territory from the Spanish colonies of east and west Florida, shall be designated by a line beginning on the River Mississippi, at the northernmost part of the thirty-first degree of latitude north of the Equator, which from thence shall be drawn due east to the middle of the River Apalachicola, or Catahouche, thence along the middle thereof to its Junction with the Flint; thence straight to the head of St. Mary's River, and thence down the middle thereof to the Atlantic Ocean.

Article IV of this treaty described the western boundary, which separated the “ Spanish colony of Louisiana ” from the United States, as being in the middle of the channel or bed of the River Mississippi, from the northern boundary of the said States to the completion of the thirty-first degree of latitude north of the Equator.


Distances along the northern boundary of the United States
Maine :

Atlantic Ocean to mouth of St. Croix River..--. 25. 2
Mouth of St. Croix to source_

Source of St. Croix along northern line.

77.6 Westward along St. Johns River..

72.0 Along St. Francis River----

42.6 Diagonal line southwest----

83. 6
Southwest branch of St. Johns to the highlands.- 38.4
Along the highlands to the New Hampshire corner. 141. 3

New Hampshire:
Maine corner to source of Halls Stream --

33. 3
Halls Stream to north line of Vermont----

26. 6

59.9 Vermont: North line east and west on or near the forty

fifth parallel to middle of main channel of Lake Champlain. 90.4
New York:

Vermont corner in Lake Champlain west to St.
Lawrence River-----

64. 5
Through St. Lawrence, Lake Ontario, Niagara
River, and Lake Erie to Pennsylvania corner--- 380.7

445. 2
Pennsylvania : Through part of Lake Erie.-

41.5 Ohio: Through part of Lake Erie----

146.2 Michigan: North and west through lakes and rivers to Minnesota corner at mouth of Pigeon River.--


70 Malloy, W. M., op. cit., vol. 2, p. 1640.

Minnesota :

Mouth of Pigeon River to northwest angle in
Lake of the Woods-----

425. 6
Northwest angle in Lake of the Woods south to
latitude 49°

Along forty-ninth parallel to North Dakota


44. 7

North Dakota : Along forty-ninth parallel--
Montana : Along forty-ninth parallel ----
Idaho: Along forty-ninth parallel.---
Along forty-ninth parallel.---

Gulf of Georgia to Pacific Ocean opposite Cape

142. O


3, 987 The distances given above are as projected on a sea-level plane. All these boundaries, on land as well as through water, consist of straight lines between “turning points.” Some of these lines—in New Hampshire, for example—may be less than 50 feet long. The New Hampshire boundary, if measured in steps of a quarter of a mile, would be only 49 miles long. Distances along the southern boundary of the United States

Texas (along Rio Grande, approximate)

1, 321
New Mexico

179.5 Arizona (19.1 miles along Colorado River).

372.5 California


2, 013. 4


Plate 5 (in pocket) is a half-scale reproduction of one of the seven or more English issues (the first impression of the third edition) of the “Map of the British and French dominions in North America," by Dr. John Mitchell, possibly printed between 1762 and 1775 but retaining the original publication date, 1755. The copy reproduced is in the Library of Congress, but a line along the boundary of Maine has been added which is not on the original map.

Copies of Mitchell's map were used at different stages of the negotiations in Paris between the American and British framers of the peace treaties of 1782–83.

John Adams wrote regarding these maps: We had before us, through the whole negotiations, a variety of maps; but it was the Mitchell's map upon which was marked out the whole boundary lines of the United States.

No particular copy has so far been identified as the one thus referred to.


A copy of the Mitchell map used by John Jay, one of the American commissioners, on which a red line was drawn to indicate one of the preliminary boundary proposals, is now in the library of the New York Historical Society.

In the British Museum there is a heavily annotated copy of Mitchell's map that has on it a red boundary line, which differs from that on the Jay copy."

The Library of Congress has many copies of the Mitchell map besides those published in England, including 7 French, 2 Dutch, 2 Italian, and 2 Spanish issues, as well as 40 or more reproductions of portions of the map.

Although there are many errors in this map, in 1782–83 it was the best available. A recent writer (Lawrence Martin) stated, “It appears to be the most important map in American history." 78

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The entire basin of the Mississippi and its tributaries, with much of the coast region of the Gulf of Mexico, which was subsequently known as the Territory of Louisiana, was originally claimed by La Salle 80 in 1682 for France by virtue of discovery and occupation. (See pl. 4 for routes followed by La Salle and others between the Great Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico; also see figs. 2 and 18.)

The area claimed on the Gulf extended west and south to the mouth of the “Rio de las Palmas,” which is probably the Texas stream now known as the Rio Grande.

In 1712 France made a grant to Antoine de Crozat of the exclusive right to the trade of this region. As this grant gives the limits of this vast region as they were understood by France, a portion of it is here quoted :

We have by these presents signed with our hand, authorized, and do authorize the said Sieur Crozat to carry on exclusively the trade in all the territories by us possessed, and bounded by New Mexico and by those of the English in

77 See reference to the red-line map in Moore, B., op. cit., pp. 154, 161.

78 See Mills, D. A., United Empire (journal of the Royal Colonial Institute, London), new ser., vol. 2, pp. 698–700, October, 1911, for description of some of the copies of the Mitchell map. For descriptions of still other copies see annual reports of the Librarian of Congress for 1926, pp. 107–109, 119, 121, 122; for 1927, pp. 90–91; for 1929, pp. 136, 151. See also Martin, Lawrence, Noteworthy maps (Library of Congress publication) for 1927, pp. 20–22; for 1929, pp. 17–21. The same author has in preparation a book entitled “ Mitchell's wrap," from which many of the foregoing facts have been obtained.

70 Mowry, W. A., op. cit., chs. 2 to 11. Gives an excellent presentation of this subject, with numerous references.

s0 For a translation of La Salle's proclamation, see Sparks, Jared, Library of American biography, vol. 11, pp. 201-202, Boston, 1847. For reference to the location of the Rio de las Palmas, see The journey of Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, translation by Fanny Bandelier, p. 42, Boston, 1922.

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Carolina, all the establishments, ports, harbors, rivers, and especially the port and harbor of Dauphin Island, formerly called Massacre Island, the river St. Louis, formerly called the Mississippi, from the seashore to the Illinois, to gether with the river St. Philip, formerly called the Missouries River, and the St. Jerome, formerly called the Wabash (the Ohio), with all the countries, territories, lakes in the land, and the rivers emptying directly or indirectly into that part of the river St. Louis. All the said territories, countries, rivers, streams, and islands we will to be and remain comprised under the name of the government of Louisiana, which shall be dependent on the General Government of New France and remain subordinate to it, and we will, moreover, that all the territories which we possess on this side of the Illinois be united, as far as need be, to the General Government of New France and form a part thereof, reserving to ourself, nevertheless, to increase, if we judge proper, the extent of the government of the said country of Louisiana.

From this it appears that Louisiana was regarded by France as comprising the drainage basin of the Mississippi at least as far north as the mouth of the Illinois, with those of all its branches that enter it below this point, including the Missouri, but excluding land in the Southwest claimed by Spain. It is, moreover, certain that the area now comprised in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho was not included. Crozat surrendered this grant in 1717.

On November 3, 1762, France by a secret treaty ceded this region to Spain, defining it only as “the country known by the name of Louisiana,” but Spain did not take possession until several years later. By the treaty of peace of 1763 between Great Britain, France, and Spain, the western boundary of the British possessions in the New World was placed in the center of the Mississippi River, thus reducing the area of Louisiana by the portion east of the river. By these two treaties France disposed of her possessions in North America, dividing them between Great Britain and Spain. The limit set between the British and Spanish possessions was given as the Mississippi, the Iberville, and Lakes Maurepas and Pontchartrain. (See fig. 12.) The Iberville River is now called Bayou Manchac. In the early days there was a connected waterway (now closed) through this river between the Mississippi and the Gulf of Mexico. The island thus formed was called the island of New Orleans.

Great Britain then subdivided her newly acquired province, Florida. The area south of latitude 31° (changed in 1764 to a parallel through the mouth of the Yazoo River, 32° 28' approximately) and west of the Apalachicola River was called West Florida; the region east thereof and south of the present north boundary of Florida received the name of East Florida. For the next 16 years these boundaries and names remained undisturbed. In 1783, by the treaty of peace with the United States at the end of the Revolution, Great Britain reduced the area of West Florida by the cession of that portion north of the 31st parallel to the United States. In the same year she gave East Florida and what remained of West Florida to Spain,

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