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Northwest angle in Lake of the Woods south to
lat 49° N. Along 49th parallel to North Dakota corner
ADDITIONS TO THE TERRITORY OF
THE UNITED STATES
545.5 310.0 545.6 44.7
North Dakota: Along 49th parallel
285.5 Gulf of Georgia to Pacific Ocean opposite Cape Flattery
ADDITIONS TO THE TERRITORY OF
THE UNITED STATES In this paper, the phrase "territory of the United States" includes areas under the sovereignty or jurisdiction of the United States. These areas extend over a large part of the earth; from Barrow, Alaska, on the north to American Samoa on the south, and from the Palau Islands in the western Pacific to the Virgin Islands in the Atlantic. In places, for statistical purposes it is desirable to refer to the 48 States and the District of Columbia, excluding Alaska and Hawaii. The words "conterminous United States' are used in these places.
formerly called Massacre Island, the river St. Louis, formerly called the Mississippi, from the seashore to the Illinois, together 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 terri. tories, 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.
This document indicates that France regarded Louisiana as comprising the drainage basin of the Mississippi at least as far north as the mouth of the Illinois and those branches of the Mississippi 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 part 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. 24, p. 106.) 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 lat 31° N. (changed in 1764 to a parallel through the mouth of the Yazoo River, approximately 32° 28' N.) 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
LOUISIANA PURCHASE The entire basin of the Mississippi and its tributaries, and much of the coast region of the Gulf of Mexico which were subsequently known as the Territory of Louisiana, were originally claimed by La Salle 32 in 1682 for France by virtue of discovery and occupation.
The area claimed on the Gulf extended west and south to the mouth of the "Rio de las Palmas," which was probably the 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. Because this grant gives the limits of the vast region as they were understood by France, a part 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 Carolina, all the establishments, ports, harbors, rivers, and especially the port and harbor of Dauphin Island,
a Mowry (1902, chap. 2-11) gives an excellent presentation of this subject, with many references.
32 For a translation of La Salle's proclamation, see Sparks (1847, v. 11, p. 201, 202). For reference to the location of the Rio de las Palmas, see Bandelier (1922, p. 42).
UNITED STATES AND THE SEVERAL STATES
the drainage basin of the Mississippi which lies west
of the course of the river. (See fig. 3.) The claim of the BOUNDARIES OF THE
United States to the area now comprised in Oregon,
purchase from Spain but also upon the alleged fact that undisturbed. In 1783, by the treaty of peace with the
this area formed part of the Louisiana Purchase. That United States at the end of the Revolution, Great Britain
this claim was baseless is shown not only by what has reduced the area of West Florida by the cession of that
been already detailed regarding the limits of the purportion north of the 31st parallel to the United States.
chase but also by the direct testimony of the French In the same year she gave East Florida and what
plenipotentiary, M. Barbe-Marbois. Some 20 years after remained of West Florida to Spain, and in Spain's the purchase he published a book on Louisiana (Barbepossession they remained for several years; but after Marbois, 1830), in which he described at some length 1803 the United States also claimed the area west of
the negotiations that preceded the purchase and, re the Perdido River as part of the Louisiana Purchase. ferring to this question, said: "The shores of the western The treaty of 1819 put an end to the disputes (Malloy,
ocean were certainly not comprised in the cession, but 1910, v. 2, p. 1651; Cox, 1918).
already the United States are established there." Meantime, in 1800, by the secret treaty of San Ilde
There is also in Barbe-Marbois's book a map (dated fonso, Spain promised to return Louisiana to France. In
1829) of the country between the Mississippi and the the language of the treaty, she pledged herself to return
Pacific, on which the western extent of Louisiana is to France "the colony and province of Louisiana, in the indicated as the 110th meridian, which is not far from same extent it now has under the dominion of Spain the western limit of the drainage basin of the Missisand of other States." 33
sippi in Wyoming and Montana. On this map, that Immediately after this transfer became known
part of the country now comprised in Oregon. Wash(November 1802), measures were instituted by President ington, and Idaho, which, it has been claimed, formed Jefferson for obtaining free access to the sea by way of part of the purchase, bears the following legend: "Territhe Mississippi River. Circumstances favored this nego- tories and countries occupied by the United States, tiation. Bonaparte was at that time in almost daily following the treaty of cession of Louisiana." expectation of a declaration of war by Great Britain, Obviously, therefore, the United States did not purthe first act of which would be to seize the mouth of the chase Oregon as a part of Louisiana; however, it is Mississippi and with it the Province of Louisiana. Under
no less certain that that great area west of the Rocky these circumstances Bonaparte offered to sell the Mountains fell into its hands as a direct consequence Province to the United States, and the offer was of the Louisiana Purchase (Mowry, 1902, p. 131-157). promptly accepted.34 The consideration named was 60
The claim made by the United States to the territory million francs and the assumption by the United States between the Mississippi and the Rio Grande as part of the "French spoilation claims," which were esti- of the Louisiana Purchase was based principally on mated to amount to $3,750,000. Article 3 of the treaty
the settlement made by La Salle at San Bernardo (now of cession, dated April 30, 1803, fixed the rate of ex- Matagorda) Bay, Tex., in 1685, and on many maps change at 5.3333 francs to $1. The total payments made that indicated the area as part of the French posby the United States on account of this purchase, includ
sessions, but this claim was not recognized by Spain ing interest, amount to $23,213,567.73. Opponents of this and the boundary west of the Mississippi River was purchase strongly urged that it was contrary to the
undetermined until it was fixed at the Sabine River by Constitution of the United States (Brown, 1920; Baldwin,
the treaty of 1819 (Bancroft, 1889, v. 16, p. 46). 1894, p. 369-389).
The treaty of 1783 with Great Britain describes the The treaty of cession (Malloy, 1910, v. 1, p. 508) de
northern boundary of the United States in part as folscribes the territory only as being the same as that
lows: From the northwesternmost point of the Lake of ceded by Spain to France by the treaty of San Ilde
the Woods "on a due west course to the River Missisfonso, from which the description was quoted. The
sippi." The fact that such a line could not intersect the territory sold thus apparently comprised that part of Mississippi proper at any point (see fig. 27) gave rise * U.S. 25th Cong., 1838, 2d sess., H. Rept. 818, p. 27; see p. 23 for the
to many and serious disputes, which were not settled cession of 1762 from France to Spain.
until after the date of the Louisiana Purchase. This * For copies of correspondence between the United States and various foreign officials, for dates from 1803 to 1807, relating to this purchase, its
clause of the treaty was understood by some geograboundaries, and terms, see Robertson (1911, v. 2). See also U.S. Cong. phers as placing the boundary line on the Lake of the (1903) and T. M. Marshall (1914, v. 2, p. 46-85). Marshall's book contains a bibliography (p. 242-251) of publications relating to the Louisiana Purchase.
Woods parallel for some 400 miles west from the lake
ADDITIONS TO THE TERRITORY OF
THE UNITED STATES
to the point where it intersects the Missouri Mississippi drainage basin, which in 1783 belonged to Spain, thus including the southern part of the basin of the Red River as United States territory. Other geographers who had given the subject careful study believed that the possessions of the United States in the northwest as defined by the treaty of 1783 were limited by the Mississippi River and a line extending north from its source (Lake Itasca 35) to an intersection with the Lake of the Woods parallel (see below; Baker, 1887; Brower, 1893).
Still others considered the Red River basin south of the 49th parallel to be a part of the Louisiana Purchase. The Red River basin was not a part of La Salle's original claim, but it appears to have been occupied by the French earlier than 1762. The Verendrye brothers, French Canadians, were the first white men of record to explore the country from the site of Winnipeg westward to the Rocky Mountains (1738–1743). A map in Laut (1906) shows the Verendrye route as extending only as far south as northeastern Wyoming.
The treaty of 1763 between Great Britain, France, and Spain limited Great Britain's jurisdiction on the northwest by the Mississippi River, as will be seen from the following quotation from Article VII:
In order to re-establish peace on solid and durable foundations, and to remove forever all subject of dispute with regard to the limits of the British and French territories on the continent of America; it is agreed, that, for the future, the confines between the dominions of his Britannic Majesty, and those of his most Christian Majesty, in that part of the world, shall be fixed irrevocably by a line drawn along the middle of the River Mississippi, from its source to the River Iberville.
When this treaty was made, Great Britain apparently knew nothing of the secret treaty of the preceding year whereby France had ceded the Louisiana territory to Spain. It is evident, however, that Great Britain intended to relinquish all claim to jurisdiction over the area west of the Mississippi. In 1763 and for many years thereafter, the Mississippi was believed to rise considerably north of its actual known source. On the Mitchell map the source was said to be at about the "50th degree of lattitude." Even if the area assigned to France did not extend as far north as lat 50° N., it apparently included all that part of the Red River drainage basin west of the actual source of the Mississippi.
The British act of 1774 extended the Province of Quebec to include the area west of Pennsylvania north of the Ohio River and east of the Mississippi. The boundaries were more definitely described in the commission issued to the governor in December of the same year, in part as follows:
along the bank of the said river (Ohio) westward to the banks of the Mississippi, and northward along the eastern bank of the said river to the southern boundary of the territory granted to the Merchant Adventurers of England trading to Hudson's Bay.
The Canadian General Government and the Province of Ontario have made extensive researches concerning the western boundary of Ontario, and the reports give an excellent historical review of the French, Spanish, and English claims to the country about the Lake of the Woods, including the Red River and Mississippi River drainage basins, from the first exploration down to 1818 and later. The reports fill several large volumes, and among them may be mentioned "Report of the select committee on the boundaries between the Province of Ontario and the unorganized territories of the Dominion," Ottawa, 1880, and "Correspondence, papers, and documents relating to the northerly and westerly boundaries of Ontario," Toronto, 1882. A careful examination of these and other official documents fails to disclose any statement of claims by Great Britain to the area west of the Mississippi, east of the Rocky Mountains, and south of the Lake of the Woods parallel.
The commissioner for Ontario, in reporting to the lieutenant governor of that Province with reference to the boundary of Ontario, stated (p. 340 of the 1880 report) that
In framing the treaty of Paris a few years later (1782] the Imperial Government recognized the Mississippi as an existing territorial boundary. All the country east of that river and south of a line drawn through the middle of the Great Lakes to the most northwestern point of the Lake of the Woods was surrendered to the United States. All the country west of the Mississippi, extending south to 31° of north latitude and east to the Atlantic Ocean, was left to its former owners (Spain).
On the Faden map of 1783 36 a heavy green line is drawn from the head of the Mississippi River to the Lake of the Woods. The boundary of the Hudson Bay territory, as fixed by the treaty of Utrecht, is indicated by a red line running east and west from the Lake of the Woods. West of the green line, west of the Mississippi River, and south of the red line, the area is marked "'Louisiana," and in its northern part a river running northward is marked "Mississippi or Red River." If the evidence of this map may be accepted, the Red River area south of the Lake of the Woods parallel was considered as part of Louisiana.
35 Lake Itasca is generally referred to as the source of the Mississippi, but a creek about 4 miles in length that empties into the southern part of the lake has source more than 100 feet above the lake. Lake Itasca is about 31/2 miles in length. The name Itasca was coined by Schoolcraft in 1832 from parts of two Latin words, veritas (truth) and caput (head), three letters from each word being omitted.
36 The United States of Nort America, with British and Spanish territorios according to the treaty; engraved by William Faden, 1783. Faden was, in June 1783, appointed geographer to the King.
UNITED STATES AND THE SEVERAL STATES
(Freschot, 1715) of 1713 the 49th parallel was made the
boundary line between Great Britain and the French BOUNDARIES OF THE
Province of Louisiana, but a careful reading of the treaty fails to disclose any ground for this statement. It is doubtless true that during the negotiations which followed the signing of the treaty the British com
mission endeavored to have the 49th parallel fixed as In the printed "Observations" that accompany this the boundary and that the French commission conmap are the following:
tended for a boundary a degree or more farther north, The River Mississippi is known about 60 miles above the Falls of but the commissioners failed to agree, and no latitude St. Anthony but is not navigable; its source is supposed by all travel
was mentioned in the treaty. Article X of this treaty prolers to be in about 46° N., therefore the line to be drawn W. from
vided for the appointment of "commissaries" to fix a the Lake of the Woods till it strikes Mississippi will probably run on a parallel 3 degrees or 180 miles above its source.
boundary line between the Hudson Bay territory and But this boundary line, otherwise insignificant, seems to have been the Louisiana territory. The "commissaries" were probextended to the Lake of the Woods in 49° N. to approximate the ably appointed, but no final decision resulted from United States to the boundary of the Hudson's Bay Company, in 49° N. their labors (Hermann, 1900, p. 55-59; Bond, 1912). A south line should have been drawn from the Lake of the Woods
The western boundary of the Louisiana Purchase is to strike the Mississippi, as the west line beginning at 180 miles distance, if extended, would increase its distance from that river.
the western boundary of the Mississippi drainage The map illustrating the route of the Lewis and basin as claimed by La Salle. Whatever the northern Clark expedition of 1804-6, "from the original drawing and northeastern boundaries of the Louisiana Purchase by Wm. Clark,“ shows the boundary of Louisiana as
may be considered, there is no doubt that they included including the drainage basin of the Missouri River
the drainage basin of the Missouri south of the 49th north of the 49th parallel, and near the north end of parallel and the western drainage basin of the Misthe Lake of the Woods there is this note: "Northern sissippi from its source to the Gulf of Mexico. boundary of the United States, lat. 49°37°) N." It seems probable that Congress considered the Red
FLORIDA PURCHASE River basin (see fig. 27) as far north as the Lake of
The second addition to the territory of the United the Woods to be a part of the Louisiana Purchase, but
States consisted of the Floridas, ceded by Spain in no specific reference was made to it in any statute
1819 in exchange for large areas west of the Mississippi prior to 1834.
River relinquished by the United States to Spain and There were many who believed that the Louisiana
the assumption by the United States of all claims of Purchase extended even farther north than the 49th
its citizens against Spain for damages received, to parallel and included the entire drainage basin of
an amount not exceeding $5 million, Spain likewise Missouri River. This uncertainty was settled by the
assuming responsibility for claims of its citizens treatly of 1818. James White (1914b, p. 842), after an
against the United States. extended review of this question, states: "The true
From the date of the Louisiana Purchase, in 1803, northern boundary of Louisiana was the watershed of
the territory known as West Florida and bounded by the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers." The approximate
the Mississippi River on the west, the Perdido on the area of this "watershed" north of the 49th parallel is
east, the parallel of 31° on the north, and the Gulf 12,300 square miles.
of Mexico on the south, had been in dispute between The Melish map, referred to in the treaty with Spain
the two countries. During at least part of this time it of 1819 (see p. 27), but printed before the convention
had been practically in the possession of the United with Great Britain of 1818 (see p. 14) was signed, shows
States. The clause from the treaty of San Ildefonso the boundary line of the United States as extending
quoted on page 24 was interpreted by Jefferson and due west from the northwesternmost point of the Lake
others in this country to mean the inclusion of West of the Woods to the Red River, thence up that river to
Florida. Their reasoning was this: In 1800 Spain owned the Assiniboine, up that river, and by an irregular line
West Florida; West Florida was once a part of Louwestward so as to include the Missouri River drainage
isiana; in 1800 Spain receded Louisiana to France; basin north of the 49th parallel.
she therefore receded West Florida with it. This question is now a matter of historical interest only, for the boundary line was definitely fixed by the
Spain, however, held that this was merely a treaty British treaty of 1818.
of recession, by which she gave back to France what It has often been said that by the treaty of Utrecht 37
France had given to her in 1762. As in 1762 she did
87 There are several printed copies of the treaty of Utrecht in the Library of Congress.
38 For a historical sketch of the Florida Purchase and of events leading to its acquisition, see Hinsdale (1893, p. 330-366) and Mowry (1902, chap. 4). 39 The publication of this act before the end of the following session of Congress was forbidden by act of Mar. 3, 1811 (3 Stat. L. 472).
ADDITIONS TO THE TERRITORY OF
THE UNITED STATES
not own West Florida, she could not have receded it to France. Barbe-Marbois, the French plenipotentiary, was very positive in stating that West Florida formed no part of the Louisiana Purchase, and that the southeastern boundary of that purchase consisted of the Iberville River and Lakes Maurepas and Pontchartrain. (See fig. 24.)
Immediately after the Louisiana Purchase was acquired, the claim was made by the United States that it included most of West Florida and part of the Texas coast, but this claim was not entertained by Spain. In 1810 a revolution was effected in that part of West Florida lying west of the Pearl River, and application was made by the inhabitants for annexation to the United States. The governor of Louisiana, under instructions from Washington, at once took possession. Immediately a counter revolution was organized against him, but it was put down by force of arms, and in 1812 this part of West Florida was included in the State of Louisiana (2 Stat. L. 708). In the meantime the insurrection spread eastward and, although put down by the Spanish authorities, the movement received the sympathy of the United States, and Congress passed an act, approved January 15, 1811 (3 Stat. L. 471), authorizing the President, under certain specified contingencies, to use force in taking possession of East Florida and appropriating $100,000 for carrying the act into effect. 39 In 1812 that part of West Florida lying between the Perdido and Pearl Rivers was annexed to the Territory of Mississippi. (See p. 105.)
The treaty of February 22, 1819, with Spain settled these conflicting claims (Cox, 1918; Paxson, 1924, chap. 16) by the following clause:
ARTICLE II. His Catholic Majesty cedes to the United States in full property and sovereignty, all the territories which belong to him, situated to the eastward of the Mississippi, known by the name of East and West Florida. The adjacent islands dependent on said province
are included in this article. [Malloy, 1910, v. 2, p. 1652; see also T. M. Marshall, 1914, p. 46-85.)
The third article in this treaty defines the boundary between the United States and the Spanish possessions in the Southwest as follows:
ARTICLE III. The boundary line between the two countries, west of the Mississippi, shall begin on the Gulph of Mexico, at the mouth of the river Sabine, in the sea, continuing north, along the western bank of that river, to the 32nd degree of latitude; thence, by a line due north to the degree of latitude where it strikes the Rio Roxo of Nachitoches, or Red River; then following the course of the Rio Roxo westward, to the degree of longitude 100 west from London," and
23 from Washington; then, crossing the said Red River and running thence, by a line due north, to the river Arkansas; thence, following the course of the southern bank of the Arkansas, to its source in lati. tude 42 north; and thence, by that parallel of latitude to the South Sea. The whole being as laid down in Melish's map of the United States, published at Philadelphia, improved to the 1st of January, 1818. But if the source of the Arkansas River shall be found to fall north or south of latitude 42, then the line shall run from the said source due south or north, as the case may be, till it meets the said parallel of latitude 42, and thence, along the said parallel, to the South Sea: All the islands in the Sabine, and the said Red and Arkansas Rivers, throughout the course thus described, to belong to the United States; but the use of the waters, and the navigation of the Sabine to the sea, and of the said rivers Roxo and Arkansas, throughout the extent of the said boundary, on their respective banks, shall be common to the respective inhabitants of both nations.
This treaty was ratified promptly by the U.S. Senate, but Spain did not ratify it until October 20, 1820, which was after the time allowed for ratification had expired. The U.S. Senate again ratified it February 19, 1821, and it was proclaimed by the President February 22, 1821.
The western boundary of the United States south of lat 42° N. as fixed by this treaty was confirmed by Mexico by treaty concluded January 12, 1828, Mexico having in the meantime gained her independence from Spain. (Malloy, 1910, v. 1, p. 1082.)
TEXAS ACCESSION The next acquisition of territory was that of the Republic of Texas, which was admitted as a State by joint resolution of December 29, 1845.41 The area which Texas brought into the Union was limited as follows, as defined by the Republic of Texas, December 19, 1836 (see fig. 29 and Laws of the Republic of Texas, 1838, Houston, v. 1, p. 133).
Beginning at the mouth of the Sabine River and running west along the Gulf of Mexico three leagues from land to the mouth of the Rio Grande, thence up the principal stream of said river to its source, thence due north to the forty-second degree of north latitude, thence along the boundary line as defined in the treaty between Spain and the United States to the beginning.
The claim by Texas to land north to the 42d parallel and west and south to the Rio Grande was based in
40 The zero point of the London meridian is the cross on St. Paul's Cathedral in London, which is 0°05'48.356" (4.17 miles) west of Greenwich (Ordnance Survey of Great Britain, letter of Sept. 6, 1927). For reference to the establishment of the meridians of London and Greenwich, see The Mariner's Mirror, v. 13, no. 2, London, Cambridge Press, April, 1927. Longitudes on the Mitchell map of 1755 (see p. 2) are referred to the London meridian. The Melish map of 1818 has the degrees west of London indicated along the lower edge, and the degrees west of Washington near the upper edge; the 0° of the Washington meridian coincides with 77°
west of London. In 1804 a line through the center of the White House was run out and marked for the zero of the Washington meridian. This line is 76°56'25" west of London. It will be seen from these statements that the location of this boundary was somewhat uncertain, but the position was recognized as the 100th degree west of Greenwich in acts of Sept. 9, 1850, and June 5, 1858.
11 9 Stat. L. 108. For reference to efforts made by the United States to acquire Texas between 1829 and 1835 by purchase or otherwise, see T. M. Marshall (1914, v. 2, p. 86–112).