Wars have been fought over them, and treaties made and broken deciding them. Throughout history, the world’s borders have been as fluid as the rivers and lakes and lands that divide them. The American and Canadian border is no exception. It meanders over thousands of miles through forests, lakes, rivers, wide open fields and mountains. In fact, this border is the longest undefended border in the world.
Over the years, it has been drawn and redraw. The border between the nations actually predates the nations themselves. After the Seven Years War, France renounced its possessions in North America in 1763.
The American Revolution began in 1775 between Great Britain and the United States and came to an end with the Treaty of Paris of 1783. In the second article of the treaty, the nations agreed on all boundaries of the United States.
The Jay Treaty of 1794 created the International Boundary Commission, which would be charged with surveying and mapping the boundary between the two countries. The treaty was later superseded by the Treaty of Ghent, 1815, ending the War of 1812, which returned to pre-war boundaries. The agreed-upon boundary included the line from the northwest angle of Nova Scotia to the northwesternmost head of Connecticut River, and proceeded down along the middle of the river to the 45th parallel of north latitude.
Armed conflict between bands of American colonists and British soldiers began in April 1775, Americans were fighting for their rights as subjects of the British crown. By the following summer, with the Revolutionary War raging, the movement for independence from Britain had grown, and delegates of the Continental Congress were faced with a vote. In mid-June 1776, a five-man committee including Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin was tasked with drafting a formal statement of the colonies’ aims. The congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence, largely penned by Jefferson, in Philadelphia on July 4th.
Some 91 years later, on July 1, 1867, with passage of the British North America Act, the Dominion of Canada was officially established as a self-governing entity within the British Empire. Two years later, Canada acquired the huge possessions of the Hudson’s Bay Company, and within a decade the provinces of Manitoba and Prince Edward Island had joined the Canadian federation. Canada’s legislative dependence on the United Kingdom was ended in 1982 with the enactment of the Canada Act, subsequently providing Canada with full legal sovereignty independent of the United Kingdom.
We celebrate the independence and friendship of these good neighbors. Happy Independence Day.