The Boundary Hunters: Surveying the 141st Meridian and the Alaska Panhandle

By Lewis Green | Go to book overview

Foreword

Most Canadians assume that the Alaska Boundary means the Panhandle, that incongruous strip of territory that cuts off almost half of British Columbia from the Pacific Ocean. For them, it exists because an English lord sided with the Americans and, by doing so, gave away Canada's interests on the Pacific Coast.

Like many things in this world, it is not that simple. The Alaska Boundary was described in the Anglo-Russian Treaty of 1825, and the southern limit of the Panhandle was fixed at that time. At the Alaska Boundary Tribunal of 1903, both sides accepted this limit, and the main issue was Canada's claims to the heads of the longer inlets cutting into the Panhandle. Regardless of what Lord Alverstone did or did not do, the Panhandle would still be there; the loss was not so much territory as the snatching away of Canada's only hope of saving face in the settlement.

A great deal has been written on the political history of the issue but little on the work of the surveyors, both Canadian and American, who marked the boundary on the ground. I have concentrated on the latter, ignoring much of the polemics. Negotiations that led nowhere are mentioned briefly, or in a few cases, not at all. Nor has the boundary dispute been considered as part of the complex interaction between Canada, Great Britain, and United States on the North American continent. Instead, it is treated as a nagging issue that had to be resolved before the surveyors could set to work.

The surveyors involved were tough, competent men. So much so that, despite the great physical difficulties they worked under, there are no epic tales of heroism in the face of self-inflicted disasters. Between 1869 and 1920 about 150 government field parties did work along the Alaska Boundary. Most parties had at least six men and a few had over thirty. Yet of the hundreds of men involved, only three lost their lives through accidents in the field.

Today, when any part of the Alaska Boundary can be reached in a few hours by helicopter, it is easy to forget how remote it once was. For the surveyors there were steamers along the coast and on the larger rivers, but beyond they used canoes, poling boats, pack-horses, or hand-drawn sleds and, at times, backpacked. Even the outboard motor was a luxury, first available in 1920, the final year of the survey. Once in the bush or out on the glaciers the parties were thrown on their own resources without as much as a radio to call for help in an emergency.

Theirs was a remarkable achievement; one that both countries can be proud of.

-xv-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Boundary Hunters: Surveying the 141st Meridian and the Alaska Panhandle
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Photographic Credits viii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • Preliminary Note xiii
  • Foreword xv
  • 1 - Britain and Russia Establish Their Boundary (1825-67) 1
  • 2 - Canada and United States Mark the 141st Meridian (1869-96) 7
  • 3 - Staking a Claim to the Panhandle (1876-96) 46
  • 4 - The Klondike Rush and Temporary Boundaries (1896-1903) 65
  • 5 - Forced Settlement: The Alaska Boundary Tribunal (1903) 79
  • 6 - Marking the Panhandle Boundary (1904-1920) 95
  • 7 - The 141st Meridian: A Single Straight Line (1906-13) 143
  • Afterword 177
  • Appendix 179
  • Notes 185
  • Bibliographical Note 199
  • Selected Bibliography 201
  • Abbreviations 206
  • Index 207
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 216

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.