Publish date:
Updated on
Year
1846

U.S.-Canadian border established

Representatives of Great Britain and the United States sign the Oregon Treaty, which settles a long-standing dispute with Britain over who controlled the Oregon territory. The treaty established the 49th parallel from the Rocky Mountains to the Strait of Georgia as the boundary between the United States and British Canada. The United States gained formal control over the future states of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana, and the British retained Vancouver Island and navigation rights to part of the Columbia River.

In 1818, a U.S.-British agreement had established the border along the 49th parallel from Lake of the Woods in the east to the Rocky Mountains in the west. The two nations also agreed to a joint occupation of Oregon territory for 10 years, an arrangement that was extended for an additional 10 years in 1827. After 1838, the issue of who possessed Oregon became increasingly controversial, especially when mass American migration along the Oregon Trail began in the early 1840s.

American expansionists urged seizure of Oregon, and in 1844 Democrat James K. Polk successfully ran for president under the platform “Fifty-four forty or fight,” which referred to his hope of bringing a sizable portion of present-day Vancouver and Alberta into the United States. However, neither President Polk nor the British government wanted a third Anglo-American war, and on June 15, 1846, the Oregon Treaty, a compromise, was signed. By the terms of the agreement, the U.S. and Canadian border was extended west along the 49th parallel to the Strait of Georgia, just short of the Pacific Ocean.

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Battle of Petersburg begins

During the Civil War, Ulysses S. Grant’s Army of the Potomac and Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia collide for the last time as the first wave of Union troops attacks Petersburg, a vital Southern rail center 23 miles south of the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia. ...read more

Richard Petty makes 1,000th start

On this day in 1986, driving legend Richard Petty makes the 1,000th start of his National Association for Stock Car Racing (NASCAR) career, in the Miller American 400 in Brooklyn, Michigan. He became the first driver in NASCAR history to log 1,000 career starts. Petty grew up on ...read more

Magna Carta sealed

Following a revolt by the English nobility against his rule, King John puts his royal seal on the Magna Carta, or “Great Charter.” The document, essentially a peace treaty between John and his barons, guaranteed that the king would respect feudal rights and privileges, uphold the ...read more

U.S. planes bomb North Vietnam

U.S. planes bomb targets in North Vietnam, but refrain from bombing Hanoi and the Soviet missile sites that surround the city. On June 17, two U.S. Navy jets downed two communist MiGs, and destroyed another enemy aircraft three days later. U.S. planes also dropped almost 3 ...read more

River excursion ends in tragedy

More than 1,000 people taking a pleasure trip on New York City’s East River are drowned or burned to death when a fire sweeps through the boat. This was one of the United States’ worst maritime disasters. The riverboat-style steamer General Slocum was built in 1890 and used ...read more

The United States presents the Baruch Plan

The United States presents the Baruch Plan for the international control of atomic weapons to the United Nations. The failure of the plan to gain acceptance resulted in a dangerous nuclear arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. In August ...read more

Lincoln calls for help

On this day in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln calls for help in protecting Washington, D.C., America’s capital city. Throughout June, Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia was on the move. He had pulled his army from its position along the Rappahannock ...read more

Delaware declares independence

On this day in 1776, the Assembly of the Lower Counties of Pennsylvania declares itself independent of British and Pennsylvanian authority, thereby creating the state of Delaware. Delaware did not exist as a colony under British rule. As of 1704, Pennsylvania had two colonial ...read more