Tag Archives: Canada

Delayed M/J Issue

MJ 2020 page 1The May-June, 2020 issue of Alaskan History Magazine is currently at the printer, but with delays in production and potential delays in delivery, the issue will possibly not arrive until around the first of June.

The digital edition will be available at issuu by May 10th. If you are a subscriber or have purchased a single issue and would like to access the digital magazine, simply send me an email and I will return the access code to read or download that issue.

The May-June, 2020 issue of Alaskan History Magazine features articles on the Matanuska Colony Project, the 1918 influenza epidemic, an unusual stone storehouse built in 1896 in Hyder, a pioneering packhorse trip to the upper reaches of Kluane Lake, Stephen Birch and the Kennecott Copper Company, and the wide-ranging travels of Archdeacon Hudson Stuck, who ministered via dog team and riverboat across the northern reaches of the Alaska territory.

Production of the July-August issue is underway, and my plan is to have publication and mailing back on schedule to arrive in mailboxes the first week of July.

MJ 2020 ToC



 

May-June 2020

May-June 2020 coverThe May-June, 2020 issue of Alaskan History Magazine features articles on the following topics:

• The 1935 government social experiment known as the Matanuska Colony Project, which brought 200 farm families to Palmer.

• A unique historic look at the 1918 influenza epidemic from the Alaskan legislature, in which Governor Thomas Riggs, Jr. explained the situation.

• The pioneering packhorse trip of the English journalist E. J. Glave and the cowboy trailblazer Jack Dalton, from the coast near Haines to the upper reaches of Kluane Lake.

• Stephen Birch and the Kennecott Copper Company, and the infamous Alaska Syndicate.

• The wide-ranging travels of Archdeacon Hudson Stuck, who ministered via dog team and riverboat across the northern reaches of the Alaska territory.

• The history of an unusual stone storehouse built in 1896 in Hyder, on the border of Alaska and Canada.

Additional regular columns will make this another wonderful and wide-ranging exploration of Alaskan history!

To order the May-June issue, or back issues, or to subscribe, visit this page.


M:J 2020 PayPal


 

 

The Boundary Dispute

Plane table and pack trainExcerpts from the article in the March-April, 2020 issue of Alaskan History Magazine:

When the United States purchased Alaska from the Russian Empire in 1867, one of the best real estate deals in history was sealed, but the U.S. government also inherited a few headaches, not the least of which was a contentious disagreement over the geographic boundaries between the southeastern part of the territory of Alaska and the province of British Columbia, which had recently joined the newly formed Canadian Confederation, whose foreign affairs were still under British authority. 

In 1871 the Canadian government requested a survey to determine the exact location of the border, but the United States rejected the idea as too costly because the border area was very remote and sparsely settled, and there was no economic or strategic interest in conducting a survey there. That was challenged with the Cassiar gold rush in 1862 and the Klondike gold strike in 1897 intensified the pressure to survey the border. 

USCGS Survey Ship Patterson 1915

The Canadian and American representatives favored their respective governments’ territorial claims, and the Canadians, outraged by what they considered a betrayal by their colonial government, refused to sign the final decision, but the question had been put to binding arbitration, the decision took effect, and the resolution was issued on October 20, 1903. You can read the entire article, and many others, in the March-April issue.

For more information:

Statement of Facts Regarding the Alaska Boundary Question, Compiled for the Govt. of British Columbia (1902) 

The Alaska Boundary Line T. C. Mendenhall (1900) 

Alaska-Canada Boundary Dispute by Murray Lundberg, at ExploreNorth 

The Alaska Boundary Dispute: A Critical Reappraisal, by Norman Penlington (1972)


March-April 2020 Cover 600Alaskan History Magazine is an independently produced magazine dedicated to portraying the colorful and important past of the Last Frontier as an interesting and exciting journey of exploration. The style is conversational, yet confident and informative, thoroughly researched to bring the true stories of the people, places and events which shaped Alaskan history to a wide readership. Subscribe, order all the back issues, or just order a single issue click this link.

 

The Alabama Claims

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Tzar Alexander II’s ratification of the Treaty

There is a wealth of Alaskan history in the old books and documents which are digitized and online, available to read, download, save to your Kindle or other device, or otherwise enjoy in multiple formats. The Library of Congress has an astonishing collection of historic documents, as expected, including Alaska-specific volumes such as the Treaty concerning the cession of the Russian possessions in North America by His Majesty the emperor of all the Russias to the United States of America (1867), a 1967 facsimile of the limited official edition of the original Treaty of Cession. You can read the text-only version over at the Yale Law Library, or in the Harvard Classics at Bartleby, and there’s a transcribed photo version at the Alaska State Library.

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The signing of the Alaska Treaty of Cessation on March 30, 1867. L–R: Robert S. Chew, William H. Seward, William Hunter, Mr. Bodisco, Eduard de Stoeckl, Charles Sumner, and Frederick W. Seward.

The history behind the treaty was reported on the front page of newspapers across the U.S., such as this leading article from The New York Tribune for April 1, 1867 (top of the fifth column). The history is also well explained at Wikipedia: “The Alaska Purchase (Russian: Продажа Аляски, tr. Prodazha Alyaski, Sale of Alaska) was the United States’ acquisition of Alaska from the Russian Empire. Alaska was formally transferred to the United States on October 18, 1867, through a treaty ratified by the United States Senate and signed by President Andrew Johnson.”

The article continues with the history, public opinion about the purchase, the transfer ceremony, the aftermath, and much more, including their always-valuable references, further reading, and external links. While some people dismiss Wikipedia itself as a resource, I find the additional resources Wikipedia freely shares to be of utmost value, and the best reason to keep it among my bookmarked research sources. As an example, a linked reference under See Also led me to the “Alabama Claims, the US demands for British reparations after the Civil War, which Seward thought would lead to the cession of western Canada.”


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Painting of the CSS Alabama

I’d heard the term before, but I didn’t know the history, so I was surprised to learn that our Secretary Seward had higher aims than just Alaska: “The Alabama Claims were a series of demands for damages sought by the government of the United States from the United Kingdom in 1869, for the attacks upon Union merchant ships by Confederate Navy commerce raiders built in British shipyards during the American Civil War. The claims focused chiefly on the most famous of these raiders, the CSS Alabama, which took more than sixty prizes before she was sunk off the French coast in 1864.”

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Sen. Charles Sumner, MA

“Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, the chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, originally wanted to ask for $2 billion in damages, or alternatively, the ceding of Canada to the United States. When American Secretary of State William H. Seward negotiated the Alaska Purchase in 1867, he intended it as the first step in a comprehensive plan to gain control of the entire northwest Pacific Coast. Seward was a firm believer in “Manifest Destiny”, primarily for its commercial advantages to the United States. Seward expected the West Coast Province of British Columbia to seek annexation to the United States and thought Britain might accept this in exchange for the Alabama claims. Soon other U.S. politicians endorsed annexation, with the goal of annexing British Columbia, the central Canadian Red River Colony (later Manitoba), and eastern Nova Scotia, in exchange for dropping the damage claims.”

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US Secretary of State William H. Seward

It’s all quite fascinating, and if you’ve read this far you should click here and read the entire article to learn why the claim was dropped without our annexing a large part of Canada. There are also many interesting links to references, a bibliography, and external links which lead to books, articles, newspaper accounts, and much more. One link took me to another particularly interesting online book, Great Britain and the American Civil War, and another to a detailed breakdown of the Alabama Claims and their “final and amicable settlement,” written in 1871.

In my opinion the best book about the entire affair is the 1900 book written by Thomas Willing Balch titled simply The Alabama Arbitration. It is available to read or download free at The Internet Archive.

There are also good articles at:

• History.com

•  Office of the Historian for the U.S. Department of State

JSTOR “The arbitration which led to this result has been described as one which, whether measured by the gravity of the questions at issue or by the enlightened statesmanship which conducted them to a peaceful determination, was justly regarded as the greatest the world had ever seen.” -JB Moore, History and Digest of the International Arbitrations to which the United States has been a Party (Washington, 1898)

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Alabama sinks the whaler Virginia