The Treaty of 1818 was a treaty between the United States and Great Britain which resolved most long standing border issues between the U.S. and British North America (Canada). The official name of the treaty was The Convention Respecting Fisheries, Boundary and the Restoration of Slaves Between The United States of America and The Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
As stated earlier the treaty settled most border issues between the two countries and it allowed for a joint occupation of the Oregon Country or as it was called in British North America, the Colombia District of the Hudson Bay Company including the southern portion of the New Caledonia District of the Hudson Bay Company.
There were six articles to this particular treaty. Article I secured fishing rights off the shores of Newfoundland Labrador for the U.S.
Article II set the boundary between British North America and the United States “along a line from the most northwestern point of Lake of the Woods along the 49th parallel of north latitude to the Stony Mountains (Rocky Mountains).
Britain also ceded the part of Rupert’s Land and the Red River Colony south of the 49th parallel.
This part of the treaty settled a long border dispute between the two countries which was mostly due to ignorance of geography and incorrect mapping when the Treaty of Paris in 1783 ended the American Revolutionary War.
Article III called for the joint control of the Oregon Country (Colombia District of the Hudson Bay Company) for ten years. Both countries could control the territory and both countries were guaranteed free navigation through the territory without any interference from the other country.
Article IV confirmed the Anglo-American Convention of 1815 which regulated commerce between the two countries for an additional ten years.
Article V agreed to refer differences over a U.S. claim in regards to the Treaty of Ghent which ended the War of 1812. The difference would be resolved by “some Friendly Sovereign or State to be named for that purpose.”
The Americans claimed that the British held some slaves that were either on British ships or on British territory when the treaty was signed ending the war. The Americans were demanding either the return of these slaves or compensation for them.
Article VI stipulated that ratification would occur within six months after the treaty was signed.
The treaty was negotiated for the U.S. by Albert Gallatin, ambassador to France and Richard Rush, minister to the U.K.
On the British side was Fredrick John Robinson who was a Treasurer of the Royal Navy and a member of the Privy Council. Also on the British side was Henry Goulburn who was an undersecretary of state.
The treaty was signed on October 20, 1818 and ratifications were exchanged on January 30, 1819.
In 1846, the Oregon Treaty settled the joint occupation of the Oregon Country once and for all and the 49th parallel was designated as the border between the United States and British North America from Lake of the Woods all the way to the Northern Puget Sound near the Pacific Ocean.
The significance of the Treaty of 1818 is that along with the Rush-Bagot Treaty of 1817 it marked the beginning of improved relations between the British Empire and its former colony.
The border between the United States and Canada is 5,525 miles (8,891 km) long. It is the longest international boundary in the world.
Not only is it the longest international border in the world but it is also the longest demilitarized zone anywhere in the world as well. There are no standing armies monitoring the border and there has been peace between the two countries since the end of the War of 1812 which was settled by the Treaty of Paris in 1815.
There are many areas of the border where you cannot even tell if you are in Canada or the United States. In Maine for example there is a house that is one half in Canada and one half in the U.S. The street that it resides on is what determines which country it belongs in.
Could you see something like this happening between China and Russia or perhaps Germany and Poland? I highly doubt it.
The U.S. and Canada have a unique and special relationship that is glued together by a common history and economic relationship that has no parallel anywhere else in the entire world.