Bizarre Border? You Bet! A Short HIstory of the Canada-US Border

I recently came across this fun little video romp through the intricacies and contradictions in the Canada-US border.

I’ve since linked to it in my online Canada and the United States history course, in the lecture that touches on the founding of the International Boundary Commission. Established not many years after the contentious Alaska Boundary Dispute, the creation of the IBC represented the bureaucratization of border conflicts. For this reason, the IBC might ordinarily be considered a somewhat dry topic. C.P.G Grey’s video, “Bizarre Borders, Part 2: Canada and the United States,” manages to make it seem cool.

The history of the border (especially prior to the creation of the IBC) is quite a bit more colourful than one might think. What follows is a brief history of how the Canada-US border—even the seemingly straight part that runs along the 49th parallel—got to be so contentious and complicated. Continue reading