Trivia Minute June 15, 2015

107: One Little Pig and the Big Bad Trivia

by Marcus Michelson
"PigWar-boundaries" by Pfly - self-made, information one boundaries from Hayes, Derek, Historical Atlas of the Pacific Northwest.. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:PigWar-boundaries.png#/media/File:PigWar-boundaries.png
Map of the San Juan Islands  of Washington state with proposed borders. The red line is the British proposal. The blue line is the American proposal and the green line was a compromise proposal. Eventually the blue line was decided to be the international border. (Map by Pfly via Wikimedia)

June 15, 1859 marked the start of the Pig War, a conflict between the United States and Great Britian over the international boundary in the San Juan Islands of Washington state.

Here are a few facts about the Pig War you may not have known.

First: It was a bloodless conflict, except for that of one pig. Lyman Cutlar, an American farmer living on San Juan Island killed a pig belonging to an Irishman, Charles Griffin, who was employed by the Hudson’s Bay Company.

Second: The US and UK disagreed as to which nation held the claim to the islands, and British authorities threatened to arrest Cutlar. This resulted in an American military force being deployed to the island, with the British responding in kind.

Third: Calmer heads prevailed as negotiations were undertaken to determine the sovereignty of the islands. The military forces built camps on the island and settled in while the talks continued. During the 12-year negotiations, the troops stationed on the island became friendly, celebrating each other’s national holidays together and competing in athletic events. The incident ended in 1872 when Kaiser Wilhelm I of Germany determined the border to run though Haro Strait, where it remains today.

Our question: Who are the San Juan Islands named after?

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