Point Roberts remained US territory because the Americans insisted on maintaining the strictest interpretation of the Treaty of Oregon, even though it was pretty much useless being a tiny exclave. But at the same time the US generously conceded the southern part of Vancouver island to Canada.

What was the reasoning behind this?

  • 2
    What is wrong with the Wikipedia answer? "The acceptance of the 49th parallel as the international boundary was concluded without precise knowledge of its effects. Later, as the Boundary Commission surveyed the line, the British government realized the peninsula of Point Roberts would be an isolated part of the United States."
    – MCW
    May 20 '18 at 17:01
  • @MarkCWallace If you read that paragraph further, you'll see that the British negotiators were instructed to try some horse trading to keep Point Roberts in Canada. It's not stated whether they tried, and if they did, why there was ultimately no deal in that regard.
    – Spencer
    May 20 '18 at 17:35
  • @MarkCWallace yes but why bother protecting Point Roberts after previously having had conceded a huge chunk of land a bit West from there? May 21 '18 at 13:48
  • 1
    @Spencer: Note that the British proposal to "let us have Point Roberts" only occurred after the treaty was concluded and the border was surveyed. Specifically, the International Boundary Commission didn't finish its work until 1861, and by that time the Americans probably had other matters on their minds instead of a small chunk of land far away from Washington. May 21 '18 at 15:47
  • 1
    @MichaelSeifert And that is the most likely answer to this question, barring the appeance of some diplomatic correspondence from this time period.
    – Spencer
    May 21 '18 at 17:31

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