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The English, by reason of the voyages of the Cabots along our eastern coast in 1498 acquired the title of first discoverers to the country extending from the thirty-eighth to the sixty-seventh degree of north latitude. They were instructed to discover countries unknown to Christian people and to take possession of the same in the name of the King of England.

The English Government began the work of taking possession of America by colonization.

The first charter was granted by Queen Elizabeth, March 25, A. D. 1584, to Sir Walter Raleigh, known since as the North Carolina charter. Five voyages were made thereunder, but no permanent settlements established. Then followed a series of grants and charters to individuals and companies, under which the colonies comprising the thirteen original States of the American Union and their western lands were acquired. The title to our national domain comes, first, by discovery by the Cabots; second, by discoveries and colonization under grants, authorizations, and charters from England, Holland, France, Sweden, and Spain, and treaties and conventions thereafter; third, by Revolution in 1776, and confirmation through and by the definitive treaty of peace at Paris with Great Britain, September 3, 1783, whereby the Crown of Great Britain recognized the Independence of the United States; fourth, by purchase from France of the province of Louisiana, April 30, 1803; fifth, by purchase from Spain of the East and West Floridas, February 22, 1819; sixth, by annexation of the Republic of Texas, December 29, 1845 ; seventb, by the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, February 2, 1848; eighth, by purchase from the Republic of Mexico (the Gadsden purchase) of the Mesilla Valley, December 30, 1853; ninth, by purchase from the Empire of Russia of Alaska, March 30, 1867.


The national domain is the total area, land and water, embraced within the boundaries of the United States of America, amounting to about 4,000,000 square miles, the land surface being estimated at 3,591,066 square miles, or 2,298,282,240 acres. Alaska and its islands, on the northwest coast of America are included in this estimate, and are hereafter geographically described. Excluding Alaska the national domain extends through fifty-eight degrees of longitude, from ocean to ocean, and through twenty-four degrees of latitude from the great northern lakes to the Gulf of Mexico.


Order of admission.

The national domain consists of thirty-eight States, viz:

Order of

admission. 1. Delaware ................

20. Mississippi ............. 2. Pennsylvania...

21. Illinois ......... 3. New Jersey......

22. Alabama.... 4. Georgia......

23. Maine 5. Connecticut...

24. Missouri. 6. Massachusetts..

25. Arkansas ... 7. Maryland.....

26. Michigan . 8. South Carolina..

27. Florida 9. New Hampshire

28. Texas .... 10. Virginia .........

29. Iowa. 11. New York....

30. Wisconsin .. 12. North Carolina ...

31. California ,... 13. Rhode Island...

32. Minnesota ... 14. Vermont ........

33. Oregon ....... 15. Kentucky .......

34. Kansas 16. Tennessee...

35. West Virginia. 17. Ohio....

36. Nevada 18. Louisiana .........

37. Nebraska 19. Indiana ......

38. Colorado ....

Thirteen original States. - Pos 7200

Eight Territories, viz, under organic acts passed by Congress, given in order: 1. New Mexico.

| 5. Arizona. 2. Utah.

6. Idaho. 3. Washington.

7. Montana. 4. Dakota.

8. Wyoming
The District of Columbia.
Indian Territory, no civil government under laws of Congress.
Territory of Alaska, unorganized.

A piece known as “Public Land,” or “Land Strip," southwest of Kansas and north of Texas, unattached to any State or Territory.


The United States, exclusive of Alaska, has for its northern boundary a line from the mouth of the Saint Croix River to its head, and thence due north to the highlands which divide those rivers that empty themselves into the Saint Lawrence from those which fall into the Atlantic Ocean ; thence along the crest of those highlands to the northwesternmost head of the Connecticut River; down that river to and westward along the forty-fifth parallel to and along the middle of the Ontario, Erie, Huron, Superior, and Long lakes and their water connections to the most northwestern point of the Lake of the Woods; and thence along the forty-ninth parallel to the Pacific Ocean, the line at the northwest terminus excluding Vancouver's Island, but including the islands of the San Juan group. For its southern boundary, the Gulf of Mexico, the Rio Grande del Norte River, to the plateau of the Sierra Nevadas, latitude 31° 47' north; thence by an irregular line running between the thirty-first and thirty-tbird parallels of latitude to the waters of the Pacific Ocean. On the east and west by the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans respectively.

Alaska, the extreme northwest portion of the United States, is bounded as follows (given in treaty of cession of March 30, 1867):

Commencing at 54° 40' north latitude, ascending Portland Channel to the mountains, following their summits to 141° west longitude ; thence north on this line to the Arctic Ocean, forming the eastern boundary. Starting from the Arctic Ocean west, the line descends Behring's Strait, between the two islands of Krusenstern and Ratmanoff, to the parallel of 65° 30', and proceeds due north, without limitation, into the same Arctic Ocean. Beginning again at the same initial point, on the parallel of 65° 30'; thence in a course southwest, through Behring's Strait, between the island of Saint Lawrence and Cape Choukotski, to 1720 west longitude; and thence sonth westerly, through Behring's Sea, between the islands of Atton and Copper, to the meridian of 193° west longitude, leaving the prolonged group of the Aleutian Íslands in the possessions now transferred to the United States, and making the western boundary of our country the diiding line between Asia and America.

Alaska contains 577,390 square miles, or 369,529,600 acres. .



Our national boundaries are now fully and completely established and acknowledged, with one exception, heroinafter noted. They were first established for all that portion of territory lying east of the Mississippi River, to the Atlantic Ocean, north to the present international boupdary, and south to the north boundary line of the State of Florida, and west of the present State along the thirty-first parallel to the Mississippi River, embracing the thirteen colonies and their western territory.

These boundaries were established by the provisional articles between the United States and Great Britain, concluded November 30, 1782, at Paris, France, by Richard Oswald on behalf of Great Britain, and John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and John Jay on behalf of the United States, and by the definitive treaty of peace between the same high contracting parties, done at Paris September 3, 1783, by David Hartley on the part of Great Britain, and Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and John Jay on the part of the United States. The western and southern boundaries of the above acknowledged limits were acknowledged on behalf of Spain, the sovereign over and owner of the territory lying to the south and west of the United States, by a treaty of" friendship, limits, and navigation” made at San Lorenzo el Real, October 27, 1795, by Thomas Pinckney on behalf of the United States, and El Principe De La Paz on behalf of Spain.


The northern boundary line of the original and purchased territory of the United States became the source of much serious negotiations between Great Britain and the United States. It was finally settled by a series of treaties and commissions and arbitrations thereunder, running through a period of ninety years.

The treaty of London, made at London, England, November 19, 1794, by Earl Greenville for Great Britain, and John Jay for the United States, contained several articles on this boundary qnestion, Articles IV and V contained two provisions, the first for determining the location of the source of the Mississippi River, and for joint survey of the same from one degree below the Falls of Saint Anthony northward, and the second for commissioners, one for each country and one to be chosen or selected by the two. They were to meet at Halifax. They were to decide " what river is the river Saint Croix intended by the treaty" (definitive treaty of September 3, 1783.)

The source of the river-when it should be established-was to be marked by a monument. This was under an explanatory article of date March 15, 1798. The monument marking the boundary was erected under the supervision of Andrew Ellicott, Esq,

The commission met frequently after August 30, 1796, the date of its first meeting, and held its final meeting October 25, 1798.

The American commissioner was David Howell; the British commissioner was Thomas Barclay; the third commissioner, selected by the first two, was Egbert Benson, (an American). James Sullivan was the American agent, and Ward Chipman the agent for Great Britain. The secretary of the commission was Ed. Winston.


The treaty of " peace and amity” between Great Britain and the United States, done at Ghent, Belgium, December 24, 1814, by James Lord Gambier, Henry Goulburn, and William Adams on behalf of Great Britain; and John Quincy Adams, J. A. Bayard, Henry Clay, Jonathan Russell, and Albert Gallatin on behalf of the United States, contained three articles relating to the northern boundary line.

Article IV provided for a commission to settle title to islands off the coast of Maine. The commission was organized by the appointment of John Holmes and Thomas Barclay as commissioners on the part of the United States and Great Britain respectively. James T. Austin was the American, and Ward Chipman the British agent. Anthony Barclay was the secretary.

On November 24, 1817, the commission, at New York, rendered its decision, awarding Moose, Dudley, and Frederick islands to the United States, and all other islands in Passamaquoddy Bay and the Isle of Grand Menan were awarded to Great Britain.

These awards were accepted and approved by both governments. Article V provided for a commission to meet at Saint Andrews, New Brunswick, and determine the boundary line between the United States and the British possessions, from the source of the river Saint Croix to the river Saint Lawrence. In case of failure of the commissioners to agree, the matter was to be referred to a friendly sovereign. The commissioner on behalf the United States was C. P. Van Ness, and Thomas Barclay was the commissioner on behalf of Great Britain. William C. Bradly was agent for the United States and Ward Chipman for Great Britain.

The surveyors, under direction of this commission, ran and marked lines in 1817 and 1818.

The commission failed to agree as to the boundary. C. P. Van Ness, the American commissioner, reported this fact to his Government November 20, 1821.


After repeated efforts to settle and fix definitely this portion of the northern boundary a convention between the United States and Great Britain-in conformity with tho fifth article of the Treaty of Ghent, the commission therein provided for having failed to agree as to the proper boundary between the two countries-was entered into and concluded at London, England, September, 29, 1827, by Cbarles Grant and Henry Unwin Addington on behalf of Great Britain, and Albert Gallatin on behalf of the United States, and the matter of the northeast boundary referred to a friendly soyereign as provided in said Treaty of Ghent. William, King of the Netherlands, was selected, by agreement and concert between the high contracting parties.


January 10, 1831, the King, by his award, recommended that a line be drawn from the head of the river Saint Croix due north to where it strikes the middle of the river Saint John, and thence up the middle of that river to the mouth of the Saint Francis; thence up that river to the extreme source of its southwesternmost branch; thence due west to its intersection with the line claimed by the United States. He further decided that the utmost source of the northwesternmost stream emptying into the

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