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szdaily -> Speak Shenzhen -> 
The Pig War
    2019-04-09  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

James Baquet

The “Pig War” was a bloodless conflict. This dispute between the U.K. and the U.S. took place in the San Juan Islands between what are now the Canadian province of British Columbia and the U.S. state of Washington.

The Oregon Treaty of 1846 had defined the boundary between the two countries at that point as running down “the middle of the channel which separates the continent from Vancouver Island.” However, there are two such channels: the Haro Strait to the west of the San Juan Islands, and the Rosario Strait to the east. As a result of this ambiguity, both countries claimed the San Juans as their own.

On June 15, 1859, Lyman Cutlar, an American who had moved onto San Juan Island to farm, found a pig eating tubers in his garden. Out of frustration, he shot it. The pig belonged to Charles Griffin, who worked for Britain’s Hudson’s Bay Company.

Cutlar offered to pay Griffin US$10 for the pig; Griffin demanded US$100. When Cutlar replied that he would pay nothing, as the pig was trespassing, the British authorities threatened to arrest Cutlar. The handful of American settlers on the island called on the U.S. for protection.

Sixty-six American soldiers arrived. The British wanted to prevent more American “squatters” from settling in the islands, so by Aug. 10, five British warships carrying 2,140 men and 70 guns faced off with 461 Americans with 14 cannons.

The British governor ordered the marines to land and attack the American soldiers. The British admiral refused, saying it was foolish for “two great nations” to engage “in a war over a squabble about a pig.”

Officers on both sides were told to be prepared to defend themselves, but not to attack. The soldiers on both sides, however, hurled insults at one another, hoping to goad the other side into firing the first shot, but both sides maintained their discipline.

When the two nations’ leaders in Washington and London got wind of what was happening, steps were immediately taken to calm the situation. For 12 years, two camps were maintained amicably on the island. At the end of that time, international arbitration hearings turned the San Juan Islands over to the United States.

Vocabulary:

Which words above mean:

1. fleshy roots

2. people occupying a place illegally

3. threw, tossed

4. in a friendly way

5. a small number

6. without violence

7. push, incite

8. entering someone’s property illegally

9. minor argument

10. former process for settling disputes

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