Feb 12, 2016

Canada U.S. War of Pork and Beans

Canada and the United States have not fought a war against each other officially since 1814, but in 1839, there was a ‘war’ of sorts fought mainly with fists and axe handles. It was along the New Brunswick–Maine border and the warriors were lumbermen. It is known as the 'war of pork and beans', or the 'Aroostook Controversy'.

Logging along both sides of the border was controlled by powerful lumber barons who were not always careful about the areas into which they sent their lumberjacks. Most of the trouble was in the rich Aroostook Valley pines. The worst battle broke out on February 8, 1839. Under normal circumstances, the fighting among loggers might not have caused much alarm, but the situation was dangerous, because of the dispute about the location of the border.

Maine and New Brunswick called out the militia. Nova Scotia passed an appropriation for defense, and British troops were rushed from Halifax to guard the border along St. Croix River. The United States Congress voted $10,000,000 to raise a force of 50,000 men if required.

London and Washington realized the seriousness of the situation and President Van Buren persuaded the Governors of Maine and New Brunswick to arrange a truce.  Britain and the United States finally agreed on a border. The Ashburton-Webster Treaty provided a settlement in 1842.