The Pig War - OverSimplified
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Get it quick along with some beautiful new character pins. (cheering) Look at us, boys, we've only gone and bloody done it. We beat the Brits and secured independence. Now to expand westward and conquer the rest of the continent.
Uh, Thomas, it looks like a bunch of different people already live out west. (gasps) What? Oh, no, that means we can't expand. I hate my life.
Whoa, whoa, whoa. I didn't say they were white people. (crowd cheering) At the end of the Revolutionary War, when the United States secured its independence from Great Britain, the two sides met in Paris to settle the terms. Among various things, they discussed American territorial gains and the British granted them a generous amount of land out west. However, Benjamin Franklin appeared to have an additional fascination.
Oh Canada, so voluptuous. You think we can maybe acquire some of that? Quit oogling our territory. But look at those curves. I'd worry less about Canada's curves and more about your own curves, Benjamin. (crowd laughing) Many in America suggested that, one day, the Canadian colonies should become a part of the United States. In response, Britain suggested that many in America should shut the hell up.
Well, if Britain wasn't gonna give up Canada, then the two sides had to agree on where to put their border. Easy enough for the most part. Follow some existing borders, add in a few rivers and lakes, maybe even a parallel for good measure. But then there was a question, what would happen here? (clock ticking) Straight line? Straight line. And so it was.
The border would go from the northwestern most point of this perfectly oval shaped lake and continue in a straight line westward until it met the Mississippi River. Perfect or was it? Well as it turned out, the lake didn't actually look like this, but like this, and the Mississippi wasn't here, but here. So in the end, none of that made even the slightest bit of sense.
Don't blame the founding fathers, they were just using the best map available, blame the guy who made it. But to the minds of the day, the issue had been solved and it was finally time to start getting along. Oh, back to war they go. The glorious War of 1812 saw the Americans try to invade Canada and the British burn down the White House. But when all was said and done, it was pretty much a draw. And once again, America and Britain had to enter into peace negotiations.
By now, both sides realized the original border they came up with was a piece of hot garbage. And since America had also recently obtained a huge amount of land from Napoleon, they decided they would need to re-examine the border issue. (clock ticking) Straight line? Straight line. And so it was.
To fix the problems of the previous border agreement, they decided to go from the Northwestern most point of this lake, as had been previously agreed, down to the 49th parallel. And from there, the line would go straight as an arrow up until the Rocky mountains. But beyond the Rockies, the two sides couldn't quite agree on where it would go next because both sides claimed the territory beyond the Rockies was theirs. See, throughout its early history, America as a nation had its eyes heavily fixated on all that juicy land out west. Ripe for invasion. I mean settlementation.
America wanted to expand. Not only was it there right, some believed it was a destiny given to them by God himself to multiply and spread across the continent, like rats or disease. Okay guys, just before we take over everything, God definitely said this is what we're meant to do, right? (crowd murmuring) And who was it who spoke to God? (crowd murmuring) Well, it was one of us.
There's no way we made this whole thing up to justify ruthless, collective imperialist tendencies. (crowd cheers) All right. Well, in that case, let's get out there and make the world a better place just as God intended. (crowd cheering) (gunfire) (explosion) This belief in divinely destined expansion will later be given its very own name, manifest destiny, but America wasn't the only one interested in controlling the Western territories. At the time, Canada was made up of a number of colonies collectively referred to as British North America. This one over here was owned by the Hudson's Bay Company, a British charter company dedicated to turning as many beavers as possible into as many felt hats as possible as quickly as possible.
And the indigenous people became a key supplier. As a result, the British were also eager to control the land out west and secure that regions valuable resources. And in particular, the great Columbia River was deemed vital to the beaver business.
So when it came to the question of what would happen to the border beyond the Rockies, the conversation went a little like this. The line should keep going straight because we're manifestly destined to gain the entire North American continent. No, we need this river so we can keep scalping beavers.
Look, why don't we just draw the border along the river? That way we both have access to it. Well, that would be a completely fair compromise that protects the interests of both parties. And there's no way I'm ever going to agree to it! Having come to a roadblock, both sides simply agreed that, for now, they would jointly occupied the Northwestern territory. They were both free to settle and trade there, but rest assured the agreement was only temporary.
Eventually somebody would get their way. Listen, yank, we can jointly occupy this land, but I ain't sharing anything else. I don't want to see you using my toothbrush. I don't want to catch you wearing my underwear.
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to get a two year plan with a huge discount plus an additional month for free? And as always, you'll be supporting my channel. So thank you. Now, where were we? Oh yeah. Bickering over boundaries, manifesting destiny and a joint occupation of Oregon.
And one man living here, who felt the territory should be British, was James Douglas. The Hudson's Bay Company's no nonsense chief factor at Fort Vancouver. What a beautiful unspoiled corner of the British empire. I've got my spotted dick, my spice girls fan club membership, and an unrelenting negative outlook on life that affects everyone around me.
What are you looking at, Steven? Yes, truly British. What the. (noisy crowd) No! The problem for men like Douglas was that many Americans had already begun streaming up the Oregon trail gun slinging, howdy neighbor, and in diarrhea having by the thousands, they were pouring into the Oregon territory in search of land to settle and farm. This however crowded up the fur trade.
And eventually the very bitter Douglas and the other Hudson's Bay traders at Fort Vancouver were ordered to relocate north to a new base of operations. But the Americans keep coming and they don't stop coming hopped in their wagons and they hit the ground running. It didn't make sense to keep sharing Oregon when they outnumbered the Brits more than six to one. And suddenly the whole joint occupation deal was being called into question. Newly elected president Polk maintained that America had an obvious claim to the entire region, even implying a possible war with Britain. Fiery language from U.S. senators
declared that American rifles would annihilate the Hudson's Bay Company in Oregon and America even gave Britain notice that it was pulling out of the joint occupation agreement. The British were alarmed as the two sides stood on the brink of war. But in the end, neither truly wanted to fight. The British favored maintaining good economic relations while the Americans had already gotten themselves into a war with Mexico.
So after a bit of back and forth, the British finally said, fine. You wanted a straight line there, there's your straight line. (gunshots) Yeehaw! And so the agreement was made. The border would continue directly to the Strait of Georgia, but because the British insisted they keep Vancouver Island, it would then move south through the center of the channel and onto the Pacific Ocean. Finally, the issue of the Northwest border had been solved.
(beeping) Hold the phone discrepancy detected, enhance frame 200%. (beeping) Enhance. (beeping) Enhance.
(beeping) Nope, too far. (screams) Perfect. Now show me the exact wording of the treaty. The line of boundary goes to the middle of the channel and thence southerly through the middle of said channel, but there's loads of channels. So you tell me, dear viewer, which channel is the treaty referring to? And therefore who owns these islands? Is the wording of the treaty maybe a little too vague? Well, that's exactly the problem encountered by the people living in the area. The British insisted that the channel intended by the treaty was the Rosario Strait and therefore the islands were British.
The Americans on the other hand, argued that the intended channel was the Haro Strait and therefore the islands were American. At times, the debate became rather heated. Even the individuals who negotiated and signed the treaty at times didn't seem entirely sure which channel the treaty meant and representatives from the Hudson's Bay Company begged them to make it clearer.
But thousands of miles away the people in power simply had more to worry about than some tiny islands in the middle of nowhere. Order! Order! Shut up! (crashing) All right, listen up, we got a lot to get through. The 7th Earl of Jizzingham says he encountered a foul beast in the fields of Upper Fartingdom late last night, and put this sketch together. That, that's a poor person, Darren! Ugh, next. Lord Piddlingham says he has a new mole on his backside? How has that parliamentary business, George? Oh, some islands in the Pacific Northwest are in dispute and could lead to a war with America? Boring! Fine. Let's take a look at that mole, George.
(crowd cheering) And so, for now, the islands were simply held in dispute. Were they British or were they American? I'm sure this conflict won't cause anyone to die. And one man who thought the islands were undeniably British was James Douglas, now the Governor of Vancouver Island. He had already once had American settlers encroach on his territory and force him to move.
And by golly, he wasn't going to let it happen again. As far as he was concerned, those islands were not only British, but prime agricultural land. And given the chance those glubby yanks wouldn't hesitate to start pitching flags with their glubby little hands. And so he came up with a plan. If the British settled the islands first, then that would surely secure them for Britain. And so in 1853, Douglas sent an Irishman by the name of Charles Griffin, along with some Hawaiian shepherds to go set up a sheep farm on San Juan Island.
And set up a sheep farm they did. The place was rammed with sheep. 1,369 to be exact. But within those flocks of wooly cowards could also be found a number of beautiful, prized Berkshire pigs. Oh, Porky, you look stunning. You're the greatest thing that's ever happened to me.
Would you, perhaps, like to go to the island ball together tonight? Oink once for no, roll around in that cow crap if yes. Yes! I'm covered in poo and I'm the luckiest man alive! But life on the island for Charles Griffin wasn't to be a perfect paradise of pig pageants because unfortunately for him, the Americans also believed the island was theirs. One day in 1854, an American customs collector was sailing around the islands on the outlook for bands of native tribesmen when he spotted something.
Aha! I've got you now you savages. Over yonder. Those are sheep, sir.
Sheep you say? What are they doing here? Let's go and negotiate with them. Negotiate with sheep? Are you crazy? I'm perfectly stable you ratbag! Call me crazy again and I'll eat your eyes! Uh, hello, good sir. We request to speak with your leader. (sheep baaing) Out of my way. Allow me to parlay with this foul beast.
(baaing) Hey! Hey! Stop threatening my sheep. Your sheep? You mean to tell me that you, a British subject, have illegally imported these sheep into American territory? I'll have you know that you, an American, are currently trespassing on British territory. (baaing) The Americans felt that they were entitled to collect taxes on the British property, you know, because the island was American and they threatened seizure if dues weren't paid.
The British, meanwhile, threatened to arrest the Americans, you know, because the island was British and the two sides were in a standoff. To give Charles Griffin the legal power to deal with the American trespassers, Douglas said, hey, put on this wig, boom, you're a magistrate now. And in turn, Griffin went to one of his Hawaiian shepherds and said, hey, I'm making you a Constable.
Put on this badge. (screaming) The British then went off to arrest the U.S. customs inspector, but, being an American, he emerged from his tent with four pistols and a giant knife. So the Brits had to back down. Eventually, raids by Northern tribes chased the U.S. officer from the island.
But the Americans weren't done yet. Officials from nearby Whatcom county in Washington territory believed the island fell under their jurisdiction. And they decided it was time to make the British pay up once and for all. They sent one Sheriff Barnes to go confront Charles Griffin.
Hey, you owe us $80 and 33 cents for all this farm stuff you got here. Go suck an egg. Oh, I see.
So that's how it is, huh? That's how it's going to be, is it? That's the way in which things are, eh? That be how it will, is it? Will it be how that is, huh? That be the way in which things be the way they are, is it? Get off my property! So the sheriff and other Whatcom county officials felt they were now well within their rights to seize and auction off Griffin's sheep in order to recoup lost taxes. And who would they auction these prized breeding rams off to but themselves? Then in a pretty chaotic scene, they worked to tie the rams to their boats. And when Charles Griffin came running to rescue his kidnapped sheep, being Americans, they pulled out guns on him and he had to back down. In all, Charles Griffin lost 34 breeding rams and he was furious.
The British complained to the American government who were shocked to hear what had been going on at the Northwest border. And both governments told their officials in the area to back off. We're not trying to start a major war over some dumb sheep and a stupid island. But also the islands are definitely ours. Under no circumstances at the other side have them. For now, both governments agreed to set up yet another boundary commission to decide which channel was the correct border.
But it often devolved into petty bickering. The British did make one interesting suggestion though. We could draw the border through this middle channel and split the islands between us. Well, that would be a completely fair compromise that protects the interests of both parties.
And there's no way I'm ever going to agree to it. (gunshots) And in the aftermath of the sheep raid, James Douglas, still stationed at Fort Victoria, became even more cautious of American encroachment into his territory. Uh, Mr. Douglas, sir, it appears an Indian has discovered gold in the Fraser Canyon just north of here.
(gasps) Shut up! Keep your voice down, boy. We can't risk those glubby Americans hearing about this or our territory here will be infested with them. Oh no! (crowd cheering) No! The Fraser Canyon gold rush attracted a heap of Americans to the region. Some got lucky, most did not. And of those that didn't, rather than returning all the way home, many simply decided to settle in the area. And in particular, the juicy green pastures of San Juan Island were rather appealing.
Believing the island was American territory, around a dozen American settlers moved there in the late 1850s. One of them was a man named Lyman Cutler. A young man in his mid twenties and lazy as pie. He didn't want to have to clear a space in the forest to build his home.
So he said, eh, I'll just build my cabin right in the middle of this British sheep run. I'm sure that won't make anyone mad. When he planted potato seeds in his garden, rather than building a nice protective fence around them, he said, I'll just fence in three sides and hope all these British farm animals have a moral compass and respect my property rights. (gasps then screams) Griffin's pig was a Berkshire well-known for rooting, and Lyman's fairly pathetic fence made for a bad combination. Numerous times he had had to chase the pig away from his property. And he once angrily marched up to Griffin's home saying, hey, British farm idiot.
Keep your stupid pig out of my potatoes. It is up to you to keep your potatoes out of my pig. (door slams) Griffin was furious with his new American neighbors. They built their homes all over his sheep pastures. And besides what right did they have to be here anyway? It was British territory.
Lyman, on the other hand, swore the local government had assured him his land claims were legitimate. And so to him, the British were out of line. Look at that sick freak! In love with his pig. Isn't that just sick? Yeah! What a freak? Not like our love, Spuddy. Ours is all natural.
Yep, just a man in his potato. Nothing wrong with that. But the tension between Lyman and Griffin was just about to explode. What the? (gasps) Spuddy? All right, you damn dirty pig. That's the final straw.
(gunshot) Lyman shot the pig. After taking a second to calm down, he felt bad about murdering Griffin's prized boar. So you went to him and said, Hey man, look, I, I kinda just killed your pig.
It was eating my potatoes again and I don't know man, I just, I kinda just killed your pig. Killed your pig. Killed your pig.
(bright music) (laughing) You swine! No, no the swine is the one I killed. I'm Lyman. (screaming and crying) Griffin demanded Lyman pay a hundred dollars for the loss of the pig, an outrageous sum at the time. Obviously, Lyman refused. Threatening to shoot anymore animals that dared enter his property, even threatening to shoot Griffin himself. When Griffin complained to James Douglas, British officials went and confronted the pig killer.
Again, they insisted he pay up and if he didn't, Lyman claimed they threatened to arrest him and take him back to Victoria. British officials arresting an American on American soil and trying him under British law, now that's controversial. And it's a controversy that attracted the attention of an American General in charge of the department of Oregon. One William S Harney. This guy.
General Harney had a reputation. He's the kind of guy who invades Mexico without orders, wasting valuable resources and creating an embarrassing situation for everyone involved. He's the kind of guy who has one of his own men arrested for writing the wrong header on a report. He's the kind of guy who finds a dog digging up his yard and then chases it for a mile and a half just to give it a beating. He hated superiors, hated being told what to do and had been court-martialed four times for disobeying orders.
Contemporaries described him as an imbecile, all matter and no mind, an arrogant humbug and a laughing stock. Like I said, General Harney had a reputation. He hated the British out was up for any opportunity to earn personal glory for himself. By some accounts, he even wanted to become president. And so in July, 1859, when he happened to visit San Juan Island, and he learned of the plight of the Americans living there, the shooting of a pig and the British threat to arrest Lyman Cutler, General Harney went into scheme mode. (dramatic music) (phone ringing) Ay yo, Captain Pickett.
Yes sir? Listen carefully. I need you to go pick up some flowers and bring them to my place later. I've got a plan. Here I am, sir. What's the plan?
Pickett, you and I are going to start a war. What do you mean, sir? Okay, listen up. An American man shoots a worthless pig on San Juan Island and the British threatened to arrest him. Outrageous! But we can use it.
We get the settlers there to send us a petition saying they need American troops for protection. That's when you go with your men and occupy the island. The British will find American troops on an island they considered theirs so offensive they won't hesitate to blow you to smithereens. Then it's war. We bring in reinforcements and we fight back. I'll write to Washington DC letting them know what's happening, but here's the kicker, my letter will take six whole weeks to get there.
Before the government even gets a chance to respond, telling me I'm an idiot and ordering me to cease fire, the island will be ours. Hell we could even invade Vancouver island or British Columbia. It's foolproof.
Wow. Very impressive, sir. But I got to ask, why? Well I'll level with you, Pickett, historians still contest exactly what it is I'm trying to do here. It's possible I'm trying to expand America's territory. Maybe I'm trying to play the hero so I can become president. Some have even suggested that since I'm a slave owning southerner, I may be trying to create a diversion to help the south succeed in the upcoming civil war.
But if there's one thing that almost everyone can agree on, it's that I'm an idiot. I see. But hold on. What'd you tell me to bring flowers for? Because, Pickett, they're pretty and I like them. There are also historians who believe that Harney and Pickett had no secret plan at all and were not scheming masterminds, but simply hotheaded buffoons, genuinely outraged at the audacity of the British and trying to protect American citizens. But the fact of the matter is Pickett took the very controversial and extremely provocative act of landing American troops on disputed territory.
He set up his camp in a very exposed position and directed a very provocative sign proclaiming that only American laws applied on the island. It was almost like he was asking to be fired upon. Or, again, maybe he was just an idiot. When a British official sent to the island to get rid of the unruly American settlers now saw that there were American troops he demanded they leave.
He was obviously told to go suck an egg. When Douglas found out, he was enraged. To him, the American landing constituted an invasion. Harney sent a report back to the war department in DC, justifying his actions with exaggerated claims of British villainy, but he knew it would take six weeks to get there and another six weeks for the reply to come back. For now, the situation was entirely in the hands of local military and government officials. And the ball was in the British court.
Will the temperamental Governor Douglas and the powerful British Navy, respond to the American provocation with force? Were Britain and America really about to go to war over the shooting of a pig? Well, if one men were to have his way, it's entirely possible they would. James Douglas had already had Americans force him out of Oregon, they had threatened his position in Victoria during the gold rush, now they had invaded his island and he had had it. It was time to turn to the Royal Navy. You, Captain Hornby, go to the island and prevent any more Americans from landing and take this Magister with you to arrest captain Pickett.
Use force if necessary, just don't do anything to start a war. Wait, you want me to use force, but not start a war? Oh, oh, I'm sorry. Is that too much to ask, princess? When Captain Hornby got to the island and saw that the American force there was even larger than expected, his concern grew. He sent word back to Douglas, who in response ordered even more ships to the island. And at this point, the Naval officers were like, hey man, let's talk. They were concerned Douglas' escalation was leading them to war and they convinced him it probably wasn't a terribly good idea to just go up to an American military captain with his armed men and say, hey, Bucko, you're under arrest.
Please don't shoot me. Douglas gave in. To prevent any hostilities, he canceled all orders and told the Navy, for now, to simply keep an eye on the Americans. He did send one more ship for good measure. Captain Pickett, now seeing the British ships with their guns aimed directly at his exposed camp, said, see, Jeff, look at that.
We're about to get blown to bits all according to plan. Hang on. Oh crap, Jeff, we're about to get blown to bits! Run! Pickett hastily moved his camp from its very exposed position to another position, which as it happened, it was also very exposed. It probably won't surprise you to learn, Pickett came dead last in his graduating class.
Nearby, American and British officials began showing up to ask Pickett what the heck he was even doing. Then a bunch of tourists showed up because a major war breaking out on their doorstep was the single most exciting thing to ever happen in any of their miserable frontier lives. One Charles Griffin was particularly unhappy. First, his pig had been shot, now, his sheep pastures were being trampled by soldiers and tourists alike. He complained to Governor Douglas who was still pretty upset about the whole thing.
Douglas felt British honor itself was at stake. So he decided that if American forces were allowed to be on the island, well then by golly, the British should be there too. It would be a joint military occupation. Upon hearing Douglas' new plan to land British troops on the island, Captain Hornby decided to go speak with Pickett in person.
After informing him of the plan, Pickett replied that if they dared land, he would open fire. So there they were. The British had orders to land. The Americans had orders to prevent their landing.
This was it, war. Over a small island in the middle of nowhere. Over a pig and some potatoes.
Over whether the U.S. Canada border looked like this or like this. It was stupid. Hold on. This is stupid. To heck with it. I'm not landing those troops.
I'm not going to be the one who starts a war. (crowd sighing) The captain decided not to follow Douglas' order and good thing he didn't because pretty soon after that the leading British Admiral in the entire Pacific region showed up. Rear Admiral Baynes outranked Governor Douglas. When he heard of everything that had been going on, he was stunned. But when he heard that Hornby had refused Douglas' plan to land troops, Baynes could've kissed him.
Whether he did or not, history doesn't tell. But I like to think that he did. The Rear Admiral canceled all of Douglas' orders and instead pursued a policy of not interfering with the Americans until he could contact the British government.
The Americans not knowing the British no longer intended to land had sent reinforcements and began fortifying. But even still, the British Navy did nothing. And finally, when word made it across the planet, informing the two governments of the ongoing crisis, everyone was shocked. Holy crap! Harney landed troops on disputed territory? Man, I hope the British don't find out about this. Buchanan.
Oh crap! The British! Why are we getting reports of American troops on San Juan Island? Whoa, whoa, whoa! I don't know man. Nothing to do with me. But you're the President.
What? Breckenridge? Am I the president? Yes, sir. And hey, we, we got a problem. It looks like the Southern states are considering succeeding and we're headed for the biggest crisis in the history of the nation. And it's your job to fix it, sir. Sir? Oh, no. Go away.
Not the curtain again, Mr. President. I'm not here. Buchanan. (screams) Back in the Pacific Northwest, Harney was beginning to realize the government may not be terribly impressed with his reckless actions. So he began firing off even more aggressive letters, justifying what he had done.
Tell them the British were sending bands of Indians to attack our men and that their big meanings with coal for hearts and that they made me cry like a little girl. Wait, no that makes me sound weak. They made me cry like a big girl. Yeah, that's it. When the president received Harney's new letters, his anxiety only grew stronger.
Oh crap. Hey general Scott, please make this go away. Leave it to me, sir. General Winfield Scott was the Commanding General of the entire U.S. Army. Well known for his negotiation skills. He was a veteran of the Mexican American war.
During which time he had had to deal with General Harney's idiocy and insubordination. And he watched his Harney got away with it all. Thanks to his friends in high places. It's safe to say that Scott really did not like General Harney. By now, General Scott was racked with gout and he was so big he had to be hoisted onto a ship in a basket.
Nevertheless, he began the long journey to the Pacific Northwest. Okay. Everyone get over here. Will somebody please tell me what the heck is going on? I'll tell you, General.
It all started on one fateful day, last summer. (gasps) Spuddy? All right. You damn dirty pig. That's the final straw. Huh? What? Hey, you can't get away from me. Oh, look at that, pig.
Nowhere left to run, eh? I'm gonna enjoy this. - Lyman, if you spare my life, I grant you three wishes. (gunshot) (evil laughing) - So you see, General, the pig wasn't even on his property when he shot it. Liar! He's lying to you, General. I'll tell you what really happened.
What a pleasant summer's afternoon here on my humble farm. It's just me and my beloved potatoes. I'm so happy. Say, Lyman, them some nice spuds you got there.
Would be a shame if somebody ate them. No, not again you beast! Leave my potatoes alone. Yeah, I'm going to eat them, Lyman. I'll eat them and then I'm going to eat you. Stay back! I'll shoot! Go ahead, punk.
Make my day. Shoot me. Shoot me! He made me do it. He made me do it. So you're telling me, you guys nearly started a war with the strongest Naval power in the world over the shooting of a pig. Yeah. Yeah, now he's starting to get it.
Not only the pig, sir. The British then threatened to arrest this poor pure American soul. Thank you, General.
Shut up. I don't care about you. Okay, I've made up my mind. You're an idiot. You're an idiot. You're an idiot. You're an idiot.
You're an idiot. You guys are fine. And you two are the most mind-numbingly brain dead ding-dongs I've ever encountered in all my life. And I'll see you in my office. Okay, Harney, listen. I cut a deal with the Brits, here's how it's going to be.
Both sides will maintain a small force on the island for a joint military occupation until our two governments can decide who owns the island. Now, the only way they had agreed to that is if Pickett is removed from command. So I'm replacing him with Captain Hunt here. Now, Harney, listen to me. Do not under any circumstances put Pickett back on that island. Okay?
I mean it, Harney. Do not order Pickett back onto the island. Understood? Yes, sir. Good. I'll see you glubbos later. Is he gone? I think so.
Good. Hunt, you're fired. Pickett, you're going back on the island. All right you psychopath, I've been waiting years for this. I hate you! I've always hated you! Harney had not only ordered Pickett back onto the island, but his department even notified the British that it did not recognize the joint occupation settlement. While everyone else had decided on peace, Harney appear to still be threatening war.
Needless to say a furious Winfield Scott soon removed him from command and sent him elsewhere. In Harney's absence, the joint occupation went ahead and the troops actually got along together quite well. The British attended 4th of July celebrations at the American camp. While the Americans visited the British for Queen Victoria's birthday.
Even Pickett became good friends with his British counterpart. War, it seemed, had been avoided. Thanks largely to the level headed actions of the Royal Navy and general Winfield Scott. Of course the islands were still in dispute. And the question of who exactly owned them still had to be answered. That answer would have to wait because while San Juan was at peace, the nation was tearing itself apart.
When Civil War broke out in 1861, the issue of San Juan just wasn't that important. Harney, despite being a southerner remained in the U S army, but was eventually removed from command at St. Louis when his loyalty to the union came under suspicion.
More famously, Captain Pickett, a native Virginian, went on to become a Confederate General. Pickett's charge at the Battle of Gettysburg remains one of the most famous moments of the entire war and marked a major turning point. U.S. relations with Britain actually soured during the war.
The British, missing their supply of Southern cotton, initially looked like they may intervene on this side of the Confederacy. There was the Trent Affair, when Confederate diplomats were discovered and arrested on a British mail steamer. And then there were the British built ships sold to the Confederacy that wreaked havoc on Northern commerce. When the Civil War ended, furious American politicians called on the British to pay reparations.
And by now a long list of hot issues existed between them. And yes on that list remained, 12 years later, still the issue of who owned these gosh darn islands. That issue, it was finally agreed, would be submitted to international arbitration. The empire of Germany would decide. With the British and Americans presenting arguments. The American argument was reportedly presented with a little more pizzazz, a little more zing, and in the end, when the Germans made their decision, they awarded the San Juan Islands to the United States.
(gunshots) When an aging Douglas heard the news, he said that there was no possible way the British argument had been presented correctly. But that was that. The British conceded and on the 25th of November, 1872, the last British troops left the island.
As the American enter the British camp to raise their flag, they found that the British had removed the flagpole. One last up yours to Uncle Sam. By this time Charles Griffin had already left the island and the Hudson's Bay Company eventually sold their sheep farm. And so there you have it.
A dangerous situation that almost brought two great powers to war triggered by the shooting of a pig, but thanks to more level-headed minds and an eagerness for peace and cooperation, conflict was avoided. And the only casualty of this pig war was, well, just a pig. But how different could things have been? What if the British had attempted to arrest Pickett? What if they had landed troops? Could the two sides have actually gone to war? Could America have invaded Canada? Could it perhaps still invade Canada? Think about it. Why not? We have the manpower.
We have the arms. It's our manifest destiny. Picture a future where American Mounties wear red, white, and blue and hail the stars and stripes. Where Wayne Gretzky would wave the American flag every 4th of July in the streets of Montreal. Maple syrup, the greatest American food. Banff, the greatest American national park.
One United nation under the leadership of our glorious president Drake. No longer shall we tolerate our smug neighbors to the north, with their affordable insulin and endless comments complaining that I don't talk about Canada enough in my videos. That's right, Canadians, watch your backs. Sleep with one eye open tonight because Biden's coming, baby.
And maybe then this time, he's coming with a vengeance. (upbeat music)