Border Disputes and Identity in Anglophone British Columbia: 1859 -1903
Ari Finnsson | Journal of Borderlands Studies | 2019
This paper examines the interaction of discourses surrounding the international border and national identity in British Columbia from 1859 through to the turn of the century. Media coverage in British Columbia of the 1859 San Juan border dispute indicates that the international boundary, as the marker of separation between the United States and British Columbia, became an important symbol of British identity in North America. Although British customs continued to be valued, the period of 1859–1872 saw the development of an Anglophone identity in British Columbia that differentiated itself from Great Britain due in part to a lack of British involvement in the region. Confederation with Canada in 1871, however, meant that the parameters of the debate around the 1903 Alaskan border dispute had changed since 1859/72: British Columbia now found itself united with Canada in a shared defence of the international boundary. The Alaskan boundary dispute became a symbol that both British Columbians and other Canadians could understand and use to interpret their relationship with the United States. Border disputes, therefore, provided a common ground upon which British Columbians and Canadians could build a shared identity.
Finnsson, Ari. “Border Disputes and Identity in Anglophone British Columbia: 1859 -1903.” Journal of Borderlands Studies (2019).