Territorial acquisitions of the United States

Territorial acquisitions of the United States

This is a simplified list of United States territorial acquisitions, beginning with American independence. Note that this list primarily concerns land acquired from other nation-states; the numerous territorial acquisitions from American Indians are not listed here. This list excludes U.S. protectorates (like Nicaragua from 1912-33) and territories like Liberia from 1822-47.
*The 1783 Treaty of Paris with Great Britain defined the original borders of the United States. Due to ambiguities in the treaty, the ownership of Machias Seal Island and North Rock remain disputed between the U.S. and Canada; other original territorial ambiguities (including the Northeastern Boundary Dispute and the disputed Indian Stream territory) were resolved by the Webster-Ashburton Treaty in 1842.
*The Louisiana Purchase, completed 1803, was negotiated by Robert Livingston during the presidency of Thomas Jefferson; the territory was acquired from France for $11,250,000. A small portion of this land was ceded to the United Kingdom in 1818 in exchange for the Red River Basin. More of this land was ceded to Spain in 1819 with the Florida Purchase, but was later reacquired through Texas annexation and Mexican Cession.
*West Florida was declared by President James Madison to be a U.S. possession in 1810.
*Tristan da Cunha was the first, albeit short-lived U.S. overseas possession. This remote South Atlantic island was first claimed in 1810 by Jonathan Lambert from Salem, Massachusetts, who died in a boating accident in 1812. During the War of 1812, the U.S. used it as a naval and piracy base against British shipping. The island was abandoned after the war and annexed within months by the British, along with Ascension Island, in order to prevent the French from establishing bases from which to rescue Napoleon Bonaparte from Saint Helena.
*Red River Basin, acquired in 1818 by treaty from the United Kingdom, namely the Anglo-American Convention of 1818.
*The Adams-Onís Treaty of 1819 with Spain resulted in Spain's cession of East Florida and the Sabine Free State and Spain's surrender of any claims to the Oregon Country. Article III of the treaty, when properly surveyed, resulted in the acquisition of a small part of central Colorado.cite web | title=Treaty Text from the Avalon Project | url=http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/diplomacy/spain/sp1819.htm | accessdaymonth=7 November | accessyear=2006]
*Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842 which finalized the border between United States and Canada (a British colony at the time).
*Texas Annexation of 1845: In 1836 the Republic of Texas voted to be annexed by the United States. Despite the fact that Mexican leader Antonio López de Santa Anna warned that this would be "equivalent to a declaration of war against the Mexican Republic," President John Tyler signed a treaty of annexation with Texas in April 1844. After James Polk, a strong supporter of territorial expansion, won the presidency, but before he took office, Congress approved the annexation of Texas on February 28, 1845. On December 29, 1845, Texas became the 28th state.
* Oregon Country, the area of North America west of the Rockies to the Pacific, was jointly controlled by the U.S. and the United Kingdom following the Anglo-American Convention of 1818 until 1846 when the Oregon Treaty divided the territory at the 49th parallel (see Oregon boundary dispute). The San Juan Islands were claimed and jointly occupied by the U.S. and the U.K. from 1846-1872 due to ambiguities in the treaty (see Northwestern Boundary Dispute). Arbitration led to the sole US possession of the San Juan Islands since 1872.
*Mexican Cession lands were a product of the Mexican-American War and the subsequent Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, signed February 2, 1848. In this treaty, Mexico gave the U.S. parts of what is Texas, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Wyoming, and the whole of California, Nevada and Utah and recognized the Rio Grande as Texas' Southern border. The United States paid Mexico $15 million. In addition, the United States agreed to pay claims made by American citizens against Mexico, which amounted to more than $3 million.
*Gadsden Purchase of 1853, United States purchased a strip of land along the U.S.-Mexico border for $10 million, now in New Mexico and Arizona. This territory was later used for the southern transcontinental railroad.
* The Guano Islands Act of 1856 provided for U.S. claims to unoccupied islands. Baker Island, Howland Island, and Navassa Island were annexed in under its provisions in 1857. Today ownership of Navassa is disputed between the U.S. and Haiti. Johnston Atoll was claimed by the U.S. and Hawaii in 1858; the U.S. claim became undisputed in 1898 after the annexation of Hawaii. Midway Atoll was discovered and claimed in 1859 and formally annexed 1867. Kingman Reef was annexed in 1922.
* Alaska Purchase from the Russian Empire for $7,200,000 in 1867.
* Chamizal from Mexico from 1852-1873 due to course change of the Rio Grande River. The territory was mostly retroceded to Mexico by treaty in 1963.
* Hawaii, annexed 1898 upon the request of a government made up primarily of American and European businessmen who had overthrown the Kingdom of Hawaii. With Hawaii came the Palmyra Atoll which had been annexed by the U.S. in 1859 but later abandoned, then later claimed by Hawaii.
* Puerto Rico, Guam, the Philippines, and Cuba, ceded by Spain after the Spanish-American War in 1898, and for which the United States compensated Spain an additional $20 million under the terms of Article 3 of the Treaty of Paris. All four of these areas were under United States Military Government (USMG) for extended periods. Cuba became an independent nation in 1902, and the Philippines became an independent nation in 1946.
* Wake Island, annexed in 1899 (the claim is currently disputed by the Marshall Islands.)
* American Samoa, occupied in 1899, made a formal territory in 1929.
** Tutuila Island and Aunuu Island ceded by their chiefs in 1900, then added to American Samoa.
** Manua, annexed in 1904, then added to American Samoa.
** Swains Island, annexed in 1925 (occupied since 1856), then added to American Samoa (The claim is currently disputed by Tokelau, a colonial territory of New Zealand).
* United States Virgin Islands, bought from the Danish Crown for $25 million on January 17, 1917 during World War I. Virgin Islands inhabitants became American citizens in 1927.
* Jarvis Island, reclaimed in 1935, previously annexed in 1858, but abandoned in 1879.
* In 1946, the United States offered to buy Greenland from Denmark for $100,000,000, but Denmark did not agree to sell. Possibly this was because since Denmark owed the United States $70,000,000, the actual purchase price may possibly have only been $30,000,000. [ [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,778870,00.html?promoid=googlep Time MagazineMonday, Jan. 27, 1947 “Deepfreeze Defense”:] ] [ [http://www.nationalreview.com/nr_comment/nr_comment050701b.shtml National Review May 7, 2001 "Let’s Buy Greenland! -- A complete missile-defense plan" By John J. Miller (National Review's National Political Reporter:] ]
* Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Northern Mariana Islands and Palau, occupied by the United States during World War II, formalised under the UN trusteeship system in 1947. Micronesia and the Marshall Islands both achieved independence in 1986 and Palau in 1994, via Compacts of Free Association.
* The Boundary Treaty of 1970 transferred 2702.9 acres of Mexican territory to the U.S.. In exchange, the U.S. ceded 2087.87 acres to Mexico, including the little town of Rio Rico, Texas.

ee also

* United States territory
* Insular area
* Territorial evolution of the United States
* Manifest Destiny
* Horace Greeley
* Political divisions of the United States
* Regions of the United States
* Historic regions of the United States
* U.S. colonization outside North America


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