Show Notes: The Pig War

Tracy Wilson

Map of Vancouver Island and Washington Territory, Showing San Juan Island and the Disputed Territory Image by ©CORBIS

Our episode today comes from the listener suggestion box: Katy wrote to us way back in August of 2013 to recommend that we look into the Pig War. And oh, how glad I am that she did. Essentially, in 1859, the United States and the British Empire very nearly got into a shooting war over somebody killing somebody else's pig. It was all part of a much bigger border dispute between the U.S. and Canada, but it's a story of egos and posturing and a conflict that would have been completely prevented had the telephone been in common use.

And a correction to this one: My source said "Panama," and my dumb brain auto-completed "Canal." The Panama Canal did not exist yet when this story took place; it was a land crossing at Panama.

Our listener mail is from Grace, who writes to us about our Rosa Parks episodes, part one and part two.

For more knowledge: How the Battle of Gettysburg Worked

Episode download link: The Pig War

My research:

  • Franklin, Deborah. "Boar War." Smithsonian. Vol. 36, Issue 3. June 2005.
  • Greater Victoria Public Library. "The Pig War"
  • Haydock, Michael D. "The San Juan Islands 'Pig War.'" American History. Vol. 32, Issue 3.
  • National Park Service. "The Pig War."
  • Vouri, Mike. "The Pig War: Standoff at Griffin Bay." Discover Your Northwest. 2013.

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