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The 49th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 49 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, Asia, the Pacific Oceanmarker, North America, and the Atlantic Oceanmarker.

The parallel forms part of the United States-Canadian Border from British Columbiamarker to Manitobamarker on the Canadianmarker side and from Washingtonmarker to Minnesotamarker on the U.S.marker side, or from the Strait of Georgiamarker to the Lake of the Woodsmarker. Its use as the international border is a result of the Anglo-American Convention of 1818 and the Oregon Treaty of 1846.


Geography

Starting at the Prime Meridian and heading eastwards, the parallel 49° north passes through:

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History

Following the Louisiana Purchase by the United States in 1803, it was generally agreed that the boundary between the new territory and British North America was along the watershed between the Missouri Rivermarker and Mississippi River basins on one side and the Hudson Baymarker basin on the other.However, it is often difficult to precisely determine the location of a watershed in a region of level plains, such as in central North America. The British and American committees that met after the War of 1812to resolve boundary disputes recognized there would be much animosity in surveying the watershed boundary, and agreed on a simpler border solution in 1818: the 49th parallel. Both sides gained and lost some territory by this convention, but the United States gained more than it lost, in particular securing title to the Red River Basin. This convention established the boundary only between the Lake of the Woodsmarker and the Rocky Mountains; west of the Rockies, the convention established joint occupation of the Oregon Country by both parties.A geographical oversight resulted in the creation of the Northwest Anglemarker.

Although the Convention of 1818 settled the boundary from the point of view of the non-Aboriginal powers, neither the United Kingdom nor the United States was immediately sovereign over the territories on its side of the line: effective control still rested with the local nations, mainly the Métis, Assiniboine, Lakotaand Blackfoot. Their sovereignty was gradually ceded by conquest and treaty during the several decades that followed. Among these nations, the 49th parallel was nicknamed the Medicine Linebecause of its seemingly magical ability to prevent U.S. soldiers from crossing it.

In the 1844 U.S. presidential election, the Democratic Party asserted that the northern border of the Oregon Territorymarker should be 54°40′, later reflected in the 1846 slogan "Fifty-Four Forty or Fight!"However, the Oregon boundary disputewas settled diplomatically in the 1846 Oregon Treaty. This agreement divided the Oregon Country between British North America and the United States by extending the 49th parallel boundary to the west coast, ending in the Strait of Georgiamarker; it then circumvents Vancouver Islandmarker through Boundary Passmarker, Haro Straitmarker, and the Strait of Juan de Fucamarker.This had the side-effect of isolating Point Roberts, Washingtonmarker.

As border



Although parts of Vancouver Island and parts of Eastern Canada are located south of the 49th parallel, and parts of the United States (Alaskamarker, Northwest Anglemarker) are located north of it, the term 49th parallel is sometimes used as a nickname for the entire Canada-U.S. border.This can be misleading, since many of Canada's most populated regions (and about 72% of the national population) are located south of the 49th parallel, including the two largest cities Torontomarker (44° north) and Montrealmarker (46° north), the federal capital Ottawamarker (45.25° north) and the capital cities of all provinces except the Prairie provinces (Albertamarker, Saskatchewanmarker and Manitobamarker), these being the only three provinces entirely north of the 49th parallel.The three Maritime provincesare each located entirely south of the parallel; however, the vast majority of Canadian territory lies north of the 49th parallel.

Parts of the 49th parallel were originally surveyed using astronomical techniques that did not take into account slight departures of the Earth's shape from a simple ellipsoid, or the deflection of the plumb-bobby differences in terrestrial mass and although the surveys were subject to the limitations of early to mid 19th-century technology, extremely accurate results were obtained. However, in some places the surveyed 49th parallel is as much as several hundred feet from the actual geographical 49th parallel for the currently adopted datum, WGS84. The Digital Chart of the World(DCW), which uses the Clarke 1866 ellipsoid, reports the border on average at latitude 48° 59′ 51″ north, roughly 270 m (290 yd) south of the modern 49th parallel. It ranges between 48° 59′ 25″ and 49° 0′ 10″ north, respectively 810 m (885 yd) and 590 m (645 yd) on either side of the average. In any case, the Earth's North Pole moves around slightly, notionally moving the 49th and other parallels with it; see polar motion.

While the United States and Canada have not disputed the boundary from the original survey lines, the difference of the survey from the geographical 49th parallel was argued in front of the Washington Supreme Courtmarker in the case of State of Washington v.Norman,under the premise that Washington did not properly incorporate the portions of land north of the geographical 49th parallel, as laid out by detailed GPSsurveying. The court decided against the premise, ruling that the internationally surveyed boundary also served as the state boundary, regardless of its actual position.

Monuments on the border



Ordnance Survey of Great Britain

The British national grid reference systemuses the point 49° N, 2° Was its true origin.

See also



References



External links



Co-ordinates
Country, territory or sea
Notes
Lower Normandymarker

/
> Upper Normandymarker

/
> Île-de-Francemarker

/
> Picardymarker

/
> Champagne-Ardennemarker

/
> Lorrainemarker

/
> Alsacemarker

/
> Lorrainemarker

/
> Alsacemarker
Rhineland-Palatinatemarker

/
> Baden-Württembergmarker

/
> Bavariamarker
For about 5km
Rostov Oblast

/> Volgograd Oblast
Xinjiang (Chinese Turkestan)
Inner Mongolia

/> Heilongjiangmarker
Amur Oblastmarker

/
> Jewish Autonomous Oblastmarker

/
> Khabarovsk Krai
Strait of Tartarymarker
Island of Sakhalinmarker
Sea of Okhotskmarker
Gulf of Patiencemarker
Island of Sakhalinmarker
Sea of Okhotskmarker
Passing between the islands of Kharimkotanmarker and Ekarmamarker in 's Kuril Islandmarker chain
Pacific Oceanmarker
British Columbiamarker - Vancouver Islandmarker, Thetis Islandmarker and Galiano Islandmarker
Strait of Georgiamarker
/ border
British Columbiamarker / Washingtonmarker (Point Robertsmarker)
Semiahmoo Baymarker
/ border
British Columbiamarker / Washingtonmarker

/
> British Columbiamarker / Idahomarker

/
> British Columbiamarker / Montanamarker

/
> Albertamarker / Montanamarker

/
> Saskatchewanmarker / Montanamarker

/
> Saskatchewanmarker / North Dakotamarker

/
> Manitobamarker / North Dakotamarker

/
> Manitobamarker / Minnesotamarker
Lake of the Woodsmarker
Passing just south of Big Island and Bigsby Island, Ontariomarker,
Ontariomarker

/
> Quebecmarker
Saint Lawrence Rivermarker
Quebecmarker - Gaspé Peninsulamarker
Gulf of Saint Lawrencemarker
Passing just south of Anticosti Islandmarker, Quebecmarker,
Newfoundland and Labradormarker - island of Newfoundlandmarker
Atlantic Oceanmarker
English Channelmarker
Gulf of Saint-Malo - passing just south of the island of
Lower Normandymarker

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