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View Full Version : Has there ever been a border as long as Canada and the US with entirely peaceful relations?


Leo Bloom
07-25-2011, 04:35 PM
I've of often thought about how cool US and Canada are, when observing the current and historical boundaries and alliance/tensions/wars that by far are the norm throughout the world.

As a second question, has there ever been anything comparable, not only in border length, but in the amount of time that such extraordinarily close relations existed for any two countries?

obfusciatrist
07-25-2011, 05:11 PM
Just some data:

U.S.-Canada border is 8,893 km.

Only 9 countries have event hat much TOTAL land border:

China: 22,147 km
Russia: 20,017 km
Brazil: 14,691 km
India: 14,103 km
United States: 12,034 km
Kazakhstan: 12,012 km
Democratic Republic of the Congo: 10,730 km
Argentina: 9,665 km
Canada: 8,893 km

Of those, these are the ones with a shared border even 1/4th as long as the U.S.-Canada border (2000 for easy rounding):

China-Burma - 2,185 km
China-India - 3,380 km
China-Mongolia - 4,677 km
China-Russia - 3,645 km
Russia-Kazakhstan - 6,846 km
Russia-Mongolia - 3,485 km
Brazil-Bolivia - 3,400 km
Brazil-Venezuela - 2,200 km
India-Bangladesh - 4,053 km
India-Pakistan - 2,912 km
United States-Canada - 8,893 km
United States-Mexico - 3,141 km
Kazakhstan-Uzbekistan - 2,203 km
Democratic Republic of the Congo-Angola - 2,511 km
Democratic Republic of the Congo-Republic of the Congo - 2,410 km
Argentina-Chile - 5,308 km

Other 2,000 km+ borders:

Mali-Mauritania - 2,237 km
Pakistan-Afghanistan - 2,430 km
Colombia-Venezuela - 2,050 km
Laos-Vietnam - 2,130 km

If my math is right, the USSR-China border would have been around 6,500 km.

So there are only two current borders that are even half as long as the U.S.-Canada border (Argentina-Chile and Russia-Kazakhstan). With the India-Bangladesh border coming close to half.

Washoe
07-25-2011, 06:02 PM
Didn’t we try to invade Canada once? We backed off when they threatened to drop Gordon Lightfoot on us or something.

Blakeyrat
07-25-2011, 06:10 PM
There have been border disputes, check out the Pig War: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pig_War More notably, there's also the War of 1812. So saying "entirely peaceful relations" is a bit of a stretch.

I wonder about the two sides of the Great Wall of China... did the wall succeed in creating a peaceful border for a significant period of time? (I know it was overrun, but I don't know how long it was in place before being overrun.)

leahcim
07-25-2011, 06:49 PM
There have been border disputes, check out the Pig War: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pig_War More notably, there's also the War of 1812. So saying "entirely peaceful relations" is a bit of a stretch.

Those events predate Canada as an independent dominion, so it's kind of a gray area as to whether that counts. The line on the map has certainly experienced war, even if that war was not between the two political entities currently parked on either side of it.

Blakeyrat
07-25-2011, 07:03 PM
Those events predate Canada as an independent dominion, so it's kind of a gray area as to whether that counts. The line on the map has certainly experienced war, even if that war was not between the two political entities currently parked on either side of it.

Well, Canada wasn't fully cut-off from the motherland until 1982, IIRC. But yes, the Pig War, which is the most recent border dispute in 1859, was technically with the British Empire, not Canada.

It's a lot more impressive to say the border has been conflict-free since 1859 than from 1982.

yabob
07-25-2011, 07:20 PM
"Peaceful relations" and "no border disputes" aren't quite the same thing. The US and Canada do currently have a few ongoing border disputes. They're just being conducted diplomatically, rather than violently. From the CIA World Fact Book, the "Transnational Issues" entry for Canada:
managed maritime boundary disputes with the US at Dixon Entrance, Beaufort Sea, Strait of Juan de Fuca, and the Gulf of Maine including the disputed Machias Seal Island and North Rock; Canada and the United States dispute how to divide the Beaufort Sea and the status of the Northwest Passage but continue to work cooperatively to survey the Arctic continental shelf;
Strait of Juan de Fuca - yeah, there's a few islands still unsettled from the Pig War. Machias Seal Island (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machias_Seal_Island) is part of Maine according to the US, New Brunswick according to Canada.

yabob
07-25-2011, 07:28 PM
Actually, the boundary dispute in the Strait of Juan de Fuca may not concern any islands, just the placement of the line from the mouth of the strait.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strait_of_Juan_de_Fuca#Boundary_dispute

leahcim
07-25-2011, 08:41 PM
Well, Canada wasn't fully cut-off from the motherland until 1982, IIRC. But yes, the Pig War, which is the most recent border dispute in 1859, was technically with the British Empire, not Canada.

On both ends it's more than a bit of a stretch to say that an entirely new entity was created in 1982 or 1867. Canada sort of eased its way into independence without a lot of noisy kerfuffle, unlike some other North American countries we could mention.

Despite this, I have it on good authority that the soldiers who burned the white house during the war of 1812 were 100% Canadian and not at all British and we totally kicked your butt. :)

Little Nemo
07-25-2011, 09:26 PM
Despite this, I have it on good authority that the soldiers who burned the white house during the war of 1812 were 100% Canadian and not at all British and we totally kicked your butt.Oh yeah? Well, we burned Toronto first so you guys were just being copycats.

SeldomSeen
07-25-2011, 09:28 PM
There have been border disputes, check out the Pig War:
Ah yes....a splendid little war. A pig belonging to a Canadian settler (and obviously bent on sabotage) was caught eating the potatos of an American settler. The American shot the pig then offered a piddling compensation to the pigs owner. Owner demanded reparations of 10X the proffered amount, whereupon the American said "take your pig and shove it", or words to that effect. The war of words escalated and both sides sent troops. More insults were exchanged.

from Wikipedia
Local commanding officers on both sides had been given essentially the same orders: defend yourselves, but absolutely do not fire the first shot. For several days, the British and U.S. soldiers exchanged insults, each side attempting to goad the others into firing the first shot, but discipline held on both sides, and thus no shots were fired.

The international dispute was finally arbitrated by Kaiser Wilhelm I of Germany who basically told both sides "Go home and stop being ridiculous" , although he did give the island to the Americans.

The only casualty was the pig, who probably deserved to be shot anyway.

A pity, that more wars can't be won that way.
SS

Leo Bloom
07-26-2011, 02:21 AM
So basically the answer is no, there never has been a border as long as the US/Canada one and one existing for the longest time w/o a shooting war or general nastiness.

What two contiguous nation/"nation-states" have had the longest non-belligerent status? I am including satrapies, Pax Romanum, etc.

UDS
07-26-2011, 03:02 AM
Hold on, hold on. The US/Canada border is the longest bilateral land border in the world.

So if the question is “is there another bilateral border as long as that which has been peaceful for as long as that?” the answer must be “no”. There is no other bilateral border as long as that, period.

If the question is “is there another bilateral border which has been peaceful for longer than the very long US/Canada bilateral border” the answer is “yes, there are lots”. How long is it since Sweden attacked Finland or Russia, or vice versa? It was longer ago than 1859. How long has it been since France attacked Spain or vice versa? Longer than since 1859. Spain and Portugal? Same goes. Belgium and the Netherlands? Switzerland and any of France, Germany, Italy, Austria or Liechtenstein?

dtilque
07-26-2011, 04:34 AM
Ah yes....a splendid little [Pig] war. ...

The only casualty was the pig, who probably deserved to be shot anyway.

A pity, that more wars can't be won that way.


Another such was the Aroostook War (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aroostook_War) between Maine and New Brunswick about 20 years earlier. Besides both wars being virually bloodless, they had the commonality that Winfield Scott was sent out from Washington to calm things down.

Floater
07-26-2011, 05:08 AM
How long is it since Sweden attacked Finland or Russia, or vice versa? It was longer ago than 1859.
Sweden has never attacked Finland, mainly because present day Finland was the Eastern half of the realm until we lost it in the war of 1808/9, which was started by Russia.

Darth Panda
07-26-2011, 06:04 AM
The repercussions of the Pig War are still felt today, though, as Canadians honor the fallen by refusing to give in to American imperialism by producing only Canadian bacon, even in the face of its obvious inferiority.

Muffin
07-26-2011, 06:43 AM
Machias Seal Island (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machias_Seal_Island) is part of Maine according to the US, New Brunswick according to Canada.My Uncle Gordie is one of the lighthouse keepers that Department of Foreign Affairs places there. Every year an American boats over to assert USA sovereignty, so they have a fish fry and tea.

UltraVires
07-26-2011, 07:06 AM
Why haven't we conquered the Horseshoe Falls yet? They are the better of the two and I'll bet we can whup the Canadians trying to defend it.

Smeghead
07-26-2011, 07:35 AM
I think the OP is asking not so much about modern states, but any borders in history.

Leo Bloom
07-26-2011, 10:58 AM
I think the OP is asking not so much about modern states, but any borders in history.Correct. But I am learning a lot about the feistiness of Canada. Who knew?

Giles
07-26-2011, 11:24 AM
... Switzerland and any of France, Germany, Italy, Austria or Liechtenstein?
Switzerland has been at peace with all of its neighbours since 1815, when it was a party to a war in which France was on the other side.

GreasyJack
07-26-2011, 11:51 AM
During the 60-some odd years between Russia's annexation of Kazakhstan in the 1860's and Mongolia's independence from China in 1921, the two countries would have shared a nearly 14,000 kilometer long border (assuming the border was approximately the present-day China/Russia + Mongolia/Russia + China/Kazakhstan). It wasn't exactly friendly, as Russia joined the other western powers in taking all manners of economic and territorial concessions from China, but there at least wasn't any open fighting across the border during that period.

Hypnagogic Jerk
07-26-2011, 11:56 AM
On both ends it's more than a bit of a stretch to say that an entirely new entity was created in 1982 or 1867. Canada sort of eased its way into independence without a lot of noisy kerfuffle, unlike some other North American countries we could mention.
Well, there were the rebellions of 1837-1839, which while unsuccessful, were at least in part responsible for the eventual granting of responsible government to Canada in the 1840s. So the process of Canada becoming independent did cause some noise.

Also, while Canada might not have been existed as an independent country before... choose your date, Canadians as a people definitely did.

As for the Canada-US border, while it may not have been the theatre of a war since 1814 (or 1859, if you want), tensions remained high for some time. The confederation of 1867 happened at least in part in order to consolidate the British colonies in North America into a single country in prevision of a war with the US. As late as 1867, US-based Irish separatist fighters were conducting raids in Southern Ontario with the tacit approval of the United States. I cannot say for sure when the Canada-US border started being entirely "peaceful", but it's almost certainly later than 1870.

Correct. But I am learning a lot about the feistiness of Canada. Who knew?
You have no idea.

Switzerland has been at peace with all of its neighbours since 1815, when it was a party to a war in which France was on the other side.
I believe that during the 1840s when the canton of Neuchâtel declared itself a republic, the King of Prussia (who was also Prince of Neuchâtel) made some attempts to reestablish his right, but at the end it was resolved diplomatically. Neuchâtel Crisis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuch%C3%A2tel_Crisis).

There was also a civil war in Switzerland in the mid-1840, but of course this didn't involve their neighbours. Sonderbund War (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonderbund_War).

GreasyJack
07-26-2011, 11:58 AM
Oh, oops... I was looking at Russia/Kazakhstan instead of China/Kazakhstan.... so it only would have been about 9,000 km's.

paperbackwriter
07-26-2011, 03:31 PM
How long is it since Sweden attacked Finland or Russia, or vice versa? It was longer ago than 1859.
No. The Winter War (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_War)of 1939-1940 and the Continuation War (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continuation_War) of 1941-1944
How long has it been since France attacked Spain or vice versa? Longer than since 1859.
Not much longer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peninsular_war), though (1808-1814)
Spain and Portugal? Same goes.If by "same" you mean, "Was also fighting with its neighbor due to Napoleonic interference during the early 19th century," then, yes.
Belgium and the Netherlands? Belgium did not exist as a nation until its 1830 Revolution (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belgian_Revolution)against the Netherlands.
Switzerland and any of France, Germany, Italy, Austria or Liechtenstein?Switzerland was conquered by Revolutionary France (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helvetic_Republic) and became the client-state of the Helvetic Republic. In 1803, Napoleon imposed the Swiss Confederation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swiss_Confederation_(Napoleonic)#Act_of_Mediation) and used Swiss territory and troops in his wars with the rest of Europe (Austria in particular). The post-Napoleonic Congress of Vienna re-established Swiss independence, but not Swiss peace. Further tensions between cantons and with surrounding powers eventually resulted in the 1847 Sonderbundskrieg (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonderbundskrieg). Also, remember that Germany (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_unification) and Italy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_unification) were not even nations until 1871.

So, all those national boarders saw fighting that was nearly contemporaneous to, or later than, the last actual fighting on the US-Canadian border (1812). Given that most of these conflicts were related to Napoleon's ambitions, as indeed the US-UK conflict was, this is not very surprising.

UDS
07-26-2011, 10:10 PM
[QUOTE=paperbackwriter;14067065]No. The Winter War (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_War)of 1939-1940 and the Continuation War (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continuation_War) of 1941-1944
Those wars were between Finland and the Soviet Union. Sweden was not involved. Hence the Swedish-Russian and Swedish-Finnish borders remained peaceful, which was my point.

Leo Bloom
07-26-2011, 10:56 PM
My Uncle Gordie is one of the lighthouse keepers that Department of Foreign Affairs places there. Every year an American boats over to assert USA sovereignty, so they have a fish fry and tea.

[itty bitty hijack, but let the main thread continue]That's a once a year guvmnt job? Pretty cushy .[/itty bitty hijack]

Muffin
07-27-2011, 12:20 AM
[itty bitty hijack, but let the main thread continue]That's a once a year guvmnt job? Pretty cushy .[/itty bitty hijack]
The American is a private citizen who makes the journey on his own dime.

Floater
07-27-2011, 04:52 AM
No. The Winter War (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_War)of 1939-1940 and the Continuation War (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continuation_War) of 1941-1944
Those wars were between Finland and the Soviet Union. Sweden was not involved. Hence the Swedish-Russian and Swedish-Finnish borders remained peaceful, which was my point.
Sweden has had no border with Russia since we lost Finland, so that is really not an issue, although the Soviet Union dropped a couple of bombs over Stockholm in WWII. There was also some artillery fire across the Finnish-Swedish border but it was the retreating German troops that did that.