Canadian peninsulas ending in the US

I have a geography question. And no, TheIncredibleHolg, I don’t know the answer.

In NW Washington State, there is a peninsula called Point Roberts thats base is Canadian, but the US claims the last mile or so.

Similarly, in northern Minnesota, the northern-most point in the lower 48 states is the Red Lake Indian Reservation, which is on a peninsula in Lake of the Woods (?).

My question is this: why does the US lay claim to these two pieces of real estate? The only land route to either must go into Canada then back out.

I don’t remember how the Minnesota property wound up in the U.S., but the U.S./Canada border (extending through Washington/British Columbia) was set West of Lake-in-the-Woods at 49° North and that line of Latitude just happens to cut across the peninsula.

We would actually need a treaty to change it.


There was an earlier thread about the Minnesota area. It is part of the US because when the US and Britain signed the treaty of Paris, we (the US) got all the land up to the source of the Mississippi. At the time, everyone thought it was the Lake of the Woods.
Well, it wasn’t, but the time everyone figured that out, it was too late.

I’ve visited Point Roberts, mainly because I thought it seemed like the thing to do. The Canadian Customs official didn’t appreciate it when he asked me how long I had been in the U.S. and I said “about 10 minutes/”

But the border following the 49th Parallel doesn’t continue across Vancouver Island. Actually, it seems that originally there was consideration that it should. Here is some history on this:

And as to the Northwest Anle in Minnesota, apparently they, not too long ago, threatened secession from the US, probably no too seriously, over fishing-license problems. Sounds a little fish, so to speak. See, as to this, as well as additional history:


From the Treaty of Paris, 1783.

How they decided on the exact point as being ‘the most north weternmost point thereof’ I am not sure, since it isn’t clearly true of the spot they chose.