Alabama Dispute
(1871-1872)
   An Anglo-American diplomatic crisis of the American Civil War era. During the Civil War, the South focused on disrupting Union trade routes, but once the Confederacy’s own ports were blockaded, she needed help from abroad. Although Great Britain was officially neutral, many British merchants continued to do business with the South. The most notorious example was the Alabama, built in Liverpool in 1862, which for two years terrorized the seas, confiscating goods and burning ships headed to or from the North. In June1864, its reign of terror ended when it sank off the coast of France. Subsequently, the United States accused Britain of failing to enforce her laws of neutrality and demanded reparations. The matter was submitted to an international tribunal, but so tense were the negotiations that American newspapers proclaimed the possibility of war. In the resulting Washington Treaty, Britain agreed to pay $15.5 million in damages.
   FURTHER READING:
    Cook, Adrian. “A Lost Opportunity in Anglo-American Relations: The Alabama Claims, 1865–1867.” Australian Journal of Politics and History 12, 1 (1966): 54–65;
    Marvel, William. The Alabama and the Kearsarge. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996;
    Robson, Maureen M. “The Alabama Claims and the Anglo-American Reconciliation, 1865–1871.” Canadian Historical Review 42, 1 (March 1961): 1–22.
   LEE A. FARROW

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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