Washington, Treaty of

(1871)
   An agreement settling several outstanding issues involving Britain, Canada, and the United States. British and American delegates met in Washington in 1871 to address fi-nancial compensation for American ship owners’ losses caused by the British-built and equipped Confederate commerce-raider C.S.S. Alabama; the Pacific coast boundary in the Straits of Georgia; and American inshore fishing rights in Newfoundland. The final treaty was signed on May 8, 1871. Most of the issues were put to arbitration, with the United States receiving possession of the San Juan Islands, $15.5 million as settlement of the Alabama claims, and limited inshore fishing rights. In return, Canada received free access for its fish to American markets. The Washington Treaty is notable for three features. It was the first time a Canadian delegate—Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald—represented Canadian interests in foreign affairs. It recognized the principle of putting contentious international issues to arbitration by third parties. Finally, it codified the responsibilities of neutrals during a war at sea.
   See also <>.
   FURTHER READING:
    Campbell, Charles S. The Transformation of American Foreign Relations, 1865-1900. New York: Harper and Row, 1976.
   DAVID H. OLIVIER

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

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