Fort Stikine
Fort Stikine was a fur trade
Fur trade
The fur trade is a worldwide industry dealing in the acquisition and sale of animal fur. Since the establishment of world market for in the early modern period furs of boreal, polar and cold temperate mammalian animals have been the most valued...

 post and fortification
Fortifications are military constructions and buildings designed for defence in warfare and military bases. Humans have constructed defensive works for many thousands of years, in a variety of increasingly complex designs...

 in what is now the Alaska Panhandle
Alaska Panhandle
Southeast Alaska, sometimes referred to as the Alaska Panhandle, is the southeastern portion of the U.S. state of Alaska, which lies west of the northern half of the Canadian province of British Columbia. The majority of Southeast Alaska's area is part of the Tongass National Forest, the United...

, at the site of the present-day of Wrangell, Alaska
Wrangell, Alaska
Wrangell is a city and borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. At the 2000 census the population was 2,308.Its Tlingit name is Ḵaachx̱aana.áakʼw . The Tlingit people residing in the Wrangell area, who were there centuries before Europeans, call themselves the Shtaxʼhéen Ḵwáan after the nearby Stikine...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. Originally built as the Redoubt San Dionisio or Redoubt Saint Dionysius in 1834, the site was transferred to the British as part of a lease signed in the region in 1838, and renamed Fort Stikine when turned into a Hudson's Bay Company
Hudson's Bay Company
The Hudson's Bay Company , abbreviated HBC, or "The Bay" is the oldest commercial corporation in North America and one of the oldest in the world. A fur trading business for much of its existence, today Hudson's Bay Company owns and operates retail stores throughout Canada...

 post in 1839. The post was closed and decommissioned by 1843 but the name remained for the large village of the Stikine people
Stikine people
The Stikine people are a kwaan of the Tlingit, today based at Wrangell, Alaska and whose territory included the basin of the lower Stikine River....

 which had grown around it, becoming known as Shakesville in reference to its ruling Chief Shakes
Chief Shakes
Chief Shakes is a distinguished Tlingit leadership title passed down through generations.-Origin:The orphan Gush X’een lived at Ch’aal’in. He was a Teikweidí named Joonák’w. The leader of the Naanya.aayí, S.nóok, took a liking to the orphaned boy and raised him as a nephew...

 by the 1860s. With the Alaska Purchase
Alaska purchase
The Alaska Purchase was the acquisition of the Alaska territory by the United States from Russia in 1867 by a treaty ratified by the Senate. The purchase, made at the initiative of United States Secretary of State William H. Seward, gained of new United States territory...

 of 1867, the fortification became occupied by the US Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 and was re-named Fort Wrangel, a reference to Baron von Wrangel, who had been Governor of Russian America when the fort was founded. The site today is now part of the city of Wrangell.


By a decree
A ukase , in Imperial Russia, was a proclamation of the tsar, government, or a religious leader that had the force of law...

 of Emperor Paul I
Paul I of Russia
Paul I was the Emperor of Russia between 1796 and 1801. He also was the 72nd Prince and Grand Master of the Order of Malta .-Childhood:...

 known as the Ukase of 1799, the Russian Empire had in 1799 asserted ownership of the Pacific coast and adjoining lands of North America as far south as the 55th degree of latitude
55th parallel north
The 55th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 55 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean....

, with Novo-Arkhangelsk, today's Sitka, Alaska, founded shortly thereafter. In 1821, Emperor Alexander
Alexander I of Russia
Alexander I of Russia , served as Emperor of Russia from 23 March 1801 to 1 December 1825 and the first Russian King of Poland from 1815 to 1825. He was also the first Russian Grand Duke of Finland and Lithuania....

 issued another ukase
Ukase of 1821
The Ukase of 1821 was a Russian proclamation of territorial sovereignty over Northwestern America, now present day Alaska. It declared that the Russian Empire prohibited "all foreign vessels not only to land on the coasts and islands belonging to Russia, [...] but also to approach them within less...

 which extended the Russian claim south to 51 degrees north
51st parallel north
The 51st parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 51 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean....

, also forbidding foreign vessels from approaching within 100 Italian miles of any Russian settlement. Other powers protested and the line was withdrawn to "the line of the Emperor Paul", 55 degrees north
55th parallel north
The 55th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 55 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean....

, with parallel treaties with the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and Great Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

 (in 1824 and 1825 respectively) adjusting that southwards slightly to 54 degrees 40 minutes north so as to include all of Prince of Wales Island within Russian territory.

Redoubt Saint Dionysius

Under the Russo-British Treaty of 1825 (Treaty of St. Petersburg) establishing that boundary, and also establishing a land boundary northwards following the summit of the mountains, ten marine leagues from the coast, British rights to the Interior were guaranteed by Russia, along with the right of navigation of the Taku
Taku River
The Taku River is a river running from British Columbia, Canada, to the northwestern coast of North America, at Juneau, Alaska. Its mouth coincides with the Alaska-British Columbia border...

 and Stikine River
Stikine River
The Stikine River is a river, historically also the Stickeen River, approximately 610 km long, in northwestern British Columbia in Canada and southeastern Alaska in the United States...

s, which were (and largely still are) the only access to those regions of what is now northern British Columbia
British Columbia
British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

. In 1833 Peter Skene Ogden
Peter Skene Ogden
Peter Skene Ogden , was a fur trader and a Canadian explorer of what is now British Columbia and the American West...

 went up the Stikine on reconnaissance and found the river too shallow for the HBC's sailing vessels. In 1834, under orders from John McLoughlin
John McLoughlin
Dr. John McLoughlin, baptized Jean-Baptiste McLoughlin, was the Chief Factor of the Columbia Fur District of the Hudson's Bay Company at Fort Vancouver. He was later known as the "Father of Oregon" for his role in assisting the American cause in the Oregon Country in the Pacific Northwest...

, Chief Factor of the Columbia Department of the HBC, based at Fort Vancouver
Fort Vancouver
Fort Vancouver was a 19th century fur trading outpost along the Columbia River that served as the headquarters of the Hudson's Bay Company in the company's Columbia District...

, Ogden returned on the brig Dryad with the mission of establishing trade and a fort in the Stikine hinterland. The expedition was met with armed opposition from the Russian-American Company, under Baron Wrangel
Ferdinand von Wrangel
Baron Ferdinand Friedrich Georg Ludwig von Wrangel – May 25 , 1870) was a Russian explorer and seaman, Honorable Member of the Saint Petersburg Academy of Sciences, a founder of the Russian Geographic Society...

's orders, near the river's mouth. During the ensuing confrontation and what would become a naval standoff, with the ships Chichagof and Orel dispatched from Sitka, Ogden and his men were driven off and Hudson's Bay Company stores, intended for trade and the establishment of the upriver post, were seized. Captain Lieutenant Dionysius Zarembo, commander of the Chichagof, under further orders, established a fortification on Zarembo Island
Zarembo Island
Zarembo Island is an island in the Alexander Archipelago of southeastern Alaska, United States. It lies directly south of Mitkof Island and northwest of Etolin Island. To the northwest is Kupreanof Island and to the southwest is Prince of Wales Island. It has a land area of 183.14 sq mi , making it...

 which was named the Redoubt Saint Dionysius, also known as the Redoubt San Dionisio, to prevent further British attempts at access to the Stikine, control of which was seen to be contrary to the interests of the local fur trade on which Sitka depended.

Anglo-Russian Convention of 1838

When news of the confrontation reached Fort Vancouver, McLoughlin was outraged and quickly sent word to company HQ in London. In the ensuing diplomatic confrontation, resulting from Britain pressing indemnities on Russia for damages relating to the seizure and actions contrary to the treaty of 1825, Baron von Wrangel was forced out of office in disgrace because of the great cost in both money and prestige to the Empire. A treaty signed in 1838, known as the Anglo-Russian Convention
Anglo-Russian Convention
The British-Russian Convention is a political convention of several days that took place between the Russian Empire and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland...

, paid out a negotiated indemnity to Great Britain and also established the British right to build and maintain posts at the mouths of the Taku and Stikine as well as established a lease of the mainland and adjoining islands south from 56 degrees 30 minutes north, roughly the latitude of the Stikine. In return for this lease, Britain would supply so many furs per annum to the Russian American Company. Also included in the arrangement was an extension and expansion of shipments of vegetable, dairy and meat produce from the settlements of the HBC at Forts Langley, Nisqually
Fort Nisqually
Fort Nisqually was an important fur trading and farming post of the Hudson's Bay Company in the Puget Sound area of what is now DuPont, Washington and was part of the Hudson's Bay Company's Columbia Department. Today it is a living history museum located in Tacoma, Washington, USA, within the...

 and Vancouver
Fort Vancouver
Fort Vancouver was a 19th century fur trading outpost along the Columbia River that served as the headquarters of the Hudson's Bay Company in the company's Columbia District...

 (see Pugets Sound Agricultural Company
Pugets Sound Agricultural Company
The Puget Sound Agricultural Company , commonly referred to with variations of the name using Puget Sound or Puget's Sound, was a joint stock company formed around 1840 as a subsidiary of the Hudson's Bay Company . The purpose of the company was ostensibly to promote settlement by British subjects...


Establishment of Fort Stikine

The following year, in 1839, James Douglas
James Douglas (Governor)
Sir James Douglas KCB was a company fur-trader and a British colonial governor on Vancouver Island in northwestern North America, particularly in what is now British Columbia. Douglas worked for the North West Company, and later for the Hudson's Bay Company becoming a high-ranking company officer...

, later to be Chief Factor himself and also Governor of both Vancouver Island
Colony of Vancouver Island
The Colony of Vancouver Island , was a crown colony of British North America from 1849 to 1866, after which it was united with British Columbia. The united colony joined the Dominion of Canada through Confederation in 1871...

 and British Columbia colonies
Colony of British Columbia
The Colony of British Columbia was a crown colony in British North America from 1858 until 1866. At its creation, it physically constituted approximately half the present day Canadian province of British Columbia, since it did not include the Colony of Vancouver Island, the vast and still largely...

, was sent north by McLoughlin to establish "Fort Stickeen" and what was formally called Fort Durham
Fort Durham
Fort Durham, also known as Fort Taku, Taku, Taco, and Tacouw and in legal terms as AHRS Site JUN 036 is an archaeological site near Taku Harbor, Alaska, within the limits of Juneau City and Borough...

, but usually known as Fort Taku, or just Taku, under various spellings. Confrontations with the local group of Tlingit, the Shtakeen Kwaan ("Stikine Tribe") under Chief Shakes
Chief Shakes
Chief Shakes is a distinguished Tlingit leadership title passed down through generations.-Origin:The orphan Gush X’een lived at Ch’aal’in. He was a Teikweidí named Joonák’w. The leader of the Naanya.aayí, S.nóok, took a liking to the orphaned boy and raised him as a nephew...

, near whose ceremonial clan house the fort had been erected, concderning control of the fur trade of the Stikine Country
Stikine Country
The Stikine Country, also referred to as the Stikine District or simply "the Stikine" , is one of the historical geographic regions of the Canadian province of British Columbia, located inland from the central Alaska Panhandle and comprising the basin of the Stikine River and its tributaries...

, led to the relocation of the principal village of that tribe to the location of the fort, and agreements with Shakes regarding control of trade in relation to other Tlingit groups and the inland Athapaskan peoples (the Tahltan
Tahltan refers to a Northern Athabaskan people who live in northern British Columbia around Telegraph Creek, Dease Lake, and Iskut.-Social Organization:...

, primarily) with whom the Stikines had long-standing agreements. Still, other tribes including the Haida, Nisga'a
The Nisga’a , often formerly spelled Nishga and spelled in the Nisga’a language as Nisga’a, are an Indigenous nation or First Nation in Canada. They live in the Nass River valley of northwestern British Columbia. Their name comes from a combination of two Nisga’a words: Nisk’-"top lip" and...

 and Tsimshian
The Tsimshian are an indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest Coast. Tsimshian translates to Inside the Skeena River. Their communities are in British Columbia and Alaska, around Terrace and Prince Rupert and the southernmost corner of Alaska on Annette Island. There are approximately 10,000...

 traded at the post, with complicated consequences.

Fort Stikine and the slave trade

Much to the chagrin and horror of the company staff in charge of the post, the logistics of the fur trade resulted in an unexpected effect - an escalation of the slave trade by the Haida and Tlingits, with an accompanying rise in warfare and raiding against southern tribes (and each other) to provide goods for the purchase of furs to re-sell to the Hudson's Bay post. This, and the declining price of furs, and also the viability of the local supply, led to a decision by the company's Governor Simpson, after an 1841 visit, to close the northern posts, plus Fort McLoughlin
Fort McLoughlin
Fort McLoughlin was a fur trading post established in 1833 by the Hudson's Bay Company on Campbell Island in present-day British Columbia, Canada. The site is believed to have been at McLoughlin Bay on the northeast side of Campbell Island and is associated with the relocation of the Heiltsuk...

 farther south (near today's Bella Bella
Bella Bella
Bella Bella may refer to:* Bella Bella, British Columbia, on Campbell Island, also known as Waglisla**Bella Bella Airport, airport north west of Bella Bella**Bella Bella Airport, airport east of Bella Bella...

), to consolidate northern operations at Fort Simpson
Fort Simpson (Columbia Department)
Fort Simpson was a fur trading post established in 1831 by the Hudson's Bay Company near the mouth of the Nass River in present-day British Columbia, Canada. In 1834 it was moved to the Tsimpsean Peninsula, about halfway between the Nass River and the Skeena River...

, located first near the mouth of the Nass
Nass River
The Nass River is a river in northern British Columbia, Canada. It flows from the Coast Mountains southwest to Nass Bay, a sidewater of Portland Inlet, which connects to the North Pacific Ocean via the Dixon Entrance...

, then at a more strategic location near today's Prince Rupert
Prince Rupert, British Columbia
Prince Rupert is a port city in the province of British Columbia, Canada. It is the land, air, and water transportation hub of British Columbia's North Coast, and home to some 12,815 people .-History:...

, off the mouth of the Skeena
Skeena River
The Skeena River is the second longest river entirely within British Columbia, Canada . The Skeena is an important transportation artery, particularly for the Tsimshian and the Gitxsan - whose names mean "inside the Skeena River" and "people of the Skeena River" respectively, and also during the...

 (today's Lax Kw'alaams
Lax Kw'alaams
Lax-Kw'alaams , usually called Port Simpson, is an Indigenous village community in British Columbia, Canada, not far from the city of Prince Rupert. It is the home of the "Nine Tribes" of the lower Skeena River, which are nine of the fourteen tribes of the Tsimshian nation...


Death of John McLoughlin, Jr.

The second Chief Trader appointed to Fort Stikine was the son of Chief Factor McLoughlin, John McLoughlin, Jr.. Unsuited to the appointment, the younger McLoughlin was unpopular with some of the Metis
Métis people (Canada)
The Métis are one of the Aboriginal peoples in Canada who trace their descent to mixed First Nations parentage. The term was historically a catch-all describing the offspring of any such union, but within generations the culture syncretised into what is today a distinct aboriginal group, with...

 among the staff, who killed him in what was alleged by them to have been in self-defense at his drunken rage. Kanaka
Kanaka was the term for a worker from various Pacific Islands employed in British colonies, such as British Columbia , Fiji and Queensland in the 19th and early 20th centuries...

 (Hawaiian) employees who witnessed the killing were to testify otherwise, and to allege that the rebel staff, led by one Urbain Heroux, had conspired with the local Tlingits to seize the post. Because the murder had happened on ostensibly Russian soil, the usual laws governing the Company and its staff, which were those of the Colony of Canada where the company's North American headquarters were, Heroux and the others were taken to Sitka for trial, and were ultimately released for lack of evidence. Governor Simpson, on his visit to the Russian American capital, was surprised to encounter Heroux at liberty on the streets of that town, but under Russian law the accused were free until convicted. Heroux was to live out his life in the Columbia District, but John Jr.'s death was said to be one of the factors embittering his father against the Company and his increasing sentiments and actions in favour of the American claim to what was becoming known as the Oregon Country
Oregon Country
The Oregon Country was a predominantly American term referring to a disputed ownership region of the Pacific Northwest of North America. The region was occupied by British and French Canadian fur traders from before 1810, and American settlers from the mid-1830s, with its coastal areas north from...


Shakesville and Buck Choquette

In the company's absence, Chief Shakes took control of the post and of the Stikine River trade. Discovery of gold in the Queen Charlotte Islands
Queen Charlotte Islands
Haida Gwaii , formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands, is an archipelago on the North Coast of British Columbia, Canada. Haida Gwaii consists of two main islands: Graham Island in the north, and Moresby Island in the south, along with approximately 150 smaller islands with a total landmass of...

 in 1850, and then in the Thompson Country
Thompson Country
The Thompson Country, also referred to as The Thompson and in some ways as the Thompson Valley and historically known as the Couteau Country or Couteau District, is a historic geographic region of the Southern Interior of British Columbia, based around the basin of the Thompson River, a tributary...

 and Fraser Canyon
Fraser Canyon
The Fraser Canyon is an 84 km landform of the Fraser River where it descends rapidly through narrow rock gorges in the Coast Mountains en route from the Interior Plateau of British Columbia to the Fraser Valley...

 in the later 1850s, led to wider encroachments and exploration by whites far beyond the locus of the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush
Fraser Canyon Gold Rush
The Fraser Canyon Gold Rush, began in 1858 after gold was discovered on the Thompson River in British Columbia at its confluence with the Nicoamen River. This was a few miles upstream from the Thompson's confluence with the Fraser River at present-day Lytton...

 of 1858-1861. One intrepid adventurer, Alexander "Buck" Choquette
Buck Choquette
Alexander "Buck" Choquette , usually known as Buck Choquette and born Taddée Choquette, was a French-Canadian prospector and adventurer who was the discoverer in 1861 of the gold strike which led to the Stikine Gold Rush.-Early life:...

, originally from Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

 and who had been in the California goldfields
California Gold Rush
The California Gold Rush began on January 24, 1848, when gold was found by James W. Marshall at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California. The first to hear confirmed information of the gold rush were the people in Oregon, the Sandwich Islands , and Latin America, who were the first to start flocking to...

, had already explored in the area of the Nass and other rivers between there and the Stikine. Equipped with an acquired proficiency in the Chinook Jargon
Chinook Jargon
Chinook Jargon originated as a pidgin trade language of the Pacific Northwest, and spread during the 19th century from the lower Columbia River, first to other areas in modern Oregon and Washington, then British Columbia and as far as Alaska, sometimes taking on characteristics of a creole language...

, Choquette was at Fort Victoria
Fort Victoria
Fort Victoria may refer to:* Fort Victoria, Alberta, Canada* Fort Victoria , Canada* Fort Victoria * Fort Victoria , England* Masvingo, Zimbabwe, named Fort Victoria until 1982...

when he met some of Shakes' people and persuaded them to bring him with them to the Stikine and what was left of Fort Stikine, which had by then become known as Shakesville (though still also referred to as Fort Stikine despite the absence of a formal post or a Chief Trader). Choquette was to earn the respect of Shakes and also the hand of his daughter Georgiana (or Georgie) as his wife, with the marriage consecrated according to the elaborate ceremonials
A potlatch is a gift-giving festival and primary economic system practiced by indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast of Canada and United States. This includes Heiltsuk Nation, Haida, Nuxalk, Tlingit, Makah, Tsimshian, Nuu-chah-nulth, Kwakwaka'wakw, and Coast Salish cultures...

 of Tlingit custom.

Stikine Gold Rush

In the spring of 1861, Choquette set out on a canoe trip up the Stikine with his wife and ten warriors of the Stikines to prospect for gold, discovering it at what has been known as Buck Bar since, just southwest of Telegraph Creek (the gold-rush settlement at Telegraph Creek was, in fact, known as Buck's Bar until the construction era of the unfinished Collins Overland Telegraph). When word of Choquette's discovery reached the other goldfields and the colonial capitals, the Stikine Gold Rush
Stikine Gold Rush
The Stikine Gold Rush was a minor but important gold rush in the Stikine Country of northwestern British Columbia, Canada. The rush's discoverer was Alexander "Buck" Choquette, who staked a claim at Choquette Bar in 1861, just downstream from the confluence of the Stikine and Anuk Rivers, at...

 was launched and hordes of men sought out the Stikine, with Fort Stikine aka Shakesville become an important port-of-call for steamboats now bound for the river's many gold-bearing bars. In response to the influx of miners, most of them (but not all) American, Governor Douglas decreed the creation of the Stikine Territory
Stikine Territory
The Stickeen Territories , also colloquially rendered as Stickeen Territory, Stikine Territory, and Stikeen Territory, was a territory of British North America whose brief existence began July 19, 1862, and concluded July of the following year. The region was split from the North-Western...

, covering the lands inland from Russian Ameriacn between the line of the Nass and Finlay River
Finlay River
The Finlay River is a 402 km long river in north-central British Columbia flowing north and thence south from Thutade Lake in the Omineca Mountains to Williston Lake, the impounded waters of the Peace River formed by the completion of the W.A.C. Bennett Dam in 1968. Prior to this, the Finlay...

s north to the 62nd parallel
62nd parallel north
The 62nd parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 62 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses the Atlantic Ocean, Europe, Asia and North America....

 to prevent American feared American annexation of the region, just as he had created the Colony of British Columbia in similar circumstances and had witnessed the loss of the Oregon Country to American settlers previously.

Experienced from goldfields elsewhere, Choquette knew more money was to be made in provision of goods and supplies to the miner than in the workings themselves, and obtained rights to sell Hudson's Bay Company wares both at his upriver post and at a revived trading post at Shakesville. Choquette was to maintain this post in an uneasy relationship with the Hudson's Bay Company, as well as his store upriver, which relocated at various times depending on fluctuations in the activity of the rush.

Although exploration and some mining continued, the rush was well over by 1867, when the United States purchased Alaska
Alaska purchase
The Alaska Purchase was the acquisition of the Alaska territory by the United States from Russia in 1867 by a treaty ratified by the Senate. The purchase, made at the initiative of United States Secretary of State William H. Seward, gained of new United States territory...

 from the Russian Empire. Despite the profitability of American trade and a wider range of goods, Choquette was faced with the decision of retaining the Hudson's Bay Company license and the freedom from American taxation that came with it by moving to just within British territory, which is to say, ten marine leagues upriver (approximately 30 km). Choosing a site opposite the Great Glacier, Choquette opened another store near the confluence of what became known as the Choquette River
Choquette River
The Choquette River is a tributary of the Stikine River, flowing west into that river just north of its confluence with the Iskut. The river is named for Alexander "Buck" Choquette, discoverer of the strike which launched the Stikine Gold Rush and the first non-native settler in the region, who...

 near the Stikine Hot Springs (see also Boundary Range
Boundary Range
The Boundary Range, formerly official also as the Boundary Mountains, is a subrange of the similarly named but much larger Boundary Ranges which run most of the length of the border between British Columbia, Canada, and Alaska, United States...

). In time, Choquette would be given charge of a customs post and Hudson's Bay outlet, though opted eventually to remain at his preferred location, which he named Ice Mountain (his name for the Great Glacier).

Fort Wrangel

With Choquette's departure, and the British flag with him, which had flown over his store at Shakesville, American troops took over the old fortification of Fort Stikine, renaming it Fort Wrangel. It was the second US Army post established in Alaska, the first being Fort Tongass
Fort Tongass
Fort Tongass was a United States Army base on Tongass Island, in the southernmost Alaska Panhandle, located adjacent to the village of the group of Tlingit people on the east side of the island. Fort Tongass was the first US Army base established in Alaska following its purchase from the Russian...

 on Tongass Island
Tongass Island
Tongass Island, historically also spelled Tongas Island, is an island in the southern Alaska Panhandle, near the marine boundary with Canada at 54-40 N...

, immediately north of 54°40', but which was abandoned by 1870 as being of little real strategic or commercial value, as it was Fort Wrangel which controlled the main access inland and was therefore more viable as a customs port for the region, and Britain had shown no signs of military support for the claims that British Columbia had been making for its rights to the leased portion of the Panhandle, which had in any case been overtaken by American fishing, cannery and mining operations in the immediate aftermath of the Purchase.

Fort Wrangel again became a source of tension between American and British authorities in the region when more gold was discovered near Dease Lake in 1870, leading to the Cassiar Gold Rush of 1871. Once again thousands of miners poured into and through Fort Wrangel, and the US authorities attempted to exert control over British-registered shipping heading for the Stikine. A compromise was reached, and the confrontation derailed and prevented from escalating into warfare over the region. After the Cassiar rush was over, Fort Wrangel remained as one of the main US military installations in the region, and was again to play a strategic as well as a commercial role in relation to the Stikine's use as one of the lesser routes to the Klondike
Klondike, Yukon
The Klondike is a region of the Yukon in northwest Canada, east of the Alaska border. It lies around the Klondike River, a small river that enters the Yukon from the east at Dawson....

 from 1897 and the mounting tensions of the Alaska Boundary Dispute
Alaska Boundary Dispute
The Alaska boundary dispute was a territorial dispute between the United States and Canada . It was resolved by arbitration in 1903. The dispute had been going on between the Russian and British Empires since 1821, and was inherited by the United States as a consequence of the Alaska Purchase in...

, which was resolved by arbitration in 1903.

Further reading

"This paper was originally presented at a 2–4 June 1989 conference dealing with the Yukon/Alaska/BC border and the issues surrounding this border held in Whitehorse, YT, Canada. The conference was jointly sponsored by the Yukon Historical & Museums Association (YHMA), Yukon College, The University of Victoria's Public History Group, and the Alaska Historical Society. The proceedings were published by the YHMA."
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.