From the wilds of beautiful Yohogania County.

I've been doing a bit of research on relations between the various British North American colonies, and the results are hilarious. About the beginning of the French and Indian War (AKA: Seven Years War to those lacking Texans), circa mid to late 1700s, a number of them were involved in a series of pier 6 brawls with each other occasionally to the point gunfire was exchanged. Most of the ill feeling was due to dueling charters and the fact that some British royals had the lifespan of a fruit fly or a Hollywood marriage.

Some of the causes of the merriment were:

1. Virginia operating under a grant from James I had all the lands from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from somewhere around the North Carolina border to the North Pole (generous guy, James).

2. Charles I granted Lord Baltimore everything from the Atlantic to the western end of the Potomac River and from the Potomac north to Latitude 40 for his Catholic colony.

3. William Penn's charter from Charles II granted him and his family the land west of the Delaware River to somewhere and from Latitude 40 to the New york border--wherever that was to end up (unlike his father, Charles didn't lose his head over the matter). There is the opinion that Penn apparently hired non-union surveyors because Pennsylvania's Latitude 40 happened to be 28 miles south of Maryland's Latitude 40. Revisionists on the other hand suggest that Penn's city of Philadelphia--already built at the time of the grant--awkwardly lying south of Maryland's Latitude 40 may have had something to do with the error in navigation (which is why one always puts the fence at least six inches in from the property line). This small discrepancy led to Cresap's War (1736-1738) between the Maryland and Pennsylvania militias. George II was forced to knock heads together and ordered a proper survey ("Paging Mr. Mason, Mr. Dixon. The Royal governors would like to speak to you about a job.").

4. At the same time, Connecticut claimed the Wyoming Valley in northeastern Pennsylvania (what would become the three counties around Wilkes-Barre--Scanton). That there were only two other colonies between the two halves of what might become the "Nutmeg State" seems to have slowed these enterprising Yankees not at all (shades of the Danzig Corridor--not to mention East and West Pakistan). Connecticut also claimed the Ohio county, Great Lakes, western New York, Michigan, Texas, and the Canadian Prairie provinces ("Worst case of MPD I've seen in all my years of practice.").

5. Adding to the fun, the Iroquois Confederation--suffering a bad bout of imperialism--and the various Indians of the Ohio country, Great Lakes, and southeastern Canada were on the edge of their very own version of a world war (though this didn't stop the Iroquois from spending their vacations in the Carolinas and eastern Tennessee visiting Rock City and beating up on the Cherokees and Catawbas--as it turns out, the Shenandoah Valley was their favorite freeway back and forth--"Look, Flitting Bird, I like North Carolina. It's the sitting in traffic four hours because some clown jacked-knifed a canoe that drives me nuts. And it's always between the Stucky's!").

6. And of course, to the north and west the wily French lurked waiting to flail good honest English men with baguettes and rosary beads.

Sometime in the future, I'll give Jacques' side of things and take a look at why American convenience stores tend to stock beer and occasionally questionable pre-made sandwiches rather than good wine and brie.

11 September 2010: Feast of St. Ambrose Edward Barlow. Battle of the Teutoburg Forest 9 AD, Battle of Stirling Bridge 1297, Battle of Brandywine 1777, Mountain Meadows Massacre 1857, September 11, 2001--need I say more?

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