July 23, 2009

Pig War may be commemorated by House

Officials say the U.S. House of Representatives may soon commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Pig War, a historical conflict started over a dead pig.

U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash., said the conflict between the fledgling United States and Britain began when a U.S. farmer shot and killed belonging to the British company, Hudson's Bay Co., in summer 1859, McClatchy Newspapers reported Wednesday.

This was a territorial dispute between a world power and a rising world power, Larsen said. Who knew where it would end. It's somewhat fortunate only a pig got shot.

A near battle between U.S. and British forces nearly erupted after the farmer refused to pay the British company $100 for the slain pig.

The conflict focused on the San Juan Islands and dealt with the boundaries between the new United States and Britain's North American lands.

Historian Mike Vouri said only the countries' lucrative trade dealings ultimately prevented the conflict from escalating and eventually an arbitration commission helped solidify the 49th parallel that separates the United States and Canada.

Larsen told McClatchy Newspapers the resolution for the commemoration has been sent to the House Foreign Affairs Committee.