I’m sure that the Chamizal Dispute is covered in Texas high school history classes. But it wasn’t covered in my high school (or college) history classes, and I just spent a very enjoyable 20 minutes learning about it.

Apparently, the US and Mexico argued about this 600 acre area near El Paso, TX for close to 80 years because the Rio Grande river channel, which defined the boundary between the two nations, had moved, and both claimed the land (why either nation would want it isn’t quite clear to me — I’ve been to El Paso). In 1910, both countries agreed to arbitration to settle the dispute, but when a decision to split the area between the two countries (with a little over half of it going to Mexico) was reached in 1911, the U.S. rejected it. It wasn’t until Kenedy agreed to resolve the dispute along the lines proposed in 1911 that it was settled.

I had always been under the impression that the Gadsden Purchase was the last bit of territory added to the current United States (when I lived in Tucson, I always thought it was cool that I lived in the Gadsden Purchase, because I’m a dork like that), so it was a surprise to me to learn that it in fact wasn’t — the last bit added was a tiny piece of Texas. Unless you want to count all that new land being manufactured by Hawaiian volcanoes.

Posted on December 20th, 2006 by Katxena