Portland Canal, International Boundary

Portland Canal, International Boundary

by | Dec 23, 2018

Portland Canal is a narrow water passage that forms part of the boundary between Alaska and British Columbia, Canada. Portland Canal was given its name by George Vancouver in 1793, in honor of William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland.

The use of the word “canal” to name inlets on the British Columbia, Washington, and Alaska coasts is a legacy of the Spanish exploration of the area in the 18th century. Despite its naming as a canal, the inlet is a fjord, a completely natural geographic feature, extending 71.2 miles (114.6 km) northward from Pearse Island, British Columbia, to Stewart, British Columbia, and Hyder, Alaska.

The placement of the international boundary in the Portland Canal was a major issue during the negotiations over the Alaska Boundary Dispute. This was a territorial dispute that originally existed between the Russian Empire and Britain since 1821, and was inherited by the United States as a consequence of the Alaska Purchase in 1867. The final resolution favored the American position, and Canada did not get an all-Canadian outlet from the Yukon goldfields to the sea. Read more here and here. Explore more of Portland Canal here:

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