Convention of London, Canada-United States Cast Iron Obelisk Form Border Marker, 19th century
with ‘Convention of London’ recto and ‘October 20, 1818’ verso and maker’s mark ‘A. Laidlaw & Co.’
approx. height 97" — 246.4 cm.
By 1818 the relationship between Canada and the United States had come a long way from President John Adam’s assertion in 1776 that “Canada must be ours; Quebec must be taken”. The American War of Independence was the first concrete step towards delineating a boundary between the north and south, with the War of 1812 serving as another catalyst for change; but it was not until the London Convention of 1818 that the line between the two nations was both legislatively defined and socially understood. Established along the 49th parallel, the demarcating line stretching from coast to coast is the longest undefended border in the world.
The Convention outlined a series of articles that firmly stated the geographical and commercial rights of each country. It initially included a clause that left what was west of the Rocky Mountains to be “free and open” to either British or American settlement, a policy later nullified by the Oregon Treaty of 1846 which extended the 49th parallel to the Strait of Georgia in the Pacific Ocean.
Made from granite, cast iron, bronze and stainless steel and placed in 1861, this obelisk is just one of the 8,600 total markers erected along the border between Canada and the United States.
Department: Decorative Arts