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The Venezuala-British Guiana Boundary Dispute
During the 1880's the border dispute between Venezuela and British Guiana became more heated. Each country claimed more land from the other; both countries refused to agree to a border that was arbitrarily chosen. This dispute intensified when Britain occupied Corinto, Nicaragua for a short time in order to gain compensation for the injuries to British subjects in that country.
President Cleveland (1892-1896) was concerned over both of these issues, the violation of the Monroe Doctrine, and his re-election. His Secretary of State, Richard Olney, sent what was a near-ultimatum to Britain on behalf of Venezuela in July, 1895. It stated that congress would be alerted to the Monroe violation, unless Britain agreed to a boundary between Venezuela and British Guiana.
This subtle war threat was ignored by Britain for months, as they did not consider the U.S. as a formidable opponent. At the time, the U.S. Navy consisted of 50 battleships, 25 armored cruisers, and an assortment of smaller vessels. Britain's Prime Minister eventually responded: they were in no way violating the Monroe Doctrine, and that they would not give in to the "exaggerated retentions" of the Venezuelan border.
On December 17th, 1895, the Secretary of State asked Congress to set a border between Venezuela and British Guiana. The response was unanimous: Congress ended up appropriating $100,000 for the project. British thought it best to avoid a prolonged dispute, and accepted the offer. This turned out to be a wise move, as the boundary tribunal awarded nearly all of the disputed land to the Brits.
The conclusion of this dispute marked the beginning of favorable relations between the U.S. and the United Kingdom.
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History Fact of the Month
Did you know ...
The Origin of Valentine's Day?
Valentines day dates back to Roman times, when a holiday called The Feast of Lubercus was celebrated to protect shepherds and their flocks from wolves. During this time of year, goddess Juno Februata was honored by pairing boys and girls and denoting them 'partners' for a year.
Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine's Day around 497 AD, in an effort to replace pagan holidays with Christian tradition. Although the pairing ritual was banished, romance remains the distinctive attribute of this holiday.
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