Tales from the Great and Glorious Pig War of 1859

Commonplace Fun Facts

the-pig-war-720x340History is replete with stories of wars that were fought over the love of a woman, the quest for power, and ideological differences. In 1859 two of the world’s greatest military powers prepared for battle over a pig.

The San Juan Islands, located north of Seattle, Washington, were part of disputed territory claimed by the United States and Great Britain. Ownership of these islands rested upon ambiguity in the description of the borders defined in the Oregon Treaty of 1846.

By 1859 Great Britain, claiming sovereignty of the islands, turned the real estate over to the Hudson Bay Company, which established a sheep ranch. The United States, also claiming legal possession, opened the islands to settlement.

Citizens of both countries maintained a relatively-peaceful co-existence until June 15, 1859. On that day American farmer Lyman Cutlar found a large black pig digging through his crops, eating his potatoes. Cutlar took decisive…

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