Remaking the Alaska-Yukon Borderlands: The North-West Mounted Police, the United States Army, and the Klondike Gold Rush
AuthorDumonceaux, Scott Drew Cassie
Committee MemberJameson, Elizabeth
Marshall, David B.
Klondike Gold Rush
North-West Mounted Police
United States Army
United States Government
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AbstractPublic and academic historians of the Klondike gold rush have long positioned the Alaska-Yukon border as an established fact, serving as a firm dividing line between perceived American lawlessness and Canadian order as thousands of miners rushed to the Yukon and Alaska from 1896-1899. A wider, regional analysis of the Alaska-Yukon borderlands, however, reveals that at the beginning of the gold rush, the border was little more than a line-on-a-map. When the North-West Mounted Police and the United States Army first arrived in the region in 1894 and 1897, the Alaska-Yukon borderlands was largely a borderless region, with miners, merchants, and transportation companies crossing the unmarked Alaska-Yukon border without interference. As thousands of miners began rushing to the region during the fall of 1897, the efforts of the Mounted Police and the U.S. Army to control the situation transformed the Alaska-Yukon borderlands from a borderless to a bordered region. This process of remaking the Alaska-Yukon borderlands involved establishing government control in Alaska and the Yukon, developing transportation routes that linked the region to the North American industrial economy, and clarifying the location of the Alaska-Yukon border. The U.S. Army and the Mounted Police gathered information about a constantly changing situation, cooperated and negotiated with local transportation companies, miners, merchants, Canadian and American customs officials, and each other, and formed different understandings of the situation on the ground than their respective governments. By the end of 1899, the remaking of the Alaska-Yukon borderlands had created two separate but connected territories and a functional Alaska-Yukon border that allowed people and supplies to move across the border and the police and the army to enforce national sovereignty - just as international negotiators met to discuss the boundary question for the first time.
CitationDumonceaux, S. D. C. (2020). Remaking the Alaska-Yukon Borderlands: The North-West Mounted Police, the United States Army, and the Klondike Gold Rush (Unpublished doctoral thesis). University of Calgary, Calgary, AB.
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