The History Of San Juan Island

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The History Of San Juan Island

Photo; English Camp located on the north end of San Juan Island. If you look closely you will see holes in the building on the beach, this was for guns if the camp was to come under attack.


San Jaun Island has historically been populated by hard-working farmers, fishermen, seafarers and others.


Question: Who were the first inhabitants of the San Juan's?

Answer: The Lummi Indians.

Question: When did settlement by whites occur?

Answer: The 1850's

Question: Who were the new settlers?

Answer: British trappers and sheepherders and some Americans returning, disappointed from the search for gold in Canada's Caribou Country.

Question: How did the San Juan's become American soil?

Answer: There was a confrontation on San Juan Island over a British man's pig being shot by an American settler, this ended up being the cause of the "Pig War" which led to what seemed to be imminent war. At the time the boundary between Canada and America was unclear and both nations were claiming jurisdiction. In the end the nations agreed to joint occupation until the boundary could be agreed upon. Finally the question was submitted for arbitration by the Kaiser of Germany who decided in 1872 that the Americans had the stronger claim to the islands. This ended the last territorial conflict ever between the United States and Great Britain.

The Two Camps:
American Camp
San Juan Sites page providing info about the Island's south side camp, American Camp.

English Camp
The English camp was based on the north side of San Juan Island.

Question: Where there any booming trades on San Juan Island in the early 1900's?

Answer: Yes, Fishing and agriculture were major industries, the lime industry also put Roche Harbor Lime And Cement Company on the map.

Question: Given San Juan Islands location, was there ever any illegal smuggling happening?

Answer: Yes, smuggling of wool, alcohol, narcotics, and aliens from Canada to the U.S. were booming trades.

Question: What is San Juan Island like today?

Answer: San Juan Island is a mix of tourism, artistry and industry today.

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