The year was 1818 and the Convention of 1818Â decided the northern boundary of the United States and the southern boundary of Canada as being the 49th parallel, between the Lake of the Woods in Minnesota and the Rocky Mountains. The land west of the Rockies was under joint control of the U.S. and Britain. That boundary was settled in 1846 with the Oregon Treaty.
South of 49th parallel, Illinois was admitted as the twenty-first state.Â Initially the northern boundary was set just below the southern end of Lake Michigan, but at a population of around 36,000, Illinois was short of the necessary 60,000 minimum required for statehood. Illinois Congressional delegate, Nathaniel Pope, suggested that it would make better sense to move the boundary northward to include the City of Chicago and the area upon which the I & M Canal would be built, connecting the Great Lakes with the Mississippi River, and from there the Gulf of Mexico.
In the South, the First Seminole War resulted from the escalation of conflicts between the Seminoles and settlers who were moving into Seminole territory. The Seminoles provided a sanctuary for escaped slaves and this provided additional fuel for the fire. Andrew Jackson pursued the Seminoles into Florida, which was then under Spanish control. His victory led to the accession of Florida to the U.S. the following year.
In the Ohio River Valley, an epidemic of what was commonly called “milk sick” broke out and in October it claimed Abraham Lincoln’s mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln.Â At the time, the illness was attributed to many things, but only a few suspected the real culprit. It wasn’t until the early 1900s that it was determined that milk from cows that had eaten snakeroot caused the illness. By then it had claimed many other victims, the majority of them infants.
In literature, a young Mary Shelley’s most famous book–Frankenstein–was published.Â 1818 also marked the first time the Christmas hymn Silent Night was sung in the small Austrian village of Oberndorf.
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