Toledo War

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The Toledo War (1835–1836), also known as the Michigan-Ohio War, was the almost entirely bloodless boundary dispute between the U.S. state of Ohio and the adjoining territory of Michigan.

Originating from conflicting state and federal legislation passed between 1787 and 1805, the dispute resulted from poor understanding of geographical features of the Great Lakes at the time. Varying interpretations of the law caused the governments of Ohio and Michigan to both claim sovereignty over a 468 square mile (1,210 km²) region along the border, now known as the Toledo Strip. When Michigan sought statehood in the early 1830s, it sought to include the disputed territory within its boundaries; Ohio's Congressional delegation was in turn able to halt Michigan's admission to the Union.

Beginning in 1835 both sides passed legislation attempting to force the other side's capitulation. Ohio's governor Robert Lucas and Michigan's 24-year-old "Boy Governor" Stevens T. Mason were both unwilling to cede jurisdiction of the Strip, so they raised militias and helped institute criminal penalties for citizens submitting to the other's authority. The militias were mobilized and sent to positions on opposite sides of the Maumee River near Toledo, but besides mutual taunting there was little interaction between the two forces. The single military confrontation of the "war" ended with a report of shots being fired into the air, incurring no casualties.

In December 1836 the Michigan territorial government, facing a dire financial crisis, surrendered the land under pressure from Congress and President Andrew Jackson and accepted a proposed resolution adopted in the U.S. Congress. Under the compromise Michigan gave up its claim to the strip in exchange for its statehood and approximately three-quarters of the Upper Peninsula. Although the compromise was considered a poor outcome for Michigan at the time, the later discovery of copper and iron deposits and the plentiful timber in the Upper Peninsula has offset Michigan's losses.


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