Machias Seal Island is located on the East coast of Canada between New Brunswick and Maine. It is best known for its bird populations – especially puffins – and also for its ongoing border dispute between Canada and the USA. Thi taken s morning I was notified of a lovely photo album taken this month at the island. It is quite a lovely place, but the light tower does need repainting, especially as it is symbolically representing Canada!
To navigate, click on a thumbnail photo and then when it opens, click on the arrows at upper right of page.
More photos of the light and island here on a Google Image Search. Historical information here in Wikipedia. Enjoy!
As I stated in my post The Lighthouse as a Sovereignty Symbol, put a lighthouse on your disputed territory and it is yours, or something to that effect. Now here is another ongoing dispute coming to light again – Canada vs USA. According to my theory above, Canada wins! – retlkpr
Machias Seal Island is a 20-acre, treeless lump that sits nearly equidistant from Maine and New Brunswick. It, and the even smaller North Rock, lie in what local lobstermen call the gray zone, a 277-square-mile area of overlapping American and Canadian maritime claims.
The disagreement dates back to the 1783 Treaty of Paris that ended the Revolutionary War. The treaty assigned to the newly independent 13 colonies all islands within 20 leagues — about 70 miles — of the American shore. Since Machias Seal Island sits less than 10 miles from Maine, the American position has been that it is clearly United States soil.
But the treaty also excluded any island that had ever been part of Nova Scotia, and Canadians have pointed to a 17th-century British land grant they say proves the island was indeed part of that province, whose western portion became New Brunswick in the late 18th century.
Perhaps more important to the Canadian case, the British built a lighthouse on Machias Seal Island in 1832, which has been staffed ever since. Even today, two lighthouse keepers are regularly flown to the island by helicopter for 28-day shifts to operate a light — even though, like every other lighthouse in Canada, it is automated. – Opinion Pages – NY Times
In the early days of exploration a flag of ownership was placed upon new-found-lands to claim ownership, even though on the other side of the island, or bay there may have been another flag from a different country.
One problem with a flag – it doesn’t last very long.
But build a lighthouse and claim ownership and that light is visible to all peoples for years into the future. Build it high enough and it is visible for 360 degrees. Put some men on it and it becomes your property. Hmmm!