Will Trump annex Mexico

The US bought and stole half of North America

The mind game that US President Donald Trump apparently uttered to confidants is not without any substance: he wants to buy Greenland, the largest island in the world, and turn it into a US state. US media report that he is not yet serious about it. But the matter is not entirely out of the world. Once before, in 1946, the USA proposed Denmark (whose largely autonomous outlying area is Greenland) to buy the 2.1 million square kilometer area in the Arctic.

As bizarre as the suggestion may appear at first glance, it fits in perfectly with the history of expansion in the United States. Trump could even refer to the example of Thomas Jefferson, one of the founding fathers of the United States, who was the first to expand the United States' borders by more than 2.1 million square kilometers with a sack of money.

In essence, US history is a series of land acquisitions and conquests. When the 13 English colonies declared their independence in 1776, they covered just 151,000 square kilometers, only a few percent of the area that the United States comprises today. During the War of Independence against the British and their Hessian mercenaries, the first major expansion of this territory took place: The state of New York declared itself the owner of a huge area from the Great Lakes in the north to the edge of the area claimed by Georgia and inhabited by indigenous people . There was no justification for this expansion. Four years later, the state of Virginia owned large areas between Lake Michigan and Lake Superior.

The Peace of Paris in 1784, which ended the War of Independence, defined the national territory of the United States, including these claims, but large areas were not even remotely developed or even settled. The violent expansion at the expense of the indigenous peoples only began now and lasted for decades.

On the other hand, the purchase of Louisiana territory in 1803 was formally legal. France claimed the vast area from the mouth of the Mississippi to today's Canadian border. The third US president, Thomas Jefferson, really only wanted to buy the city of New Orleans. However, France then surprisingly offered its full claims west of the Mississippi - for $ 15 million.

The USA still lacked the Florida peninsula to dominate the east coast of North America as far as the Caribbean. In 1819, Foreign Minister John Quincy Adams took advantage of Spain's weaknesses: after losing wars against the indigenous people, the sea power no longer had enough capacity to hold all of its claimed territories. The United States recognized a line from the Sabine River, Red River and Arkansas River as well as along the 100th parallel and the 42nd parallel to the Pacific coast as a border with Spanish territory.

That was just an acknowledgment of the factual situation, because here, from Mexico, Spain actually ruled - including today's state of Texas. Florida and Spanish possessions on the north bank of the Gulf of Mexico went to the United States. In return, Washington promised to take on debts of the Spanish crown from the residents of up to five million dollars. Therefore, no money flowed to Spain.

But even this borderline was not permanent: in 1845 the USA annexed the Republic of Texas, which had been proclaimed nine years earlier - albeit with the consent of the majority of the European-rooted population, who had achieved independence from Mexico in 1836. No one asked what the indigenous people thought. The admission of Texas to the USA triggered the Mexican-American War, which ended with a clear victory for the USA after almost two years. In the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in February 1848, the USA received the formerly Mexican, formerly Spanish territories west of Texas to the Pacific coast; they paid a rather modest transfer fee of $ 15 million and a further $ 3.3 million to repay US citizens' debts with the Mexican state. With the later states of California, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada and parts of Colorado and Wyoming, Mexico lost a third of its national territory.

At the same time, Great Britain and the USA had agreed on the division of the northwest: the line of interests between the colony of Canada and the Oregon Territory should now run along the 49th parallel. However, the status of some islands between the mainland and Vancouver Island remained unclear. The dispute that broke out over this in 1859 led to the "pig war". In 1871 the USA and Great Britain submitted their dispute to the German Kaiser Wilhelm for arbitration. He set up a commission that largely slammed the islands into the United States.

Another change had occurred earlier in 1853/54: the railroad manager James Gadsen bought mountainous desert terrain from Mexico for ten million dollars, especially in the south of Arizona. The goal was to build a faster railroad to California there. However, it never came into being. Most of the part of the border between the United States and Mexico, which has not yet been secured with a fence, lies in this inhospitable area; this is where the controversial Trump wall is to be built.