The whole point of setting the border between Mexico and the United States at the deepest channel of the Rio Grande was that the river was not supposed to move. That was the thinking in 1848, when, following Mexico’s defeat by the United States and surrender of its vast northern lands, boundary surveyors from the two countries were tasked with reinventing the border. The choice of the river for the boundary’s eastern half had been obvious: its use as a territorial marker stretched back into the region’s Spanish colonial past, and it was hard to miss and often difficult to cross. But even as he filed his report on the completed boundary survey, in 1856, Major William Emory cautioned
Paul Kramer, associate professor of history at Vanderbilt University, will also appear on the September 25th edition of NPR's "Radio Diaries" to discuss more about the Chamizal that "epicenter of one of the most intractable border disputes in the Western hemisphere."