Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
January 2005

L’Encyclopédie de l’histoire du Québec / The Quebec History Encyclopedia


Alabama Claims


The Alabama, a vessel built in Great Britain for the Southern Confederacy at the time of the American Civil War, was manned and equipped in a British port, and against the protests of Charles Francis Adams, the United States minister to Great Britain, was allowed to sail from the latter country in 1862. For nearly three years she preyed on the shipping of the United States, until defeated and sunk by the Kearsarge, on June 19, 1864. The United States claimed damages from England. The claims were referred to a high commission. In 1871 it was decided by a treaty to submit all claims for damages done by the Alabama and similar vessels to an international tribunal. In 1872 the court awarded $15,500,000 to the United States. As the tribunal met in Geneva, Switzerland, its verdict is frequently spoken as the " Geneva award". Sir John A. Macdonald was one of the original British commissioners who dealt with this question.


Source : W. Stewart WALLACE, "Alabama Claims", in The Encyclopaedia of Canada, Vol. 1, Toronto, University Associates of Canada, 1948, 398p., pp. 29-30.

© 2005 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College