About the Northwest Angle


The Northwest Angle, known simply as the Angle by locals, and coextensive with Angle Township, is a part of northern Lake of the Woods County, Minnesota. Except for minor surveying errors, it is the only place in the United States outside Alaska that is north of the 49th parallel, which forms the border between the U.S. and Canada from the Northwest Angle westward to the Strait of Georgia (between the state of Washington and the province of British Columbia). The land area of the Angle is separated from the rest of Minnesota by Lake of the Woods, but shares a land border with Canada. It is one of only six non-island locations in the 48 contiguous states that are practical exclaves of the U.S. It is the northernmost township in Minnesota and contains the northernmost point in the contiguous 48 states. The unincorporated community of Angle Inlet is located in the Northwest Angle.

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History

The initial establishment of Angle Township being in the United States was due to a map-maker’s error. Benjamin Franklin and British representatives established the initial Canada–US border in the Treaty of Paris in 1783 from the Mitchell Map of colonial American geographer John Mitchell, which misrepresented the source of the Mississippi River.

When a survey team led by David Thompson finally located the northwestern-most point of the lake and surveyed this north–south line, it was found to intersect other bays of the lake and therefore to form the boundary of a section of U.S. territory to its east, now known as the Northwest Angle.