Lake Champlain has a long history of being a major smuggling route between the U.S. and Canada. From the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 through Prohibition and beyond smugglers have used this natural water highway to try to avoid government taxes, tariffs and embargoes.
Smugglers moved contraband both north and south to markets hungry for products that were in short supply, banned or too expensive. Early smuggling operations after the wars included the infamous Black Snake Affair in which two people were killed and resulted in the execution of one of the smugglers.
This video presentation of ‘Whiskey on the Lake’ from the Milton, VT Historical Society deals with more recent events as Dr. Scott McLaughlin tells how Lake Champlain was important thoroughfare for smugglers during the Prohibition era.
More About Lake Champlain History:
- The Battle of Carillon, or the 1758 Battle of Ticonderoga
- Fort Ticonderoga Captured by Ethan Allen & Benedict Arnold
- The Rush-Bagot Treaty
- Lake Champlain Designated the 6th Great Lake
- Battle of Valcour Island: October 11, 1776