Historic Events of British Columbia

  • Simon Fraser

    Simon Fraser
    Simon Fraser was a Scottish fur trader and explorer who charted much of what is now known as the Canadian province of British Columbia. He also built the first European settlement in B.C. Fraser was employed by the Montreal-based North West Company.
  • Fraser River Discovery

    Fraser River Discovery
    The longest river in BC, found my Simon Fraser while on an expedition on behalf of the North West Company. Also the 10th largest river in Canada, flowing for 1,375 kilometres long. Simpson deemed the river unsuitable for travel to Fort Langley, which led to convince him that Fort Langley could never replace Fort Vancouver and outtake the Pacific Coast. However, this river is still an essential route between the Interior and Lower Coast after the loss of Southern land after the Oregon Treaty.
  • 49th Parallel North

    49th Parallel North
    This intercontinental division affects Europe, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean that is roughly 3,500 kilometres long. A portion of the parallel defines the British Columbia and Washington border. This boundary would help set proper divisions between British North America and the United States, as the prior boundary agreement was previously unclear.
  • John McLoughlin

    John McLoughlin
    He was Chief Factor in Fort Vancouver from 1824-1845. He would also become known as the "Father of Oregon", since he aided the American cause in the Oregon Country. He rebuilt Fort Vancouver from the ground up, which opened in 1825. His post help keep peace with the Native Indians, boosted fish and timber trade in California and Hawaii, and supplied produce to Russia. in the late 1840's, his general store in Oregon City became famous, since it was the last stop on the Oregon Trail.
  • Saint Petersburg Treaty

    Saint Petersburg Treaty
    This treaty defined the boundaries of the Pacific Northwest, between Russian America and British claims in North America.
    The Russian side would later become Alaska, and the British side would become British Columbia - a key asset coastal Province in Canada. However, conflicting interpretations of the meaning of "54-50" led to a dispute between the United States and Canada of where the boundary really was.
  • Fort Langley

    Fort Langley
    Fort Langley was a key asset in the trading business. Located near a river, fish were plentiful, and such location would help secure coastal region trade. Without this fort, Americans would have had the benefit by getting all the coastal trade instead. This insured a monopoly for the HBC. Fort Langley is often referred to as the birthplace of British Columbia. With an influx of population in the popular area, this aided in the British Parliament to establish a Crown Colony in the area.
  • Sir James Douglas

    Sir James Douglas
    British Colonial Governor James Douglas and company fur trader worked in Vancouver Island and BC. He was also known as the "Father of BC" for his accomplishments. He worked for 19 years in Fort Vancouver, after he found a new location for the fort.
  • Coal on Vancouver Island

    Coal on Vancouver Island
    Coal was first discovered on the Island at Fort Rupert, in 1835, and mining was carried on by the Hudson's Bay Company for several years, and finally abandoned in 1862 because the coal measures were deemed not wide enough to carry on mining. About 1,500 men found employment in the mines, and the city inhabited over 8,000.
  • RAC - HBC Agreement

    RAC - HBC Agreement
    A series of protocols regarding trading settlements that was signed by both the Russian American and the HBC. Ferdinand Wrangel (Gov. of Russian America) and George Simpson (Gov.of Rupert's Land) negotiated on behalf of their respective companies. The HBC thought they ought to put down all the fellow competition along the coastal regions, so the Americans would lose a source of revenue and put the HBC on top. In late 1838, both Governors negotiated a commercial treaty to end disputes.
  • Billy Barker Struck Gold

    Billy Barker Struck Gold
    After finding no luck striking gold in California, William Barker came to BC and was the first man to find a large amount of gold in the Williams Creek area. The settlement called "Barkerville" was set up around his claim, and named after him because of his big find. Him striking rich was real life proof for those mining that it is possible to get rich quick. His claim was the richest in the area, pulling approx. 37,500 grams of gold. However, 54 years later, he died without a penny to his name.
  • Fort Victoria

    Fort Victoria
    Fort Victoria was a fur trading post run by the HBC, which highlighted the start of a permanent British settlement, which is modern day Victoria. The location was difficult to defend, and had yearly struggles to make a profit. In 1846, the Americans were trying to take control of the Island regions. The British chose to keep Vancouver Island in return for dropping claims in Washington. This proved Victoria as an important and lethal asset to Canada, especially with its coastal location.
  • Oregon Treaty

    Oregon Treaty
    A treaty signed under the presidency of James Polk, regarding the Oregon Boundary dispute between the US and UK. This settled competing claims in the Oregon Country, which had been jointly occupied by both parties. However, there were many miscommunications within this treaty, considering a piece of land ended up belonging to the American side of the boundary rather British. The boundary would be split at the 49th parallel, with the exception of Vancouver Island staying under British control.
  • Crown Colony of British Columbia

    The Colony of British Columbia was a crown colony that resulted from the creation of the two former colonies, the Colony of Vancouver Island and the mainland Colony of British Columbia. The two former colonies were united in 1866, and the united colony existed until its incorporation into the Canadian Confederation in 1871.
  • Fraser Canyon Gold Rush

    The Fraser Canyon gold Rush began in 1857 after gold was discovered on the Thompson River in British Columbia, at its meeting point with the Nicoamen River. Though the rush was largely over by 1860, miners from the rush spread out to other areas in search of more gold, and found more gold fields throughout the rest of B.C., most famously that in the Caribou.
  • Matthew Baillie Begbie

    Matthew Baillie Begbie
    He was the first Chief Justice in the Crown Colony of BC soon after the confederation of Canada. He served as the judge in the Supreme Court, the only judge who worked on the mainland. After his death, he became known as the "hanging judge", due to his actions of often banging his gavel while exclaiming "hang 'em". He played a crucial role in the creation of law and order in the colony, especially with the influx of prospectors coming during the gold rush times.
  • Colonel Richard Moody

    Colonel Richard Moody
    He was the first Lieutenant-Governor of the Colony of British Columbia. He selected New Westminster to be the Province's first capital. He was also a Colonel in the Royal Engineers, helping to establish British order and government during the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush. Moody also faced down a group of American miner rebels, but then focused on preparing the area for future settlement. He was able to build an extensive road network, and a military reserve. Port Moody would also be names after him.
  • Annexation Debate

    There were three options for where British Columbia would hold there colony. They could continue as a British colony and stay that way, be annexed by the United States, or join confederation with the newly formed Dominican of Canada. Financially, joining the States made the most sense. Protection wise, many Admirals did not think BC deserved Royal Navy Protection, so staying British would be risky. Ultimately, they decided to join Canada. And being a coastal province, they would gold much power.
  • BC Joins Confederation

    The Colony of British Columbia was a crown colony that resulted from the creation of the two former colonies, the Colony of Vancouver Island and the mainland Colony of British Columbia. The two former colonies were united in 1866, and the united colony existed until its incorporation into the Canadian Confederation in 1871.
  • Canadian Pacific Railway

    Canadian Pacific Railway
    A Canadian Class 1 railroad, incorporated in 1881. This was a transcontinental railway, which was the key factor and promise to convince British Columbia in which to join Canadian confederation. The construction of this project was finished in 1885, the last spike drove in by Sir Donald Smith in Craigellachie. The track itself opened to use in 1886. John A. MacDonald was also able to use this railway to prove as an asset for protection when he sent troops to keep the peace via the CPR.
  • Potlatch Ban

    A legislation forbidding the tradition and culture behind potlatch passed by the Dominican of Canada. The act of potlatch was a tradition practiced by First Nations. This kept a part of their history close to heart, and helped keep a sense of community within their peoples. To them, this ban was an act of injustice. The only reason this part of their culture was banned, was because Europeans saw how much it reflected Native culture, and thought it slowed the process of assimilation.
  • Chinese Head Tax Imposed

    Chinese Head Tax Imposed
    Since many Chinese came to BC to work on the railway, the Chinese population soon skyrocketed. Europeans did not like that a different race could soon overpower them, so they imposed a head tax of $50-$500 dollars on each Chinese who wanted to come to Canada. This racial act meant sacrifice for those who wanted in. Many had to give up coming as a family, or even as extreme of giving up housing for a year. All this disgrace had happened on the soul reason of white men fearing the Chinese race.
  • Vancouver's First Race Riot

    Vancouver's First Race Riot
    Innocent Chinamen were ambushed by 300 xenophobic white men who ripped their tents right from under them, and forced them to run for their lives. The white men went on a rampage for the soul reason of the fear of losing their jobs. More than $2000 worth was destroyed in Burrard Street when the Chinese labourers were running for their lives, and hundreds ran so far they got out of town. This upset was first sparked due to the influx of Chinese working the CPR, and a riot was ultimately expected.
  • Sympathy Strike

    The first major sympathy strike in BC happened when railway employees struck against the CPR when they wanted union recognition for their impacting work. Because of this strike, the leader Frank Rogers, was killed while he was picketing at the docks by CPR police. This also became British Columbia's first official martyr.
  • Anti-Oriental Riot (Vancouver)

    Anti-Oriental Riot (Vancouver)
    This was a three day, uncoordinated riot that reflected pre-established anti-asian nativism. Direct action was brought by agitated business owners and labor unions. Nobody was killed; however, any property owned by an Asian was extensively destroyed and damaged. This also lead to an informal agreement whereby the Japanese government would stop Canadian emigration. As a result, over $36,000 was returned in compensation for injuries and damages, and a ban on Japanese immigrants occurred.
  • Gentlemen's Agreement

    An informal, legally non-binding agreement that was between the Canadian and Japanese government. This ban was to limit the number of Japanese labourers allowed to get passports to only 400. The Anti-Oriental Riot sparked this unspoken agreement, because the settled Europeans who occupied Vancouver feared that the Japanese would ultimately take control over their living area, Vancouver. They were selfishly worried over racist thoughts and ideas, and took wrongful actions while doing so.