The Oregon Territory
  • Britain wants Oregon for trade. US wants to take over North America.
  • Governor Simpson of HBC decides to create 2 new forts to expand trading networks.
    • Fort Vancouver was on the north bank of the Columbia River.
    • Fort Langley was on the Fraser River.
  • John McLoughlin (chief factor of Fort Vancouver) encouraged American settlement south of Columbia River to make sure the Americans don't interfere with the trade. Later, he does it as revenge against Simpson for closing down the chain of forts along the coast (all except Fort Simpson) - his hard work over 15 years - and declaring his son's death in a brawl as "justifiable homicide".
    • Known today as "Father of Oregon"
  • In 1839, HBC and Russia made a deal to settle a border at 54' 40' N. Russia will cease their operations for free food delivered to their post in Alaska.
    • The Beaver, the steamship that supplied the Russians, was also used as a mobile base for trading with the Natives.
  • Rising population of American settlers in Oregon scared Simpson = establishment of Fort Victoria on Vancouver Island to keep British control.

The Colony of Vancouver Island to 1858
  • Border is eventually settled by continuing the 49th parallel line over the Rockies (except for Vancouver Island) because of James Polk's campaign for presidency - 54 40' or fight!
  • In 1848, Britain decides that it wants more official presence, creates the Crown colony of Vancouver Island.
    • In order to recreate the English class system, settlers were sold land at one pound per acre with a minimum purchase of 20 acres.
    • To buy more than 100 acres, you had to bring at least 5 people to work the land = few landowners, many servants.
    • In reality, the only settlers were ex-HBC employees.
  • Originally dominated by HBC in the 1850s, the colony begins to diversify economically.
    • Coal discovered near Nanaimo in the 1840s + Royal Navy nearby who needed coal = immigrants arriving to start mining operations.
  • Royal Navy officers were considered huge snobs because they brought with them the class structure of Britain. They were disliked by Douglas and the former HBC employees.
    • It could pass resolutions, but couldn't enforce them and Douglas retained having the final word. The Assembly did have the authority to grant monies for the government's use.
    • It only had seven elected representatives.
    • Only property owners could vote.
  • Douglas negotiates with the aboriginal people to surrender their lands to the Europeans who wanted more land to prosper on (ie: rich farmlands between Fort Victoria and Nanaimo). However, the Natives retained their hunting and fishing rights.
    • He leased the land for two pounds and ten shillings per family. This means the aboriginal peoples had titles acknowledged by Britain, and even BC today, to these lands.
      • Douglas treaties are the only treaties of this nature negotiated in BC in the 19th century.

The Cariboo Gold Rush
  • Gold rushes were a scam: you would rarely get rich and often you would die on the way.
  • In 1857, some HBC trader found gold nuggets along the banks of the Thompson River.
  • Governor Douglas was scared that everyone at the California Gold Rush would ‘rush’ over to BC and overwhelm the colony with greedy miners, especially if they were American.
    • He was made governor of mainland BC as well.
    • A contingent of Royal Engineers under Colonel Richard Moody arrives in 1859 to take survey and help build roads and towns.
  • Between 1860 and 1861, gold was discovered in the creeks that fed the Fraser.
  • Douglas decides to build a road to the goldfields so he can make sure the gold would leave through the Fraser so he can tax it. It would also promote settlement and economic development.
    • The Cariboo Road went from Yale, through the Fraser Canyon to Barkerville.
      • It took four years to build, more than $750 000, and remarkable engineering.
  • By the time it was done in 1866, the gold rush was over so it barely earned any money. The colony had a hard time recouping the ginormous costs.
  • In 1864, Douglas retires.
    • In BC, he was replaced by Frederick Seymour, who was well-liked.
    • On Vancouver Island, he was replaced by Arthur Kennedy, who was autocratic and hard to get along with and got himself in lots of trouble with the elected Assembly.

The Colony of British Columbia – And Confederation
  • During the Cariboo Gold Rush (see earlier), lots of prospectors came to BC. When Gold started to run out, people started to leave the Cariboo region and the colony itself.
  • Rapid loss of population = rapid loss of monies for the government.
    • In 1866, the British Columbia Government’s debt was over 1 million dollars.
  • There were actually 2 governments: the British Columbian Government and the Vancouver Island Government. They merged in August 6th, 1866.
    • Governor Seymour, who was really popular, became the governor for this new Colony.
  • But this merger didn’t help the economic problems as population kept on declining.
  • There were three groups of people:
    • Ones who strongly opposed Confederation.
    • Ones who strongly supported Confederation.
    • And ones preferred Annexation: joining the United States.
  • The elected representatives thought that Canada should be responsible for BC’s debt.
  • When Seymour died suddenly, Anthony Musgrave took his spot. He was a friend of John A. Macdonald.
    • He recommended that BC join Canada as quickly as possible.
  • Canada told BC that they would make a railroad if they joined.
  • On July 20, 1871, British Columbia officially joined Canada.

The Railway Survey
  • Federal Government agreed to build a railway, but Macdonald (the Prime Minister) didn’t know how much it’ll cost or where it would go.
  • Government sent out a bunch of surveyors to find possible routes. This gives time for the government to plan out a budget.
  • 2 groups argued where the railway should go: Vancouver Island Politicians thought the railway should go through the central interior and end at the tip of the Island. Mainland Politicians thought that it should go through the Fraser Canyon through to Burrard Inlet.
  • Now, the federal government was reluctant to build the railway. Actually, it let them delay making a decision. They’re kind of confused about what they should do about this railway.
  • The final railway didn’t follow either of the 2 groups who were arguing. Apparently, the terminus was 900km closer to Asia than many southern ports, and that’s why the Surveyer liked it.

The Emergence of Vancouver
  • Vancouver is young.
  • It’s not the ideal place to live: the Burrard Inlet is not fed by a big river and Vancouver downtown was a thick forest.
    • Fraser River froze in the winter. This = problem for defense.
  • Colonel Moody made 3 roads from New Westminster (the capital at the time) to Burrard Inlet.
  • A lot of mills opened near the Burrard Inlet.
  • There was a guy called Gassy Jack. People liked him. He owned a saloon. It was in a place called “Granville”, but the locals called it “Gastown”.
  • Port Moody established and named after Colonel Moody. It would be a terminus for the CPR.
    • People thought Port Moody would instantly be a Metropolis, and rich people bought lots of land
  • William Van Horne arrived in Port Moody in 1884 to establish the CPR Terminus.
    • Then he finds out, *oh snap*, the harbor was made up of tidal flats.
  • Van Horne gave up at Port Moody, went to Gastown and found an ideal spot for rail and harbor. He called it “Vancouver”.
    • The people who bought land in Port Moody were mad, but they couldn’t do anything about it.
  • In late 1885, CPR terminus was finished and the future Vancouver was laid out. There was a fire and some of the city was rebuilt. All is well.

The Chinese in British Columbia
  • The Chinese came to North America for the California Gold Rush in the 1850’s.
  • Then the Cariboo Gold Rush arrived and they all came to BC
  • No more gold was left to mine
  • CPR needed cheap labour. Chinese = cheap labour.
  • CPR realizes that Chinese are cheap labour so they employ them.
  • More Chinese from China come to help build railway during 1881 no 1885.
  • Building the railway was dangerous.
  • The railway was finished, but since it was so expensive for them to travel back to China, they were stuck in BC.
  • To support themselves, they did heavy labour that white people did not want to do.
  • There were 2 rich Chinese contractors (who contracted Chinese workers): Loo Gee Wing and Sam Kee.
    • You may remember the Sam Kee building from our Chinatown trip (the narrow one).
  • Chinese were working hard so they stole jobs from white people.
  • The white people get angry and resort to racism.
  • Government creates a Head Tax (50 dollars per person) to keep the Chinese out, along with other laws.
  • Eventually, the head tax is lifted and Chinese live in peace with the other races in Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD).
  • For more, see Justin’s blog post.

Economic Diversity in British Columbia
  • With the completion of the CPR, BC could export its many resources.
    • Gold, silver, copper and other metals in the Kootenay region.
    • Agriculture in the Okanagan.
    • Tourism to see the Rocky Mountains.
    • (Lumber?)
  • Population boomed as hotels were built and mining towns grew seemingly overnight.

TALONS Individual Investigation Results

The Chinese in British Columbia - A blog post by Justin
Generally the Gulf Islands - A blog post by Louise
Dionisio Alacala Galiano - A blog post by Jordan
The Other Douglas - A blog post by Clare
Gold Rush Tidbits... the city of Victoria - A blog post by Nick