Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

British Columbia

British Columbia, together with Vancouver Island (q.v.), forms a province of the dominion of Canada, British America. It extends northwards from the 49th parallel of latitude, which marks the boundary of the United States, and lies between the Pacific Ocean on the W., the Rocky Mountains on the E. and Alaska to the N., having a total area, including Vancouver and Queen Charlotte Islands, of 341,000 square miles. Until the colonisation of Vancouver Island in 1849 it possessed no history. The settlers soon afterwards spread to the mainland, and until 1871, when it was incorporated with Canada, the territory was a Crown colony. The name of British Columbia was given in 1856. The climate is excellent, and milder than the Atlantic coast on the same parallels. The harbours are numerous and convenient, and the soil in many parts is exceedingly fertile, and abounds in mineral wealth, gold being largely found over nearly the whole area. Coal, silver, iron, and copper are extensively worked in many districts. Valuable timber grows both on the islands and the coast. The Canadian Pacific Railway, with its terminus at Vancouver, on Burrard Inlet, has recently done much to open up these resources. From the Rocky Mountains flow numbers of impetuous rivers, of which the Fraser, with its affluent the Thompson, is the largest, being navigable for 90 miles. The Pease river and the Skrena are farther north, and the southern portion is drained by the Columbia. There are several narrow mountain lakes. Victoria, the capital, with its suburb Esquimault, is on Vancouver Island, as is also Nanaimo, the seat of the coal trade. New Westminster, another thriving town, stands at the mouth of the Fraser river, in the Gulf of Georgia. The fisheries are the richest in the world, and the export of tinned salmon exceeds £300,000 per annum. The province is administered by a governor, an executive council, and a legislative assembly, and sends three senators and six members to the Dominion parliament.