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

Columbia British

Columbia, British, a mountainous district of North-West America, forming, with Vancouver Island and Queen Charlotte's Islands, since 1871 a province of the Dominion of Canada. It lies between the 60th parallel of N. latitude and the United States on the south, and between the Rocky Mountains on the east and the Pacific on the west. The country is chiefly occupied by forest-clad spurs of the Rocky Mountains, which develop in the west into the Cascade Range, interspersed with fertile valleys which are more fitted for pasturage than for conversion into arable land. Till comparatively lately the country was little known, save to the men of the Hudson's Bay Company, but the discovery of gold gave an impetus to immigration, and led to the fuller study of the capabilities of the district. Since the establishment of a trans-continental Canadian Railway, British Columbia bids fair to become an important entrepot of trade between Canada (and so Europe) and China and Australia. The mineral wealth of the country is great, though as yet little developed, and coal has been found both on the mainland and on Vancouver's Island. The forests also have hitherto been little interfered with, but the timber trade will probably become important. Most of the gold yet worked has been from alluvial deposits, especially along the course of the Stickeen river. Of the other rivers, which are necessarily short in course and full of falls and rapids, the most important is the Fraser, which has a course of 800 miles and falls into the Gulf of Georgia between Vancouver Island and the mainland. The principal heights of the Rocky Mountains in British Columbia are Mounts Brown, Hooker, and Murchison, which average 16,000 feet. Fish is abundant on the coast and in the rivers, and much salmon-tinning is carried on. Esquimault on Vancouver Island is the chief station of the Pacific squadron, and possesses repairing docks.