1 Centennial Square
British Columbia Tourism Region : Vancouver Island
- The British were first aware of this part of the world as a northward extension of Sir Francis Drake's 'New Albion' (California and Oregon).
- In 1792-4 Captain Vancouver gave diverse names to various parts of the future province of British Columbia. To Vancouver Island he gave the name of Quadra and Vancouver's Island.
- The coastal parts of northern Washington and the southern British Columbia mainland he named New Georgia, while he called the central and northern coastal areas of British Columbia New Hanover.
- These names failed to secure acceptance.
- The evolution of the name of British Columbia is easily traced. In 1792 Captain Robert Gray from Boston rediscovered the river that the Spaniards had named Rio de San Roque some seventeen years earlier.
- Ignorant of the Spaniards' prior discovery, Gray named the river after his ship, the Columbia, and so the Columbia River entered history.
- In the following years, it was natural enough that the vast area drained by the mighty Columbia should be referred to increasingly as the Columbia country.
- When the Hudson's Bay Company set up two administrative areas west of the Rockies, it named the more northerly New Caledonia and the more southerly Columbia.
- After the Treaty of Washington in 1846 fixed the forty-ninth parallel of latitude as the Anglo-American boundary from the Rockies to the Pacific, most of the old HBC Department of Columbia became American.
- Somebody was bound to think of using 'British Columbia' as a name for what was left north of the new boundary line.
- The person who took this final step was Queen Victoria. In a royal letter of 1858 to Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton, the Colonial Secretary, we find the earliest mention of 'British Columbia.'
- In this letter the naming of a new Crown colony in the Pacific Northwest is discussed:
- The Queen has received Sir E. Bulwer Lytton's letter. If the name of 'New Caledonia' is objected to as being already borne by another colony or island claimed by the French, it may be better to give the new colony, w.of the Rocky Mountains, another name.
- New Hanover, New Cornwall, New Georgia, appear from the maps to be names of sub-divisions of that country, but do not appear on all maps.
- The only name which is given to the whole territory in every map the Queen has consulted is 'Columbia,
- but as there exists a Columbia in South America, and the citizens of the United States call their country also 'Columbia,' at least in poetry, 'British Columbia' might be, in the Queen's opinion, the best name.
- The new colony of British Columbia was officially proclaimed at Fort Langley on 19 November 1858. In 1863 Stikine Territory was made part of British Columbia, and on 19 November 1866 Vancouver Island became part of the united colony of British Columbia.
- With permission from G.P.V and Helen B. Akrigg 1997 British Columbia Place Names. UBC Press.
Address of this page: http://bc.ruralroutes.com/BritishColumbia