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British Columbia

British Columbia History Timeline

1700s
  • (1740s) Russians began trading along the British Columbia coastline
  • (1741) Danish explorer, Vitus Bering, explored coast
  • (1778) Captain James Cook of Great Britain reached Nootka Counda, first white man to set foot in B.C.
  • (1787) John Mackay first white man to live in B.C.
  • (1789) Spanish built fort in Nootka Sound
  • (1790) Treaty of Nootka Convention between Spain and Great Britain resolved overlapping claims to portions of northwestern coast
  • (1793) Sir Alexander MacKenzie, first European to cross North America overland to Pacific Ocean, inscribed stone marker on shoreline of Dean Channel
  • (1794) Spain conceded claims of exclusivity in Pacific
1800s
  • (1803) Chief Maquinna led attack against crew of Boston off Vancouver Island coast; killed most of crew
  • (1808) Simon Fraser led expedition to descend his now namesake Fraser River
  • (1811) Tonquin ship captured, crew killed at Clayoquot Sound
  • (1821) North West Company, Hudson Bay Company merged, B.C.'s fur trading departments organized into New Caledonia (central and interior), Thompson River Watershed (interior south), Columbia District (North of Columbia)
  • (1835) Coal discovered on Vancouver Island
  • (1843) Hudson Bay Company established Fort Victoria on Vancouver Island
  • (1846) Oregon Treaty between United States, Great Britain signed; Britain relinquished claims to territory south of 49th parallel
  • (1849) Vancouver Island proclaimed Crown Colony
  • (1850) Gold quartz discovered on west coast of Queen Charlotte Islands; coal miners struck at Nanaimo due to non-working mine, inferior coal, food shortages, danger from warring natives
  • (1852) Queen Charlotte Islands became dependency of Crown Colony Vancouver Island
  • (1857) Gold rush began after discovery at Fraser River
  • (1858) Colony of B.C. formed
  • (1859) New Westminster named capital of B.C.
  • (1862) Smallpox epidemic killed 14,000 Indians along coast from Vancouver to Alaska
  • (1866) Vancouver Island, B.C. united with passage of Imperial Act
  • (1868) Victoria named capital of B.C.
  • (1871) B.C. became 6th Canadian province
  • (1875) Steamship Pacific collided with Orpheus, enroute to Victoria, killed 275
  • (1885) Transcontinental railroad completed
  • (1896) Streetcar in Victoria crashed through Point Ellice Bridge into Gorge Waterway, 55 killed
1900s
  • (1903) Boundary between Alaska, B.C. established; railway employees struck, labour leader, Frank Rogers, killed while picketing (Canada's first martyr)
  • (1907) Riots occured in Vancouver in Chinatown, thousands of dollars in damages
  • (1909) Ladysmith coal mine explosion killed 32
  • (1911) The "Arena", Canada's first artificial ice ring opened to public
  • (1912) Special election established Port of Vancouver
  • (1916) "Big Snow" occurred in Victoria, 31 inches of snow fell in 24 hours, crippled the city
  • (1917) Women won right to vote
  • (1917-1921) Alcohol prohibition
  • (1923) Cumberland mine explosion killed 33; Chinese Immigration Act passed, ended all Chinese immigration to Canada
  • (1941) Japanese interred in B.C. interior after bombing of Pearl Harbor, fall of Hong Kong
  • (1946) 7.3 earthquake struck Courtenay on Vancouver Island
  • (1956) World's tallest free-standing totem pole erected at Victoria
  • (1962) Typhoon Freda struck Vancouver, $C55 million in damages, 7 killed, hundreds injured
  • (1980) Terry Fox began cross-country Marathon of Hope
  • (1983) British Columbia Place Stadium opened - World's largest air-support dome
  • (1985) Pacific Salmon Treaty signed by Canada, U.S. established equitable division of fishing catches, conservation
  • (1986) Expo 86 held in Vancouver
  • (1988) Free Trade Agreement signed by Canada, U.S. removed trade restrictions, increased cross-border trade
  • (1994) Commonwealth Games held in Victoria
  • (1995) Tougher emissions standards for new vehicles passed - most stringent in Canada
  • (1996) Blizzard dumped 59 inches of snow in B.C.
2000s
  • (2005) Haida Nation blocked roads, seized timber, shut down forestry operations in Queen Charlotte Islands to protest B.C. foresty policies
  • (2009) Vancouver selected host for 2010 Olympic Winter Games
  • (2010) Winter Olympic Games held in Vancouver
  • (2010) Canadian fighter jets escorted Cathay Pacific airliner to Vancouver airport following bomb threat
  • (2011) Violence broke out in Vancouver after Canucks lost final game of Stanley Cup to Boston Bruins
  • (2012) Two skiers rescued after being caught in avalanche near Invermere