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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

About the Author

John Moen is a cartographer who along with his wife are the orignal founders of worldatlas.com. He and his wife, Chris Woolwine-Moen, produced thousands of award-winning maps that are used all over the world and content that aids students, teachers, travelers and parents with their geography and map questions. Today, it's one of the most popular educational sites on the web.

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