The West Coast in 1905, a unique territory!
In 1905, Canada was made up of nine provinces that stretched from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. Located on the West Coast, British Columbia was a province that was very different from the others. Having been occupied by Indigenous Peoples for millennia, its territory had been explored in 1743 by the La Vérendrye brothers who were seeking a route to Asia. It took another 100 years for the European colonization of the territory to actually begin.
In the early years, the territory was operated by the Hudson’s Bay Company, which traded furs with Indigenous hunters. British Columbia entered the Canadian Confederation in 1871 because it saw certain advantages:
- its population was predominantly of British origin, like the rest of Canada;
- its economy needed the railway and
- it needed to define its territory in order to stop the expansion of the U.S. to the south and north of its borders.
To the west, British Columbia was bordered by the Pacific Ocean. To the east were the Rocky Mountains and a shared border with the province of Alberta. The province also shared borders with the United States both to the north and to the south, namely with the State of Washington to the south and with the State of Alaska to the north. In 1905, British Columbia was an important province, thanks in great part to its many natural resources and the railway. It also served as a hub for trade with Asia. It was for these two reasons that colonists from all over the world came to settle in British Columbia.
Author: Service national du Récit de l’univers social