HISTORY. Captain Cook, the famous explorer, visited a part of the coast of British Columbia in 1778, and ten years later an English settle ment was established at Nootka by Captain .John Meares, formerly a lieutenant in the British Navy, though it was almost immediately broken up by the Spanish, who claimed the whole coast as far as the Russian possessions, on the basis of prior discovery. For some time war appeared imminent between England and Spain, but in 1793 the difficulties between the. two Courts were settled by arbitration, England receiving all the northwest coast from Nootka Sound to the Rus sian trading posts in Alaska. Meanwhile, in 1792, Captain George Vancouver (q.v.) circum navigated the island which bears his name, be sides exploring a part of the coast of the main land; and in 1793 Alexander Mackenzie (q.v.), a partner in the Northwest Company, reached the coast of the present British Columbia after an arduous overland journey from Lake Athabasca. For many years the territory now included within the province formed part of 'New Caledonia,' throughout which the Northwest Company and later the Hudson's Bay Company (with which the Northwest Company was amalgamated in 18211 carried on trading operations; and in 1843 a fort was built by the Hudson's Bay Company on the site of the present city of Victoria. A consider able portion of the territory at this time was claimed by the United States, on the strength of the Louisiana Purchase, and feeling ran high, giving origin to the campaign cry of '54-40 or tight.' But under Polk the matter was arbitrated.
In 1849 Vancouver Island was erected into a Crown colony, though it remained under the vir tual control of the company, Sir James Douglas occupying both the position of Governor and that of the company's chief factor. In 1856 an assem bly was called, though the island was still only sparsely settled. Gold was discovered in the bed of the Fraser River in 1856, and, settlers having arrived in some numbers, New Caledonia was also organized as a Crown colony in 1858 under the name of British Columbia, of which also Douglas acted as Governor for several years. In 1863 an
act was passed by the British Parliament estab lishing as the boundaries of the colony the Pa cific Ocean and the frontier of the Russian terri tory in North America to the west, the sixtieth parallel of north latitude to the north, the one hundred and twentieth meridian of longitude and the summit of the Rocky Mountains to the east, and the northern boundary of the United States to the south. The two colonies were united under the name British Columbia in 1866, and five years later the new province thus created was admitted into the confederation of Canada, the Dominion Government pledging itself to pay a considerable subsidy to the province and to secure the con struction within ten years of a railroad connect ing the seaboard of the province with the main railway system of Canada. The road, however, was not completed until 1885. Soon after its admission into the Dominion, British Columbia secured a constitution under which a government was organized similar to those of the other pro" inces. The southern. southwestern, and north western (Klondike) boundaries. of British Colum bia have at various times formed the subject of considerable controversy between the United States and Great Britain. Sec OREGON; and SA-_r .1 UXN Bo•xuAny Disru•E.
BIBLIOGRAPHY. British Association for the Bibliography. British Association for the Advancement of Science, Handbook of Canada (Loudon, 1897); (losnell, Year Book of British Columbia (London, 1895) ; New Lands (London, 1900) ; Begg, History of British Colum bia (Toronto, 1894) Baillie-Grohman, Fifteen, Years in the Hunting Grounds of Western. .1 mer le(' and British Columbia (London, 1900) ; Smith, of British Columbia," in American Antiquarian. Vols. XXIII., XXV. (Chi cago, 1001) ; Green, .1mong the Selkirk Glaciers (London• 1890) ; Ingersoll, The Canadian Guide Book : Part IL, TheRtern Canada (New York, 1593) ; Dawson (and others), Beports Geological Surrey of Camula, and Oflivial Publications of the Province of British Columbia.