History of British Columbia

British Columbia is a freshly inhabited land. It was isolated during early human history by its complex geography. Ancestors to its many native tribes that compile the First Nations people trekked into the area near the end of the most recent ice age. The Bering Sea remained frozen while the ice floes that had covered much of Canada receded, leaving a carved out landscape that is still difficult to navigate today.

Early natives settled mostly in the southwest corner of BC. Plentiful resources, game and fish, natural barriers, and lots of space allowed for the formation of several different tribes. Individual island nations existed off the coast of the mainland. Mainland populations continued to grow and follow seasonal movements demanded by wildlife and weather.

Spanish and English expeditions in the late 18th century brought the first Europeans to British Columbia. The dominant Native culture interacted with fur traders and explorers. Trading posts and forts of historical significance turned into major outposts and cities. George Vancouver, Simon Fraser, James Douglas and others have been memorialized by having their names attached to sites across BC.

The gold rush of the mid-19th century brought governmental rule to British Columbia. Thousands of people hoping to strike it rich came to the area. When this exciting, though brief time span started to decline, the British influenced lawmakers decided to join Canada. Indigenous peoples remained as the highest population percentage until just before the turn of 20th century.

Booming extraction industry brought the need for labor into British Columbia. Upon completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway, Victoria gave way to Vancouver as the most populous city. Accessible natural resources of salmon and trees drove economic success along the coast. Mining and farming, as well as timber, were the focus of inland settlers.

Technological advancements combined with promotional language brought about a more welcoming climate than other Canadian provinces--in effect encouraging more immigrants throughout the 20th century. Asian communities are especially well represented among the diverse populations represented among British Columbia's residents. Vancouver hosts the second largest Chinatown community in North America.

British Columbia is not done growing as a powerful force in human history. The 2010 Winter Olympics were held in BC. Popular Hollywood film productions take advantage of a varied entertainment industry. Ecotourism is a rising force in the popularization of "going green." Other advancements are sure to take place as well. The future looks bright for British Columbia!