The loss of the heartland of what was Columbia and then became British Columbia was the defining drama of our history. Yet it is largely ignored in many history books.
This video documents how British Columbia avoided becoming part of the United States, but lost its southern heartland. It follows from two previous Kumtuks videos called Columbia and Losing Columbia as well as the related video Government in Proto British Columbia. The legal government on the West Coast was the Honorable Hudson Bay Company, called a Company State very similar to the East India Company which governed India. The First Nations remained sovereign as per King George Third’s 1763 Proclamation. Prime Minister Palmerston vigorously defended Proto British Columbia, but the new government of Prime Minister Robert Peel and Foreign Secretary Lord Aberdeen had little interest. It was only because of the strategy and efforts of the Honorable Hudson Bay Company government that British Columbia did not become part of the US. The Company State morphed into the British Columbia government. James Douglas moved his capital from the original Vancouver (now in Washington State) to Victoria. Langley and New Westminster became associated with government on the mainland.
Keeping New Caledonia: History of Early British Columbia
This video is about the formative time before we were officially named British Columbia. Columbia, or Proto British Columbia, was the direct precursor of our province and its tragic story haunted the important figures of our early history. Its story contains important lessons and inspiration for our future. The North West Company established the first long-term presence on the West Coast. It created two administrative districts called New Caledonia in the north, run from Fort St. James and Columbia in the south, run from Fort George (now called Astoria). When the North West Company was taken over by the Honorable Hudson Bay Company these territories were amalgamated into one called Columbia. Because the HBC was given the powers of government it created its new capital in Vancouver (now in Washington State). This form of government is called a Company State, exactly like the East India Company that governed India. For over two decades the HBC created a multicultural society living in peace with First Peoples. Its working languages were French and Chinook Wawa, a hybrid language made originally mostly from Chinook and French. Columbia was the original area that is sometimes called Cascadia, which comes from the French word used for the mountains ‘Les Cascades’. After the 1846 Border Treaty (also called the Oregon Treaty) was implemented in 1849, many of the people from Columbia went north to the new Columbia, British Columbia — especially since the new US regime did not allow black people or Hawaiians to live in their newly acquired territory. In the north, political governance was from Victoria, Langley and New Westminster, although many settled in what is now Surrey, Richmond, Burnaby, Coquitlam and some around Burrard Inlet and False Creek. You can learn how more about how ‘British’ Columbia lost… Read More »Columbia: the Forgotten History of British Columbia