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The Province of British Columbia entered into Confederation with Canada on July 20, 1871. It has had an exciting and fascinating economic history and has before it a dynamic, rewarding economic future.

British Columbia has a land and water area of 948,596 square kilometres. It is approximately 1,450 kilometres (900 miles) long and averages 640 kilometres (400 miles) across. It extends from the 49th parallel on the south (with an additional dip south to encompass all of Vancouver Island) to the 60th parallel on the north, and from the Pacific Ocean and the Alaska Panhandle on the west to Alberta s western boundary on the east.

The Yukon and Northwest Territories are its northern neighbours and the American States of Washington, Idaho, and Montana, its southern neighbours.

European contact with the land that is now British Columbia began in 1774 when a Spanish sailing ship commanded by Juan Perez anchored south of Nootka Sound.

The early explorers traded with the native Indian people who had lived for many centuries along the coast and the main western rivers. The abundant wealth which the Indians obtained from their surroundings provided the basis for a vigorous and complex native culture.

The extended visit by Captain James Cook to Nootka Sound in 1778 established Britain's interest in the region. The visit set the stage for the fur trade which flourished until the middle of the 19th century.

Captain John Meares established a trading post at Nootka in 1877, loading a vessel with furs and a deckload of spars for shipment to China. This represented the first reported trade in timber from British Columbia.

Fur traders of the North West Company explored the interior of the province; Alexander Mackenzie, Simon Fraser, and David Thompson each explored different routes from British North America to the sea. Alexander Mackenzie reached the Pacific Ocean at Bella Coola in 1793.

Simon Fraser established a trading post at Fort McLeod in 1805. Fraser also founded Fort St. James on Stuart Lake and Fort George at the confluence of the Nechako and Fraser Rivers in 1806 and 1807 respectively.

All were established in the name of the North West Company.

The North West Company and the Hudson's Bay Company amalgamated in 1821. In 1843 the Hudson's Bay Company established Fort Victoria as its
western depot, in anticipation of the loss of its then current western depot at Vancouver, Washington.
In 1846 the Oregon Treaty established the United States-British Columbia border at the 49th parallel, two hundred miles to the north of the lower Columbia River.

The Hudson's Bay Company established the first mechanized sawmill in British Columbia near Victoria in 1848.

The British Crown Colony of Vancouver Island was formed in 1849.

The discovery of gold on the Fraser River in 1858 attracted thousands of people to the area and Victoria, as the supply centre, was suddenly transformed from a trading post to a city.

New Westminster, Hope, and Yale also came into prominence as a result of the gold rush.

The discovery of gold on the Fraser River also caused the Crown to extend its jurisdiction to the mainland. The colony of British Columbia, an amalgamation of Vancouver Island with the mainland, was formed in 1866.

The brief economic boom during the gold rush years did not provide a firm base for continued rapid growth.

The lack of immigrants, capital, and markets made the prospect of a rail link to the east attractive, and in 1871, with the promise of an all-Canadian railway, British Columbia joined Confederation.

Major utilization of forest resources started after the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1886 and expanded in accordance with market conditions as transportation systems improved.

Pulp production began in 1909, although 1912 is considered the birthdate of the industry when three new plants went into production and newsprint production was started at Powell River. Fraser Mills near New Westminster produced the first plywood in British Columbia in 1913.

Coastal sawmills exported lumber to world markets while Interior sawmills found their first important market in the Prairie settlement boom prior to World War I.

Pulp and paper mills, producing sulphite pulp and newsprint, were built at sites offering abundant soft water, energy and wood supplies. The rapid expansion of demand for paper products, associated with changed packaging techniques in the postwar period, shifted the emphasis to "kraft" or sulphate pulp.
Completion of the Panama Canal in 1914 opened new markets in Europe, giving further impetus to the establishment and expansion of pulp, paper, and lumber mills, fish packing plants, fruit and vegetable canneries, and smelters, plus expansion of port facilities to handle the export of grain from the Prairies.

Population growth also accelerated as the railroad encouraged greater migration of settlers to British Columbia.
Economic activity in British Columbia increased

as a result of World War II, during which base metals and forest products were in strong demand. Construction of the Alaska Highway by the Americans during the war and later track extensions, modernization of equipment, and improved services of the Pacific Great Eastern Railway (now British Columbia Railway) proved of great benefit in opening up the northern and central sections of the province.

Strong world demand for the products of British Columbia's resource-based industries brought tremendous economic growth following the war.

Improved technology in all phases of the forest industry has increased utilization of the province's forest resources while also increasing efficiency and productivity.

This has permitted the development of large integrated forestry complexes, not only in the coastal areas but also in the Interior.

Mining activity began with the working of Vancouver Island coal deposits in the 1840s but placer gold attracted the most attention in the early period.

Production of lode gold and copper then overshadowed other minerals until the 1920s when the huge Sullivan lead-zinc mine at Kimberley came into full production.

In the 1960s the emphasis again shifted to copper as new markets and technology permitted the development of large, low-grade, open-pit mines. Commercial production of gas and oil in the Peace River District began with completion of the main gas and oil pipe-lines in 1957 and 1961 respectively.

The coal mining industry was reactivated in the late 1960s when Japanese steelmakers began purchasing large quantities of coking coal from British Columbia mines.

The fishing industry has also been important throughout the economic history of the province. Salmon canning began in 1870 on the Fraser River, spreading quickly northwards. Canning made possible the marketing of salmon in distant places.

In the 1960s and 1970s some canning activity was displaced as freezing technology became prominent and operations became more centralized in Vancouver and Prince Rupert. The 1970s also saw the emergence of a major roe herring fishery in the province's coastal waters.

Fur traders introduced agriculture to British Columbia in the first quarter of the nineteenth century in order to reduce their dependence on distant and costly sources of foodstuffs.

Crops of grain, vegetables and fruits were raised and dairy cattle and horses were kept at many trading outposts. Demand for agricultural products increased considerably with the influx of goldseekers.

Commercial farming and Interior cattle ranching began during the mining booms.

Activity expanded with the settlement of lands opened by the coming of the railways. Irrigation schemes in the Okanagan and Kootenays and land reclamation programs in the Lower Fraser Valley and at Creston provided rich new productive capacity.

Grain and seed crops began to be cultivated in the Peace River region after the turn of the century. Specialized agricultural production in various regions of the province has been largely determined by climatic conditions and proximity to markets.

Manufacturing in British Columbia is mainly resource-oriented.

However, an increasing range of products is produced locally and the smaller industry groups make an important contribution to the economy. Wood products remain the largest manufacturing group in the province, although recently the industry has not matched the growth rates of other types of manufacturing activity such as primary metals, metal fabricating, machinery, plastics, chemicals and electrical and electronic products.

The industrial base is becoming more sophisticated and diversified. The industrial sector will, however, continue to be resource-oriented since British Columbia has an abundance of natural resources, much of which remains to be developed.

The United States and United Kingdom constituted the two major markets for British Columbia products until 1967 when Japan replaced the United Kingdom as the second most important trading partner.

In recent years, other Pacific Rim countries, with approximately half of the world's population, have become important trading partners and represent a high proportion of the current and potential trading volume through British Columbia ports.

Recent major port developments in the Prince Rupert and Vancouver areas, backed up by continuing rail and road improvements and an increasing industrial capability will further enhance the province's ability to serve future world markets.
additional information Simon Fraser, Explorer
Fraser, Simon, North West Company, river, British Columbia.
His mandate from the North West Company was to cross the Rockies and establish trading relations with the Indians in the interior of what is now British Columbia, but which Fraser called New Caledonia.
Here he established Fort McLeod in 1805, Fort St. James and Fort Fraser in 1806, and Fort George in 1807.
It is ironic that this river which he so successfully navigated turned out not to be the Columbia, but rather an unknown river which fellow Nor'wester David Thompson would later name the Fraser River.
Written by James Saunders and edited by Barbara Rogers, 28 December 1995.

Katalog PG -- Hospitality North, Prince George, British Columbia, Canada
prince george, fort, british, british columbia, fraser.
FoodSafe library from proper food handling to foodborne illness to prevention.
Visit our city Prince George, our province British Columbia, our country Canada and the Rheinland and Mosel area in Germany.
Deutsche Webseiten und Weblinks nach Kanada und auch nach Britisch Kolumbia an der Westküste und weiter nach Prince George in der Mitte der Provinz.
Ausführliche Texte über das Land, die Bevölkerung und Kultur mit einem Besuch zum Rheinland, die Eifel und Mosel; ausserdem FoodSafe, ein Programm über die richtige Behandlung der Nahrungsmittel (Ernährung, Krankheiten, Verhütung, Gesundheit).
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Fur Company Exploration
fort, river, party, Columbia, Fraser.
In an attempt to lay claim to New Caledonia or New Scotland -- the name of the vast interior country north of the Columbia and west of the Rockies -- the North West Company set about building fur trade posts.
Disappointed he immediately ascended the river he had just come down, condemning it as being unsuitable for canoe travel.
Although the North West Company and the Hudson's Bay Company amalgamated in 1821, it was three years later before their men again approached the Fraser Valley in search of a suitable location on which to establish a fort.
While Louis and Portneuf were Abenaki Indians, Cannon was an American, and William Johnson was an Englishman, the rest of the party consisted of French-Canadians or Metis and Hawaiians.

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