Kamloops is located at the confluence of the north and south Thompson River branches. In his memoirs, John Tod writes that the Shuswap name for the area was Kahm-o-loops, meaning the meeting of the waters.1
In 1811, the first Europeans in the area were members of the Pacific Fur Company, who established a fur-trading post on the Thompson River.2 The names Fort Kamloops, Fort Thompson, and Thompson River Post were used interchangeably during the fur-trading period.3 After the fort was founded, the main Shuswap village was moved closer to the fort in order to control access to trade.4
In this 1858 letter, John Miles writes of his west-coast El Dorado, an active volcano allegedly crammed with gold, just outside of Kamloops: the mountain had exploded and…one braver than the rest of his tribe entered it, and discovered the extinct crater seamed with yellow metal. Miles mentions an unnamed Shuswap chief who called for secrecy of the mountain, claiming that the evils that had beset the natives of those [other] regions…proved that their wars and gradual extinction, were caused by the white man's thirst for gold.
The gold rush of the 1860s and the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway in the 1880s brought further growth to Fort Kamloops.5 Kamloops incorporated in 1893 as a city with a population of 500.6 Today, the city has a population of roughly 84,000.7
  • 1. G. P. V. Akrigg and H. B. Akrigg, British Columbia Place Names (Vancouver: UBC Press, 1997), 131.
  • 2. Kamloops, VancouverIsland.com.
  • 3. Akrigg, British Columbia Place Names, 131.
  • 4. Kamloops, VancouverIsland.com.
  • 5. Akrigg, British Columbia Place Names, 131.
  • 6. Ibid.
  • 7. Kamloops Population Report, City of Kamloops.
Mentions of this place in the documents
People in this document

Miles, John

Tod, John

Places in this document

Thompson River