Places mentioned in the correspondence

Active PassMap
Active Pass is a narrow channel of ocean between Mayne Island and Galiano Island, East of Vancouver Island and north of Prevost Island. It was named after the USS Active, an American surveying vessel.1 The pass is used in the modern day as a route for the BC Ferries line between the Schwartz Bay and Tsawwassen ferry terminals.2
Mentions of this place in the documents
Admiralty InletMap
This strait is the transition between eastern Juan de Fuca Strait and Puget Sound. During Quimper's expedition of 1790, Juan Carrasco, a pilot, sighted the entrance to the strait, but mistook it for a bay, which he named Ensenada de Caamaño, after Spanish naval officer Jacinto Caamaño.1
Quimper may have mistook the inlet as an ending, despite advice to the contrary from local Indigenous people.2 Though he took this information as false, Vancouver did not; two years later, Quimper sighted and named it Admiralty Inlet.3
  • 1. Derek Hayes, Historical Atlas of British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest (Vancouver: Cavendish Books, 1999), 70.
  • 2. Ibid.
  • 3. Ibid.
Mentions of this place in the documents
The village of Ahousat is located on the southeast shore of Flores Island off the west coast of Vancouver Island, near the town of Tofino. Ahousat is populated predominantly by members of the Ahousaht First Nation, which is the largest contemporary member nation of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council.1 The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council consists of 14 First Nations located along the west coast of Vancouver Island, spanning 300 kilometers from Brooks Peninsula in the north to Point-no-Point in the south.2
The village was not always located on Flores Island; originally, the village site was located on Vargas Island, not far from its current location.3 The word Ahousaht means facing opposite from the ocean or people living with their backs to the land and mountains, in the Nuučaańuł language, aptly reflecting the Ahousaht's strong maritime traditions.4
This despatch, from Commander John W. Pike to Rear Admiral Joseph Denman, discusses several Indian outrages upon white men. One of these outrages is what historians call the “Ahousaht Incident,” an event in which a group of Nuu-chah-nulth captured the Kingfisher and killed its crew in Clayoquot Sound.5 According to Barry M. Gough, the incident incited one of the worst punishment actions carried out by the Royal Navy, on behalf of the Crown, against Indigenous Peoples on the northwest coast.6 In total, at least nine villages and 64 canoes were destroyed and 15 Indigenous individuals killed.7
By 1895, the Presbyterian Church had opened a day school for Ahousaht children.8 In 1903 this day school was incorporated into Canada's Indian Residential School System.9 A school system created for the purpose of separating Aboriginal children from their families, in order to minimize and weaken family ties and cultural linkages, and to indoctrinate children into a new culture—the culture of the legally dominant Euro-Christian Canadian society.10 You can read more about Canada's Indian Residential School System in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Final Report, published 2015.11 The Nuu-chach-nulth Tribal Council also completed their own report into residential schools and published their findings in a book titled: Indian Residential Schools: The Nuu-chah-nulth Experience in 1996.12
Mentions of this place in the documents
The U.S. state of Alaska is located in the northwest corner of North America, west of British Columbia and Yukon Territory, and east of Russian Siberia. At 943,739 km2 (about 365,000,000 acres), Alaska is the largest U.S. state, with over 54,000 km of coastline that touches the North Pacific Ocean, Bering Sea, Beaufort Sea, Chukchi Sea, and the Arctic Ocean; its western and southern borders span 2,500 km running adjacent to Canada.1
The name Alaska, an English corruption of the original name, has a complicated etymology.2 It originates from the Aleut (Unangan) wordaláxsxaq, which refers to an object to which the sea is directed--in this case an island or peninsula; it also translates as to Alyeksa, which means great land.3 From Alyeksa, the Russians derived names for the Alaskan peninsula, “Aliaska,” and the territory as a whole, “Alashka.”4 The current variation of the name “Alaska” follows from the same etymology, rooted in the Eskaleut language family.5
The Russian explorer Vitus Bering is credited as the first non-Indigenous visitor to present-day Alaska, in 1741.6 Spanish explorer Juan Perez followed in 1774, and Captain James Cook arrived in 1776.7 The Russian explorer and fur trader Grigorii Shelikhov, who established the Shelikhov-Golikov Company, established the first non-Indigenous settlement in 1784.8 Alaska became the last major confluence of Empire in the North Pacific. In 1867, Alaska was sold by the Russians to the United States, where it existed variously as a District, Department, and Territory until statehood was granted in 1959.
Many Indigenous Peoples continue to live in Alaska, with histories dating back at least 10,000 years.9 Within western classifications, there are five distinct groups of Indigenous Peoples within Alaska: Northwest Coast Indians, Inupiaqs (In Canada, Inuit), Yupiks, Aleuts, and Athabascans.10 Many of these groups' traditional territories have been divided by the creation of arbitrary borders: Richard Osburn describes these disjointed territories as divided by artificial lines.11 The “Northwest Coast Indians” comprised of the Haida, Tlingit, and Tshimshian Peoples, as well as the Inupiaq, Yupik, and Athabaskan Peoples, continue to exist within a complex geopolitical sphere of influence amongst the United States, Russia and Canada.12 Indigenous Peoples comprise approximately 16% of the Alaska's total population of 736,239.13
In the collection, many of the documents on Alaska reveal anxieties caused by an increased American presence within the territory. For example, in this despatch, Governor Frederick Seymour discusses rumours of annexation by the United States and the unprecedentedly high number of Americans flooding over the border. In a follow-up despatch, Seymour goes on to explain that the “Indians” have, regrettably, taken up the English flag in opposition to their new American administrators.
Mentions of this place in the documents
Albert HeadMap
This hook-ended, rocky headland, which the Songhees First Nation call Tleepet, lies west of Victoria, jutting into the Juan de Fuca Strait.1 Kellett named it in honour of Prince Albert because it looked across, more or less, to the bay that housed a fort named after the Prince's wife, Victoria.2 Many years before this romantic gesture, Quimper, the first European to land there, arrived in 1790.3
In its European role, Albert Head was the site of British Columbia's first sawmill, 1853-59, a quarantine station, 1883-93, and a heavily fortified post during World War II.4 Today, it is one of the training centres for Canada's Department of National Defence.5
  • 1. Andrew Scott, The Encyclopedia of Raincoast Place Names (Madeira Park, BC: Harbour Publishing, 2009), 38.
  • 2. Ibid.
  • 3. Ibid.
  • 4. Ibid.
  • 5. Ibid.
Mentions of this place in the documents
Alexander ArchipelagoMap
The Alexander Archipelago is a group of more than one thousand islands in southeast Alaska, and although they are part of the United States politically, they are geographically closer to British Columbia. The archipelago was named by the US Coast and Geodetic Survey in 1867, in honour of Russian Tsar Alexander II .1
Mentions of this place in the documents
This Canadian National Historic Site is located on the west bank of the Fraser River in south-central British Columbia. In 1793 Sir Alexander Mackenzie was the first European to visit the site that would come to be known as Fort Alexandria, which was then a Secwepemc village.1
Thirty years later, the North West Company set up Fort Alexandria, bearing a variance on Alexander Mackenzie's name, a year before the company merged with the HBC.2 Fort Alexandria was the northernmost trading post of the HBC's Pacific brigade trail.3 but once gold was discovered there in the 1850s, the site swelled in population and importance, along with gold-booms elsewhere in the Cariboo region.4
This letter from 1859 reports that the accounts from the upper districts of Fraser River are most encouraging, rich alluvial diggings having been found in the neighbourhood of Ft Alexandria. The present-day town of Alexandria is on the right bank of the Fraser, just up from the site of the fort.5
Mentions of this place in the documents
Alexis LakeMap
Alexis Lake, located on the trail to Alexandria, is a body of water in which Alexis Creek flows into. Both of these areas were named after Chief Alexis of the Tsilhqot'in who was the chief during the “Chilcotin War.”1 As it was since the earliest days of human presence, Alexis Lake is a popular fishing destination. Alfred Waddington writes that the Chilacooten Tribe, (Tsilhqot'in), were often seen at Alexis Lake as it was one of their main fishing locations.2
Mentions of this place in the documents
American BarMap
American Bar is located along the Fraser River's eastern bank, roughly six km above Hope.1 It was one of dozens of gold-rush sites mined in the area, largely from 1858 to 1859. One correspondent for the Victoria Gazette wrote in 1858 that the American Bar is paying well. King & Co., took out 118 ounces with four rockers, in one week, and it pays well as the water falls.2
Mentions of this place in the documents
Anderson TributaryMap
Anderson Tributary is a tributary of Lightning Creek, and the site of gold discoveries in 1863. The gold from the tributary was several carats finer than that of Williams Creek, and had a very distinctive appearance.1
Mentions of this place in the documents
Antigua is an island in the West Indies, and the vast wall of coral reef protecting the island is what drew the British Empire to its shores. In 1784, Admiral Horatio Nelson sailed to the island and established a naval base there. Antigua remained a British colony until 1981.1 Sir Stephen John Hill was Governor of Antigua from 1863-69.2
Mentions of this place in the documents
Antwerp is a major city in Belgium and was named one of the “duchy” capitals in the early medieval period. From the 15th to the 19th century, Antwerp grew as a leading commercial centre of western Europe; most of its wealth resulted from colonial trade. Although Antwerp experienced a minor economic decline in the 18th century, it regained its position as a major seaport in the following century.1
  • 1. Antwerp, Encyclopedia Britannica.
Mentions of this place in the documents
Arrow LakesMap
The upper and lower Arrow Lakes are widenings of the Columbia River between modern-day Castlegar and Revelstoke, and may have made useful landmarks in navigating the river. The lakes were named “Arrow Lake upper/lower” on John Arrowsmith's 1832 map British North America. Earlier names for the lakes included “Cutsamin” or “Earbobs” Lake, as indicated on R.H Laurie's 1832 map Fredonia or the United-States of North America.1
The Geographic Board of Canada formally adopted the name 30 June 1900.2
Mentions of this place in the documents
Ashe HeadMap
In 1847, Lieutenant Commander James Wood of the HMS Pandora named Ashe Head in honour of Edward David Ashe, 5th lieutenant aboard the HMS Fisgard.1 Ashe Head is located within Esquimalt Harbour.2
  • 1. Ashe Head, BC Geographical Names Information System.
  • 2. Ibid.
Mentions of this place in the documents
Assiniboine PortageMap
In this correspondence, Douglas, as part of a larger proposed scheme for travel, describes the Assiniboin Portage as a distance of ninety miles from Edmonton. Douglas notes that the portage originates at Fort Assinniboin.
Mentions of this place in the documents
Astoria, now a port city in the state of Oregon, is located at the mouth of the Columbia River.1 It was named after John Jacob Astor, a German who immigrated to England, and then set to further his fortunes in the marine fur trade of the Pacific coast, and he did so with the Pacific Fur Company.2 The fort of Astoria, now a city, was a key location in the Oregon Territory land dispute. In 1813, the British captured and renamed it Fort George, but it regained its former mantle in 1818 when it was returned to the United States.3
  • 1. Arthur S. Morton, A History of the Canadian West to 1870-71 (London: Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1939), 489.
  • 2. Ibid.
  • 3. Lynn Middleton, Placenames of the Pacific Northwest Coast (Victoria: Elldee Publishing Company, 1969), 12.
Mentions of this place in the documents
Athabasca RiverMap
The Athabasca River is over 1200 km long and flows northeast, from its origin in Jasper National Park, to its outflow in Lake Athabasca in northeastern Alberta. It passes through the oil-sands deposits of northern Alberta.1
Traditionally, many First Nations groups hunted along the Athabasca River, including the Shuswap, Kootenay and Salish. Fur traders first established a trading post along the river in 1778, near the delta. In 1811, Thomas, an Iroquois, and David Thompson, an Englishman, established a route through the Rockies via the headwaters of one of Athabasca River's tributaries, and named it Athabasca Pass. The areas they surveyed remained important parts of trade routes for the remainder of the century.2
Jasper National Park, established in 1907, continues to preserve much of the Upper Athabasca area.3
Mentions of this place in the documents
Auckland IslandsMap
The Auckland Islands are an outlying island group of New Zealand. It consists of six islands and several islets, with Auckland Island as the largest, rising to about 2,000 feet with a steep east coast which contains Carney Harbour and Port Ross. Abraham Bristow named the islands in 1806 after William Eden, the 1st baron of Auckland.1
A sealing station was set up on the islands shortly after Bristow's arrival. By 1812, so many seals were killed that the islands lost their draw and became uninhabited. In the mid 19th century a few different groups attempted to settle on the Auckland Islands, which included the Maori in 1842, and Charles Enderby's colony in 1849.2 Enderby's established colony at Port Ross, named “Hardwicke,” attracted approximately 200 people to settle. But by the 1850s both the Maori and Enderby abandoned the islands as the climate was too harsh -- making for poor conditions and an impossibility to survive. Additionally, Enderby's goal of setting up a whaling business was not fulfilled.3
The Auckland Islands were included in the New Zealand boundary in 1863 but remain uninhabited. The islands are now infamously known for the failed settlements and for being a hub for shipwrecks and castaways.4
Mentions of this place in the documents
Axe LakeMap
This small lake is located southeast of Williams Lake, in south-central British Columbia. In Douglas, Chief Factor Governor Vice-Admiral Sir James to Pelham-Clinton, 5th Duke of Newcastle Henry Pelham Fiennes 15 April 1862, CO 60:13, no. 5571, 149, Douglas mentions Axe Lake as part of his detailed road-plans for the region. James Wyld's map from 1858 spells it as “Ax L”.1
  • 1. Derek Hayes, Historical Atlas of British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest (Vancouver: Cavendish Books, 1999), 153.
Mentions of this place in the documents
Aylmer, Ontario, is located roughly 15 km north of Lake Erie. European settlement began there in 1817; and, by 1836, it was large enough to warrant a post office.1 The settlement, originally called Hodgkinson's Corners, was renamed Aylmer in honour of Lord Aylmer, governor general of Upper and Lower Canada from 1831-35.2
It was referred to as Aylmer West, in contradistinction to the Aylmer in Lower Canada, now Québec.2 This naming convention appears in several despatches. For example, this correspondence refers to a meeting held in “Aylmer C. W.”, that is, Canada West.
  • 1. D. Welch and M Payne, Aylmer (Ont), The Canadian Encyclopedia.
  • 2. Ibid.
  • 3. Ibid.
Mentions of this place in the documents
Babine LakeMap
Babine Lake is located in central British Columbia, and is home to the Lake Babine Nation, the third largest Aboriginal band in British Columbia.1 As early as 1811, the HBC had trade relationships in the area, primarily for salmon.2
Mentions of this place in the documents
The Bahamas is comprised of over 700 islands spread across roughly 2.6 thousand square kilometers of ocean northeast of Cuba and southeast of Florida.1
Christopher Columbus first landed in the Bahamas, on the island of San Salvador. Due to enslavement, disease, and conflict, the 40,000-strong indigenous population was wiped out within 25 years.2
The British first settled the Bahamas in 1649. Despite intermittent battles with the Spanish and pirates, the Bahamas remained a profitable British colony until 1973, when the islands became a free and sovereign member of the Commonwealth.3
Mentions of this place in the documents
Ballarat is a city located in the Australian province of Victoria. European sheep farmers settled there in 1838, and the population boomed in response to gold deposits discovered there in 1851.1 Several despatches, including this one, mention the Gold Fields at Ballarat, as well as the so-called “Ballarat riots”.
  • 1. Ballarat, Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
Mentions of this place in the documents
Bamfield InletMap
Bamfield Inlet is a fair anchorage on the southeastern side of Barkley Sound. It was first known as “Bamfield Creek”, as 19th-century navy men and officers used “creek” to refer to narrow tidal inlets. The BC Geographical Names Office changed the moniker to “inlet” in 1944 to better fit lay terms.1 “Bamfield” is a mis-spelling of the name William Eddy Banfield, an ex-Royal Navy carpenter who traded at a post in the area and died under mysterious circumstances. The error appeared on British Admiralty charts in 1863 and 1865, and persisted when the Bamfield Post Office opened in 1903. Postal authorities never issued corrective stamps, and the name was officially changed in 1951.2
The longest portion of the submarine cable connecting British North American and British Australia, completed in 1902, terminated at Bamfield Inlet. Parks Canada has installed a National Historic Site plaque on the site once occupied by the cable station.3
Mentions of this place in the documents
Barbados is an eastern Caribbean island. It saw successive settlement by tribes from the Siboney culture, Arawaks, and Caribs. Spanish and Portugese sailors sighted the island during the early 16th century, and the Spanish invaded in 1518. They made no permanent settlement, but due to slavers taking locals, and locals fleeing, the island was deserted when the British claimed it in 1625.1
The British held unbroken control of the island from 1625 to 1966. Sugar was introduced in the 1650s, leading to 745 plantations and over 80,000 African and African descended slaves and indentured European workers on the island by the end of the 18th century. Unsuccessful slave rebellions occured in 1702 and 1816. The British Empire abolished slavery in 1834.2
Barbados was run locally by a House of Assembly from 1639 onward, but, due to property qualifications for enfranchisement, the House was dominated by plantation owners. Universal adult suffurage was established in 1951, and Barbados became an independent state within the Commonwealth in 1966.3
Mentions of this place in the documents
Barkerville is located in south central British Columbia, roughly 80 km east of Quesnel. The town was named after the first and most successful miner of the area, a British man named William “Billy” Barker.1
While other miners were concentrating their efforts on one area of Williams Creek, Barker sought gold farther downstream.2 On August 17, 1862, he discovered a deposit that earned him $650,000.3 Word of his discovery travelled fast and soon the area was packed with miners.4 It wasn't long before the town of Barkerville emerged and over 142,000 kg of gold was extracted from the surrounding area.5
On the afternoon of September 16, 1868, a large fire consumed the town and left only a few buildings standing.6 In this despatch, Seymour states that property valued at from one to two hundred thousand pounds has been destroyed. No one was killed in the fire, although Barkerville's infrastructure was devastated and this allowed the town to be rebuilt in an orderly fashion with wider roads and more permanent buildings.7 With the harsh winter weather approaching, the building had to be accomplished quite quickly.8 Over 90 per cent of the rebuilding was completed by the beginning of November.9
Barkerville is now a provincial Heritage Site and a National Historic Site of Canada and is run by a non-profit charity called the Barkerville Heritage Trust.10
Mentions of this place in the documents
Barkley SoundMap
Barkley Sound is on the west coast of Vancouver Island, north of the entrance to the Juan de Fuca Strait. It was named after Charles William Barkley, though a common misspelling on early charts was Barclay.1
Barkley, apparently not the humblest of gentlemen, named the sound after himself in 1787, during an independent trade adventure to the area.2 On this trip, he carried aboard his young wife, Frances Hornby Trevor, thought to be the first European woman to set eyes on the British Columbia coast.3 The Spanish called the sound Baia de Carrasco, after naval officer Juan Carrasco.4
  • 1. Andrew Scott, The Encyclopedia of Raincoast Place Names (Madeira Park, BC: Harbour Publishing, 2009), 59.
  • 2. Ibid.
  • 3. Ibid.
  • 4. Ibid.
Mentions of this place in the documents
Bawden BayMap
Bawden Bay is located in Clayoquot Sound. Bawden Bay was named after Charles Bawden, master of the HMS Bacchante, by Donald Mackenzie, who was captain of the ship. The northern point of Bawden Bay used to be called Charles Point (also after Charles Bawden) but was renamed Bawden Point in 1934.1
  • 1. Captain John T. Walbran, British Columbia Coast Names: Their Origin and History (Canada: Douglas and McIntyre Ltd., 1971), 36-37.
Mentions of this place in the documents
Beacon HillMap
Beacon Hill Park is located along the south shore of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, between the Fairfield and James Bay communities in the City of Victoria.1 This area gets its name from two beacons, one on the hill and the other on the southwest bank, that early settlers installed to guide mariners.2
The Indigenous name for the area, Mee-a-can, means belly and refers to the hill's resemblance to a fat man laying on his back.3 There is also anthropological evidence that the meadow below Beacon Hill was known as Meeqan or warmed by the sun.4 Together these terms suggest this is where people sat to have their bellies warmed in summer.5
The area held significance for the Indigenous groups of the area, which has been disregarded by the settler population after the area was redeveloped by the Hudson Bay Company and later the City of Victoria.6 A dozen no-longer visible mounds along the hill were said to be the burial ground of Missteemoch or Island people, who were slain by an evil spirit.7 Human remains were found in the park, and historians believe these belonged to victims of a kind of plague.8
The area was also home to a large camas crop that the Lekwungen people harvested as an essential food staple, but these crops were largely eradicated as the park was developed for settler use and enjoyment of the land.9 The Lekwungen women managed these crops and today largely lead the effort to regain sovereignty over their Nation's territory and use of the camas species.10 Colonial policies complicate the Lekwungen and Songhees protection of the species, as those who harvest in the municipal park often face judgement from the community.11 However, renewed use and education around the plant is seen by the Songhees as a solution to the high rates of diabetes that inflict a disproportionate amount of reserve members.12 There has been continuous public support to resist privatization encroachment on the use of the public park.13 Today, Beacon Hill Park remains a sprawling 200-acre urban park, almost entirely reserved and maintained for public use.14 The Lekwungen will continue to harvest camas as ecological and cultural restoration with growing support from the academic community.15
Mentions of this place in the documents
Bear HillMap
Bear Hill appears on this 1852 map by Pemberton, and is located north of Elk Lake. The name is still found on modern maps.
Mentions of this place in the documents
    Bear LakeMap
    Bear Lake is located in the Cassiar Land District, south of Sustut River and north of Fort Babine. (1) The unincorporated community of Bear Lake borders the actual lake. Sir James Douglas established the community, formerly known as Fort Connelly, in 1826 for the Hudson's Bay Company and named it after his father-in-law. It was renamed in 1964. (2)
    Mentions of this place in the documents
    Bear RiverMap
    Several Bear Rivers exist in British Columbia. Judging by its proximty to the Cariboo Region and appearance on this 1864 map, the roughly contiguous watershed between Babine (also called Simpson) River and Bear Lake is most likely the feature being referred to. In the area, the term “Bear River” now only refers to a stretch of river north of Bear Lake.
    Mentions of this place in the documents
    Beaver HarbourMap
    This small harbour, just northeast of Port Hardy, was likely named after the historic HBC steamship Beaver.1
    The area around this harbour was of interest for its coal deposits, to such an extent that Fort Rupert was constructed nearby to manage the extraction of the valuable ship-fuel mineral.2 See Hamilton, George Alexander to Hawes, Benjamin 14 September 1848, CO 305:1, no. 1809, 319 for further reading.
    • 1. John T. Walbran, British Columbia Coast Names (Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 1971), 64.
    • 2. Ibid., 513.
    Mentions of this place in the documents
    Beaver LakeMap
    Beaver Lake and Elk lake, which are located adjacent to each other north-west of the city of Victoria, were once separate bodies of water; however, when Beaver Lake began to serve as the water supply for Victoria, the water level rose and united the two lakes.1 The name Beaver Lake still remains in usage due to local popularity.2
    • 1. Beaver Lake, BC Geographical Names Information System.
    • 2. Ibid.
    Mentions of this place in the documents
    Beaver Lake [settlement]Map
    This settlement was on the northern end of Beaver Lake, which is northeast of Williams Lake in the Cariboo region of central BC. BCGNIS notes that a post office was established there in 1906 and it closed in 1933.1
    During the Cariboo gold-rush years it was part of a supply chain by which packers brought supplies as far as Beaver Lake on mules, then transferred to horses for the last 20 miles to the Forks, a gold-camp near Quesnel.2
    In this despatch from 1862, Douglas asks Newcastle to call the attention of agriculturists to the price of grain at Williams and Beaver Lake—i.e. 10d a lb for Oats and 1s/3d & 1s/6d a lb for Barley.
    Mentions of this place in the documents
    Becher BayMap
    This bay is located on the southern coast Vancouver Island, just southeast of the Sooke Basin, and west of Pedder Bay.
    Becher Bay, along with other Becher features, was named by Captain Kellett in 1846, during his survey of southern Vancouver Island waters, in homage to Alexander Bridport Becher (1796-1876), a Royal Navy hydrographer.1 Becher is often confused with Beecher, likely as a result of Beechey Head's proximity to the bay.2
    • 1. Andrew Scott, The Encyclopedia of Raincoast Place Names (Madeira Park, BC: Harbour Publishing, 2009), 65.
    • 2. Ibid.
    Mentions of this place in the documents
    Bedwell HarbourMap
    Bedwell Harbour is located on the south-west side of south Pender Island.1 In 1863, the HMS Grappler recovered the body of a murdered settler named William Brady after making port in Bedwell Harbour.2
    In modern times, Bedwell Harbour is the site of a Canadian Border Services Agency, located in the Bedwell Harbour Water Aerodome.3
    Mentions of this place in the documents
    Beechey HeadMap
    Beechey Head is on the southwestern shore of Vancouver Island, and marks the western entrance to Becher Bay, a feature with which its name is often confused.
    Beechey Head was named by Captain Kellett in 1846 after Rear Admiral William James Robert Beechey, a Royal Navy navigator of some report, especially as Beechey had served under the legendary Lieutenant John Franklin; Beechey later became president of the Royal Geographical Society from 1855-56.1
    • 1. Andrew Scott, The Encyclopedia of Raincoast Place Names (Madeira Park, BC: Harbour Publishing, 2009), 66.
    Mentions of this place in the documents
    Belcher PointMap
    Belcher Point is located on the west side of Vancouver Island, and is named after Sir Edward Belcher (1799-1877), a career naval officer who, among his many exploits, led an expedition in 1852 in search of the fate of the famously tragic Franklin expedition.1
    • 1. Andrew Scott, The Encyclopedia of Raincoast Place Names (Madeira Park, BC: Harbour Publishing, 2009), 67.
    Mentions of this place in the documents
    Bella BellaMap
    Bella Bella was a Heiltsuk village located on Denny Island. To the Heiltsuk peoples, Bella Bella was known as 'Qélc. In 1880, Methodist missionaries encouraged the people of Bella Bella village, the central village the Heiltsuk people had congregated to after a devastating smallpox epidemic, to favour more European-centred means of accommodation. Because of this push, residents relocated the village of Bella Bella to Campbell Island, three kilometres north of McLoughlin Bay. The original cite of the abandoned Bella Bella village on Denny Island village is now known as Old Bella Bella.1
    Mentions of this place in the documents
    Bella CoolaMap
    In 1793, Alexander Mackenzie and his group of explorers visited the Bella Coola valley, historically occupied by the Nuxalk peoples.1 From the mid-1800s onwards, Bella Coola was a central area for trade; the Nuxalk peoples participated in the fur trade, not only selling fur of the animals they caught but also trading with other First Nations groups for furs that they could later sell to the Europeans.2 Contact with Europeans brought smallpox, among other diseases, and it is estimated that roughly three quarters of the Nuxalk population was wiped out.3 In 1867, The Hudson's Bay Company established a post in the Bella Coola Valley.4
    • 1. Bella Coola Valley Museum; B.C. Central Coast ArchivesAlexander Mackenzie, Historic Theme Pages.
    • 2. Bella Coola Valley Museum; B.C. Central Coast ArchivesAlexander Mackenzie, Historic Theme Pages.; Bella Coola Valley Museum; B.C. Central Coast ArchivesHudson's Bay Company (1867-1882), Historic Theme Pages.
    • 3. Bella Coola Valley Museum; B.C. Central Coast ArchivesNuxalk Peoples, Historic Theme Pages.; Paula Wild, One River, Two Cultures: A Hiostory of the Bella Coola Valley (Canada: Harbour Publishing Co. Ltd., 2004), 72.
    • 4. Bella Coola Valley Museum; B.C. Central Coast ArchivesA Brief History, History.
    Mentions of this place in the documents
    Bella Coola RiverMap
    The Bella Coola River is located at the junction of the Atnarko and Talchako and flows to the mouth of North Bentinck Arm, British Columbia. The river flows for approximately 70 kilometers and is home to a rich variety of wildlife -- primarily fish species.1
    The first peoples of this river are the Nuxalkmc Peoples whose history dates back 10,000 years. These peoples have been occupying the land and water of the ancestral territory since time immemorial; this territory now is made up of different villages which spreads to different areas.2 The river is part of the historic “Nuxalk-Carrier Grease Trail” which was used by Alexander MacKenzie on his journey to the west coast in 1793. The river also features a rich Indigenous history, as seen in the carved petroglyphs found along the river.3
    Today, the river supports both a commercial fishery and the Indigenous food fishery; however, the land off and around the river is used primarily for agriculture, as well as logging endeavors.4
    Mentions of this place in the documents
    Bellingham is a city located just south of the Canada-United States border, on the northeastern shores of the Puget Sound in the Salish Sea; it is the largest city in Whatcom County.
    Bellingham was named by Joseph Whidbey while surveying for Captain Vancouver in 1792, after Sir William Bellingham. As with today, a number of indigenous groups, including the Lummi, Nooksack, and Coast Salish, called the land around Bellingham home prior to European settlement.1
    Mentions of this place in the documents
    Bellingham BayMap
    Bellingham Bay is located roughly 25 km south of the Canada-United States border. It has gone by many other names: Spanish explorers called it “Seno de Gaston”, or “Gulf of Gaston”, in 1791; Joseph Whidbey, surveying on behalf of Captain Vancouver in 1792, named it after Sir William Bellingham, a naval storekeeper at the time; it has had the additional names of “Ballsam Bay” and “Gaston Bay”, and its Indigenous name, presumably given by the Lummis, is “Tut-segh”.1
    • 1. Lynn Middleton, Placenames of the Pacific Northwest Coast (Victoria: Elldee Publishing Company, 1969), 21-22.
    Mentions of this place in the documents
    Bellingham ChannelMap
    Bellingham Channel flows between Cypress Island and Guemes Island, feeding north into Bellingham Bay and south into Rosario Strait. It is named, as is Bellingham Bay and Bellingham city, after Sir William Bellingham; see the other Bellingham entries for further details.1
    • 1. Lynn Middleton, Placenames of the Pacific Northwest Coast (Victoria: Elldee Publishing Company, 1969), 21-22.
    Mentions of this place in the documents
    Bentinck ArmMap
    North and South Bentinck Arms are inlets in British Columbia. They are mentioned in this letter.
    Mentions of this place in the documents
    Bentinck IslandMap
    Bentinck Island is located off of southern Vancouver Island. It was, perhaps, named after Lord George Bentinck (1802-48), a British politician.1
    This island served as the new lazaretto in 1924, following the colony closure on D'Arcy Island, and would remain so until 1956.2 Evidence of the colony remains, including a cemetery, where 13 Hansen's Disease patients who died on the island are buried.3
    • 1. Andrew Scott, The Encyclopedia of Raincoast Place Names (Madeira Park, BC: Harbour Publishing, 2009), 70.
    • 2. Ibid.
    • 3. Ibid.
    Mentions of this place in the documents
    Bering StraitMap
    The Bering Strait links North America and Asia at their closest points as well as the Arctic Ocean and the Bering Sea.1 A telegraph line was constructed by way of the Bering Strait in the 1800s.2 The telegraph line constructed was to be a way to connect Russia to North America as an alternative to transatlantic lines, and so an overland line was constructed across parts of British Columbia as part of this route.3 However, once a second transatlantic line was installed and proved reliable, the construction of the overland line was eventually abandoned on 27 February 1867, although the section from New Westminster to Quesnel was leased to the province and and eventually expanded through parts of the country.4
    Mentions of this place in the documents
    Bermuda is a self-governing British overseas territory located in the western North Atlantic ocean. It is an archipelago of seven main islands with an additional 170 small islets. About three-fifths of the population are of African descent, many of whom are the descendants of slaves brought to the New World from Africa before the outlaw of slave trading in 1806.1 Scholars debate over when exactly Bermuda was “discovered” by Europeans, some historians stated that it could have been as early as 1503 by Juan Bermúdez. Bermuda was included in the third charter of the Virginia Company in the early 1600s and became administered by the crown in 1684.2
    For much of its history, Bermuda was a central place to send slaves and convicts. Many convicts were Irish or Scottish political prisoners, who would pay off their debt to society by helping build the dockyards. Lord Carnarvon outwardly expressed his disgust in the conditions of the places (“hulks”) in which convicts were kept. By 1861, the crown decided no more convicts would be sent to Bermuda, and thirty years earlier, in 1833, slavery was outlawed.3
    Lord Durham, who prosecuted political prisoners in lower Canada after the Patriote's revolts, coerced the primary instigators to admit their guilt and then subsequently exiled them to Bermuda.4
    Mentions of this place in the documents
    Bilston Creek and Farm are located in Metchosin, southwest of Victoria. The British Columbia Geographical Names Information System has a record for a Bilston Creek, which ran through Bilston Farm,1 a reference to which exists in an enclosure of this private correspondence.
    In the enclosure, James Cooper writes to Douglas on the subject of the HBC's land lease arrangements on Bilston Farm & Thetis Cottage, a matter most pressing in light of Cooper's intentions to leave this country for England.
    Mentions of this place in the documents
    Birch BayMap
    Birch Bay is located just south of the Canada-US border in southeastern Strait of Georgia. To the west, across the Strait from the bay, sits the southern Gulf Islands. In 1792, Vancouver anchored in the bay, and was inspired to name it in reference to the abundant birch on the bay's shores; the Spanish knew it as Ensenda de Garzon.1
    According to George Davidson, a British painter on Vancouver's expedition, one of the Indigenous names for the bay was, in Davidson's anglicization, “Tsan-wuch”.2
    • 1. Lynn Middleton, Placenames of the Pacific Northwest Coast (Victoria: Elldee Publishing Company, 1969), 23.
    • 2. Ibid.
    Mentions of this place in the documents
    Bird's Eye CoveMap
    Bird's Eye Cove is located at the south end of Maple Bay, to the East of Duncan. It was used in 1863 as refuge for the HMS Forward after it took on aboriginal prisoners.1
    Mentions of this place in the documents
    Bishop's CoveMap
    Named in 1867, Bishop's Cove is located south of Kitimat.1
    • 1. Government of British ColumbiaBishop Cove, BC Geographical Names.
    Mentions of this place in the documents
    Bonaparte HouseMap
    Bonaparte House, also spelled “Buonaparte,” was a roadhouse during the colonial period located near the Bonaparte River and Rattlesnake Hill. Bonaparte House was used for public meetings, notably the 1871 meeting to protest the Civil List Act. The protests made here were considered to be inconsequential according to Musgrave.1 Before the operation of Bonaparte House by Charles Semlin and Philip Parke -- an irishman who arrived in the Bonaparte Valley in 1862 -- the roadhouse was known as Wayside House. This changed in 1865 with the new management.2
    Under Parke and Semlin, Wayside House moved to a piece of land near the Bonaparte River and Rattlesnake Hill, subsequently re-christening it to Bonaparte House. The roadhouse was once again renamed in 1868 to Cache Creek House under its new proprietor William “Boston” H. Samson.3 It is difficult to say for certain where the house was located as all remnants of it are now gone; however, it seems to have been located close to the entrance of the current day Sage and Sands trailer park in Cache Creek.4
    Mentions of this place in the documents
    Bonaparte RiverMap
    Bonaparte River, named after the famous French figure, flows into the Thompson River at Ashcroft, in British Columbia's southern interior. Variant spellings for this feature include “Bonepates River”, as noted on Archibald McDonald's HBC map of the region in 1827, as well as “Bonaparte's River”, from Anderson's 1846 map, but on Trutch's 1871 map of BC it was misspelled as “Bonapate River”.1 In this 1861 despatch, Douglas refers to it as Buonaparte River, and notes that he intends to follow it to get to Cayoosh, where he expects to meet with many settlers.
    The Secwepemc, or Shushwap First Nation name for the river is, according to BCGNIS, “Kluhtows”, which means gravelly river.2
    Mentions of this place in the documents
    Bonilla PointMap
    Bonilla Point protrudes from the southwest shore of Vancouver Island, and marks the northwest entrance to the Juan de Fuca Strait. It was named in 1790 by Captain Manuel Quimper, presumably after Antonio Bonilla, secretary to the Spanish government in Mexico at the time.1
    • 1. G. P. V. Akrigg and H. B. Akrigg, British Columbia Place Names (Vancouver: UBC Press, 1997), 23.
    Mentions of this place in the documents
    The city of Boston is located in the northeastern United States, and it is the capital of Massachusetts. Puritans from England established a colony on the Shawmut Peninsula in 1630.1 Boston would go on to play a pivotal role in the American Revolution.2
    • 1. Boston, Encyclopædia Britannica.
    • 2. Ibid.
    Mentions of this place in the documents
    Boston BarMap
    Boston Bar is a town and a bar that grew during the late 1850s gold rush; both are located on the Fraser River, roughly 10 km north of Hell's Gate. The gold-rush camp bloomed near the Nlaka'pamux (Thompson) village of, or Koia'um—further variations for the name of this village appear in the despatches, for example, Qua-yome, Quayome, and Quaiome.1
    Boston Bar was called “Boston Men”, whcih became the local First Nation term for American miners who flocked to the area, rapacious for gold, which was, according to Murdoch, Thomas William Clinton and Rogers, Baron Blachford Frederic to Merivale, Herman 7 February 1860, CO 60:9, no. 1299, 58, in abundance in the region: 71 ozs of gold dust had been taken out of a claim at Boston Bar near Fort Yale, by three men, in 24 hours.2
    Mentions of this place in the documents
    Boulder Creek (unavailable)
    Information is not yet available for this place.
    Mentions of this place in the documents
    Boundary BayMap
    Boundary Bay draws its name from the position it represents: it straddles the boundary between Canada and the United States, with its southernmost Canadian point near the city of White Rock and its northwestern point at Point Roberts.
    In 1792, the Spanish explorers Alcalá-Galiano and Valdez named this bay Ensenada del Engaño, Gulf of Deception, likely in answer to the bay's shallowness.1
    • 1. Andrew Scott, The Encyclopedia of Raincoast Place Names (Madeira Park, BC: Harbour Publishing, 2009), 81.
    Mentions of this place in the documents
    Bowron RiverMap
    This river, to the east of Prince George, in the Cariboo region, flows into the Fraser River and, on early maps, was known as Bear River.1 Bancroft notes that a number of miners prospected the head-waters of Bear River, and there developed rich ground—a bounty mentioned this 1861 report by Douglas, which recounts reports of some wonderfully rich discoveries on Bear River, a stream which discharges into the south branch of Fraser's River above Fort George.2
    This river, and other features in the surrounding region, draws a name from John Bowron (1837-1906), a Quebec-born “Overlander” who trekked to the Cariboo in search of gold, but soon became Camerontown's librarian, in 1864, then a postmaster at Barkerville in 1866, a mining recorder in 1872, a government agent in 1875, and a gold commissioner in 1883, from which he retired in 1905.3
    • 1. Bowron River, BC Geographical Names Information System.
    • 2. Hubert Howe Bancroft, The Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft, vol. 32, History of British Columbia 1792-1887 (San Francisco: The History Company, 1887), 479.
    • 3. G. P. V. Akrigg and H. B. Akrigg, British Columbia Place Names (Vancouver: UBC Press, 1997), 26.
    Mentions of this place in the documents
    Bridge RiverMap
    Bridge River flows southeast into the Fraser River, just north of Lillooet. Local First Nations, likely St'át'imc, built a toll bridge across the river's mouth during the height of the Fraser River gold rush; mining continued there well after the rush, in various locations along the river, until the final mine closure in 1971.1
    Mentions of this place in the documents
    Bristol is a city located in south-west England, 120 miles from London, and is part of the county of Gloucestershire. The city was founded in 1155. Bristol was a centre for trade due to its sea port; sugar and cotton were processed in the city and sold to the Americas.1
    • 1. The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, Bristol, Encyclopaedia Britannica.
    Mentions of this place in the documents
    British BarMap
    British Bar was another of the gold-yielding bars along the Fraser River, and was located roughly 8 km south of Quesnel.
    In this despatch, Douglas writes that there will be employment on this bar for more than a hundred men, and that it will not be exhausted in less than two or three years.
    The above geocoordinates are a rough estimate based on directions given in the despatch noted above.
    Mentions of this place in the documents
    British ColumbiaMap
    British Columbia is the westernmost province in Canada, with the State of Alaska and the Northwest Territory and the Yukon on its northern border, and the United States to its southern border; it is Canada's third largest province, after Québec and Ontario, at nearly 950,000 square km.1 British Columbia confederated after much debate, as discussed below, in 1871.
    From 1792-94 Captain George Vancouver named various parts of what we know of today as British Columbia: he charted Vancouver Island as Quadra and Vancouver's Island, and the coasts of present-day northern Washington State and southern British Columbia as New Georgia, he then gave the name New Hanover to the central and northern coast, none of which took cartographic root for long.2 However, another captain in 1792, Robert Gray, named the Columbia River after his ship of the same name, and in subsequent decades the land around the river soon absorbed the mantle to become the Columbia District,3 for the British, at least, as the United States considered much of the same region as Oregon Country, or Territory.4
    In 1858, Queen Victoria wrote in agreement to Lytton's earlier letter that eschewed New Caledonia as a suitable title, as the French had claimed a colony in the same name, and she offered British Columbia as the best choice, a designation proclaimed officially at Fort Langley on November 19, 1858.5 In this despatch to London, Douglas reports on, among other things, his arrival to Fort Langley to proclaim the Act of Parliament providing for the Government of British Columbia, a ceremony that was performed at Fort Langley with becoming solemnity on the 19th inst.
    The first and Indigenous peoples to settle within the province's current boundaries may have done so after the last Ice Age, with settlements dated back 6000-8000 years,6 though recent studies on the subject reveal a much earlier date range for human presence, at 16,800-14,850 years ago.7
    Hayes considers it a near certainty that Japanese or Chinese sailors plied the northwest coast long before Europeans; to support this, he cites, among other things, a traditional Chinese tale that, in 219 BC, a junk sent for Japan was forced by incessant storms to a land the lost sailors would call Fu-sang, or Fousang—a Northwest Coast location noted on several European maps as late as the mid-eighteenth century.8 The earliest European presence could go back to the legend of Juan de Fuca's purported visit to the presently named Juan de Fuca Strait, in the early 1590s.9 However, throughout the mid-to-late 1700s, European exploration of the Pacific Northwest increased steadily, largely due to growing political competition between Russia and Spain—for example, the latter nation ordered Juan Pérez to the northwest Pacific, in 1773, in answer to a perceived Russian threat.10
    British Columbia joined the Dominion of Canada as a province on July 20th, 1871, following a debate as rich and controversial as the colony's storied past, much of which can be discovered on this, The Colonial Despatches, database and website. Throughout the period covered by the same, from 1846-1871, the borders that would demarcate the province, as it is appears today, shifted for a variety of economic and political reasons, and through several salient treaties and resolutions, among which was the Hudson's Bay Company and North-West Companies' licence of exclusive trade with the Indigenous population, in 1821, which was renewed, albeit in edited form, in 1838.11
    The Treaty Establishing Boundary West of the Rocky Mountains, more simply known as the Treaty of 1846, ratified that the divide between the United States and Great Britain's territories, long tussled over for trade and settlement, should be continued westward along the said forty-ninth parallel of north latitude to the middle of the channel which separates the continent from Vancouver's Island; and thence southerly through the middle of the said channel, and of Fuca's Straits, to the Pacific Ocean.12 Unfortunately, the middle of the channel would prove to be an equivocal clause.
    Douglas argues, in this despatch, that Rosario Strait is the true channel through which the line of Water Boundary was intended to be carried, and not the Canal de Haro, one of the alternative interpretations of the clause.13 This dispute would catalyze already combustive border tensions to a flash-point on San Juan Island, during the so-called Pig War, which began in 1859 when Lyman A. Cutler shot dead a hog, owned by the HBC, that had raided his garden.14 The matter escalated rapidly into very dire military posturing on both sides, until the boundary was at last arbitrated in Berlin by Emperor Wilhelm I, and on October 21, 1872, the Haro Straight was chosen as the middle of the channel.15
    Both British and United States survey teams took six years, from 1857-62, to mark independently the 49th parallel on mainland British Columbia, a line made ever more ethereal by lost official reports on both sides, measurement discrepancies, and limitations of the survey equipment at the time.16 Initially, a mean line was drawn between the two borders, much to the confusion of local settlers, no doubt, until the boundary was surveyed again from 1901-1907, and was found to be hundreds of meters north of its intended mark.17 In 1908, a new Treaty of Washington was ratified to provide for the more complete definition and demarcation of the international boundary between the United States and the Dominion of Canada.18
    • 1. J. Lewis Robinson, British Columbia, The Canadian Encyclopedia.
    • 2. G. P. V. Akrigg and H. B. Akrigg, British Columbia Place Names (Vancouver: UBC Press, 1997), 29.
    • 3. Ibid.
    • 4. D. W. Meinig, The Great Columbia Plain (Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 1968), 104-05.
    • 5. Akrigg and Akrigg, British Columbia Place Names, 29-30.
    • 6. Robinson, British Columbia.
    • 7. Theodore G. Shurr, The Peopling of the New World: Perspectives from Molecular Anthropology, Annual Review of Anthropology 33 (2004): 552.
    • 8. Derek Hayes, Historical Atlas of British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest (Vancouver: Cavendish Books, 1999), 9.
    • 9. Ibid., 16.
    • 10. Ibid., 35.
    • 11. E. O. S. Scholefield, British Columbia from the Earliest Times to the Present, vol. 1, 1875-1919 (Vancouver: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1914), 669-71 and 672-75.
    • 12. Ibid., 675.
    • 13. Hubert Howe Bancroft, The Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft, vol. 32, History of British Columbia 1792-1887 (San Francisco: The History Company, 1887), 606.
    • 14. Ibid., 616.
    • 15. Ibid., 638.
    • 16. Hayes, Historical Atlas of British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest, 150.
    • 17. Ibid.
    • 18. International Boundary Commission, Joint Report upon the Survey and Demarcation of the Boundary Between the United States and Canada (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1921), 9.
    Mentions of this place in the documents