BC Historical Timeline

10,500 BP The first inhabitants of British Columbia are living in the Peace River country in the north.
1778 Captain James Cook arrives in two ships on the west coast of Vancouver Island.
1785 The first ship arrives on the coast of British Columbia to trade for sea otter skins.
1792-94 Captain George Vancouver explores the coast.
1793 Alexander Mackenzie arrives at the Pacific after crossing North America by foot and canoe.
1805 Fur traders build the first trading post in British Columbia.
1808 Simon Fraser canoes to the mouth of the Fraser River.
1827 Fort Langley is built on the Fraser River.
1843 Fort Victoria, the headquarters of the fur trade in British Columbia, opens.
1849 The colony of Vancouver Island is created.
1850 The Haida on the Queen Charlotte Islands trade some gold nuggets with the Hudson's Bay Company, the first time gold is discovered in BC.
1856 Aboriginal people show gold nuggets to the trader at Fort Kamloops.
1858 First shipload of prospectors arrives in Victoria from San Francisco.
1858 The mainland of British Columbia becomes a separate colony.
1859 The townsite of New Westminster, capital of the new colony, is laid out by military surveyors.
1862 The town of Barkerville is founded in the Cariboo.
1862 Smallpox epidemic devastates Aboriginal population.
1865 The Cariboo Road reaches Barkerville.
1866 The colony on the mainland joins with Vancouver Island to become a single colony called British Columbia.
1868 The high point of the Cariboo gold rush has passed.
1871 The colony of British Columbia becomes a province of Canada.
1871 The first successful salmon cannery opens near the mouth of the Fraser River.
1880 Construction begins on the British Columbia section of the Canadian Pacific Railway.
1885 The Last Spike ceremony occurs at Craigellachie, completing the railway across the continent.
1885 The government bans the potlatch ceremony.
1886 The first train arrives in Vancouver across the continent from Montreal.
1886 The City of Vancouver is created.
1890 The first electric streetcars begin operation in Victoria.
1896 The smelter at Trail begins operation, treating ore from the mines at nearby Rossland. It grows to become the largest smelter in the world.
1898 A great fire destroys much of New Westminster.
1906 The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway begins clearing a site for the city of Prince Rupert.
1907 Rioters destroy property in Vancouver's Chinatown.
1912 Miners go on strike in Nanaimo coal mines; the strike lasts two years.
1913 Railway construction through Hell's Gate causes landslides that almost wipe out the Fraser River salmon run.
1914-18 The First World War rages in Europe.
1929 The stock market crash begins the Great Depression.
1932 The government begins setting up relief camps for single men without work.
1935 Unemployed protestors in BC begin the On-To-Ottawa Trek.
1938 Protest results in bloody violence in Vancouver streets.
1939 The Second World War begins.
1942 The government forces Japanese Canadians to leave their homes on the coast.
1945 The Second World War ends.
1951 The ban on the potlatch is withdrawn.
1952 The Social Credit Party wins its first election and W.A.C. Bennett becomes premier.
1958 British Columbia celebrates its 100th birthday.
1965 Simon Fraser University opens on a mountaintop in Burnaby.
1972 After 20 years as premier, Bennett loses an election to the NDP.
1986 Expo '86 attracts visitors from around the world to Vancouver.
1993 Summer of protest at Clayoquot Sound on Vancouver Island.
1998 Signing of the Nisga'a Agreement.
2003 Vancouver and Whistler win the competition to host the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.


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