Page:1902 Encyclopædia Britannica - Volume 26 - AUS-CHI.pdf/433

This page needs to be proofread.

BRITISH and removed in the same year to New York to practise his profession. He died in New York city on 22nd June 1890. British Columbia., the western province of the Dominion of Canada. It is bounded to the eastward by the continental watershed in the Rocky Mountains, until this, in its north-westerly course, intersects the 120th meridian of west longitude, which is followed north to the 60th parallel, thus including within the province a part of the Peace river country to the east of the mountains. The southern boundary is formed by the 49th parallel and the strait separating Vancouver Island from the state of Washington. The northern boundary is the 60th parallel, the western, the Pacific Ocean, upon which the province fronts for about 600 miles, and the coast strip of Alaska for a farther distance of 400 miles. British Columbia is essentially a mountainous country, comprising practically the entire width of what has been designated the Cordillera or Cordilleran belt of North America between the parallels of latitude above indicated, its area has as yet been very imperfectly mapped, and many different mountain ranges are recognized under local names ; but there are two ruling mountain systems, the Rocky Mountains proper on the north-east side and the coast ranges on the south-west or Pacific side. The general direction of all these ranges is fundamentally dependent upon successive foldings of the earth’s crust that have occurred parallel to the corresponding portion of the border of the Pacific Ocean, and their trend is therefore from south-east to north-west. Along the south-western side of the Rocky Mountains is a very remarkable valley of considerable geological antiquity, in which several of the great rivers of the Pacific slope flow for parts of their upper courses, including the Kootenay, Columbia, Fraser, and Finlay. This valley can be traced continuously for a length of at least 800 miles. (For further details as to the geology and physical geography of British Columbia, see the article on Canada.) One of the most important rivers of the province is the Fraser, which, rising in the Rocky Mountains, flows for a long distance to the north-west, and then turning south eventually crosses the coast ranges by a deep, canon-like valley and empties into the Strait of Georgia, a few miles south of the city of Vancouver. The Columbia, which rises farther south in the same range, flows north for about 150 miles, and then taking a short bend to. the west flows south through the Kootenay country into the United States, emptying into the Pacific near Portland in the state of Oregon. In the north-western part of the province the Skeena flows south-west into the Pacific, and still farther to the north the Stikine rises in British Columbia, but before entering the Pacific crosses the coast-strip of Alaska, of which the width has not yet been defined. The Liard, rising in the same district, flows east and falls into the Mackenzie, which empties into the Arctic Ocean. The head-waters of the Yukon are also situated in the northern part of the province. All these rivers are swift and are interrupted by rapids at frequent intervals, so that, as means of communication for commercial purposes, they are of indifferent value. Wherever lines of railway are constructed they lose whatever importance they may have held in this respect previously. At an early stage in the Glacial period British Columbia was covered by the Cordilleran glacier, which moved southeastwards and north-westwards, in correspondence with the ruling features of the country, from a gathering-ground situated in the vicinity of the 57th parallel. Ice from this glacier poured through passes in the coast ranges and to a lesser extent debouched upon the edge of the great plains, beyond the Rocky Mountain range. The great



valley between the coast ranges and Vancouver Island was also occupied by a glacier that moved in both directions from a central point in the vicinity of Valdez Island. The effects of this glacial action and of the long periods of erosion preceding it and of other physiographic changes connected with its passing away, have most important bearings on the distribution and character of the goldbearing alluviums of the province. History.—The discovery of British Columbia was made by the Spaniard Perez in 1774. With Cook’s visit the geographical exploration of the coast began in 1778. Vancouver, in 1792-94, surveyed almost the entire coast of British Columbia with much of that to the north and south, for the British Government. The interior, about the same time, was entered by Mackenzie and traders of the N.W. Company, which at a later date became amalgamated with the Hudson Bay Company. In 1859, consequent on the discovery of gold and the large influx of miners, the mainland territory was erected into a separate colony under the name of British Columbia, and in 1866 this was united with Vancouver Island, under the same name. In 1859 some extension of responsible government was given to the colonies, and in 1871 British Columbia entered confederation and became part of the Dominion of Canada, sending three senators and six members of the House of Commons to the federal parliament. One of the conditions under which the colony entered the Dominion was the speedy construction of the Canadian Pacific railway, and in 1876 the non-fulfilment of this promise and the apparent indifference of the Government at Ottawa to the representations of British Columbia created strained relations, which were only ameliorated when the construction of a transcontinental road was begun. In subsequent years the founding of the city of Vancouver by the C.P.R., the establishment of the first Canadian steamship line to China and Japan, and that to Australia, together with the disputes with the United States on the subject of pelagic sealing, and the discovery of the Kootenay mining districts, have been the chief events in the history of the province. Arm and Population. —The area of British Columhia is 382,300 square miles, and its population by the census of 1891 was 98,173. Since that date this has been largely increased by the influx of miners and others, consequent upon the discovery of precious metals in the Kootenay, Columbia, and Atlin districts. Much of this is a floating population, but the opening up of the valleys by railway and new lines of steamboats, together with the settlements made in the vicinity of the Canadian Pacific railway, has resulted in a considerable increase of the permanent population. The white population comprises men of many nationalities. There is a large Chinese population, the census of 1891 giving 9000, but since that date the number has greatly increased despite the tax of $50 per head on all Chinamen entering the seaports, and of late years many Japanese have also come in. The Japanese are as yet mainly in the towns, but the Chinese are found everywhere in the province. Great objection is taken by the white population to the increasing number of “Mongolians,” and legislative efforts have been made to hinder their competition with whites in the labour markets. The Japanese do not appear to be so much disliked, as they adapt themselves to the ways of white men, but they are equally objectionable on the score of cheap labour. The Indian population is returned at 24,973, that of the coast numbering 13,392 and of the interior 11,581. Of the total, 19,586 are professing Christians and 5387 pagans. The Indians are divided into very many tribes, under local names, but fall naturally on linguistic grounds into a few large groups. Thus the southern part of the interior is occupied by the Salish and Kootenay, and the northern interior by the Tinneh or Athapackan people. On the coast are the Haida, Tsimshian, Kwakiatl, Nootka, and about the Gulf of Georgia various tribes related to the Salish proper. There is no treaty with the Indians of British Columbia, as with those of the plains, for the relinquishment of their title to the land, but the Government otherwise assists them. There is an Indian superintendent at Victoria, and under him are nine agencies throughout the province to attend to the Indians—relieving their sick and destitute, supplying them with seed and implements, settling their disputes, and administering justice. The Indian