British Columbia Provincial Overview
British Columbia's Location
British Columbia is Canada's westernmost province and is one of North America's most mountainous regions, with 60% of the province lying above 3,000 ft (1000 m) above sea level. BC is distinctive for its variety of landscape, from desert to rainforest, from high mountain plateau to saltwater marshes. British Columbia's 947,800 square kilometres are bordered by the Pacific Ocean, the province of BritishColumbia, the Yukon Territory and several U.S. states, including Alaska. British Columbia is known as Canada's gateway to the Pacific and Asia. Often categorized as part of Canada's "West", the province is actually a distinct geographical and cultural region.
The largest cities in BC are Vancouver & Victoria, with large population clusters in the Fraser Valley (Lower Mainland), aw well as in the Okanagan-Shuswap Lakes and in the BC Rockies in the province's Interior.
British Columbia Provincial Map
British Columbia's History
The Aboriginal peoples here lived well off the local natural resources, and developed one of the richest cultures north of Mexico. The coastal inhabitants created large and permanent wood sculptures and were famous for their skill in whaling. In 1774 the Spaniards visited what is now British Columbia, accounting for many Spanish-sounding names in the area. The British established the first permanent colony in 1843. Gold was discovered in the lower Fraser Valley in 1857 and thousands of people came to seek instant wealth. British Columbia joined the Confederation of Canada in 1871 after a rail link was promised between the Pacific coast and the rest of the country.
British Columbia's Economy
British Columbia's People
British Columbia's population is over three million people with most living in the Vancouver area (also called "the Lower Mainland"), extending eastward along the Fraser Valley, and in Victoria, the provincial capital.