Unification of Colonial British Columbia with the Confederation of Canada_edited

Essay by MCViperHigh School, 11th gradeA, February 2009

download word file, 7 pages 5.0


The Confederation of Canada, beginning in 1867, was a progressive unification of British North American colonies. By 1870, there were already seven provinces in the Dominion of Canada. British Columbia's decision to join the Confederation of Canada was due to a combination of the colony's economic and political needs rather than an amorous bond. In the late 1860's, there were generally three choices for the British colony of British Columbia: to remain as a British colony, to be annexed to the United States of America, or to become part of the Confederation of Canada. There were four key factors that led British Columbia to join the Confederation. First, the Confederation offered to absorb British Columbia of all its debts. They promised British Columbians a "responsible government" that would correctly and democratically represent the people. The U.S.'s lack of interest towards B.C. resulted in minimal support for annexation.

And finally, the overall economic problems of the British Empire held them back from fully supporting their West Coast colony. Despite British Columbia's apathy towards the Canadian Confederation, the Confederation offered them the best option, thus winning their support.

In 1858, the discovery of gold along the Fraser River brought thousands of miners and economic prosperity to the Fraser River area. Higher tax revenue, sales of prospecting equipment, and the increase of food demands and supplies all lead to a period of steady growth of economy. James Douglas, the then Governor of B.C. borrowed vast amounts of money using the gold revenue to expand roads, bridges, communities, and government services along the Fraser River area and the appearance of numerous towns began to change rapidly. For example, 223 buildings within six weeks and land values sky-rocketed. B.C. was dependant on an increasing export of gold. However, this period of...