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A History of British Columbia
By R E Gosnell (1906)


Writing history is a serious undertaking, and not to be thought of without long preparation and minute and scrupulous investigation. If a person qualified for the task should devote ten or fifteen years exclusively to it he might produce a work that would deserve to stand for the West as Parkman stands for the East. What follows, therefore, does not partake of the dignity of history. It is merely an outline of events and conditions prominent in the past of British Columbia from the very outset. Lack of time, if there were no other considerations, would have prevented me from going so deeply, and in detail, into the circumstances connected with the history of the province as would have been desirable for the purpose and otherwise have been possible. As it is, with the assistance of friends, I have been enabled to present to the reader a certain chain of facts which have never before been presented in the same connected form. These have been grouped so as to leave a more distinct impression of their order .and importance. There is not much that is new to the student, except, perhaps, the arrangement. Regarding a country about which so much has been written in a desultory way, it is difficult to more than collate and summarize, without, as I have intimated, delving for years among the original sources of our information. Hubert Howe Bancroft's History of British Columbia, though characterized by many imperfections, performed a splendid service, and indicated by innumerable references much that will be exceedingly useful for the real historian when he appears upon the scene. With a wealth of original material at his disposal, however, his own use and treatment of it were not historical in that sense in which the great Bancroft excelled. The late Alexander Begg, with his conspicuous industry, compiled a history of this province that is valuable in many respects, but obviously lacking in workmanship, analytical skill and insight.

To avoid comparisons, I make no pretensions to have done more than is set out in the foregoing, and that, I am aware, imperfectly. It is simply a narrative, or succession of narratives, that a journalist familiar with an outline of the events described, might have contributed to a magazine in order to convey a general impression of the past, and prepare the reader for a keener appreciation of a more pretentious work with the details faithfully and artistically filled in.



Chapter I
Early Explorations
Chapter II
English Buccaneers
Chapter III
Later Explorers
Chapter IV
Land Expeditions and their Outcome
Chapter V
International Questions
Chapter VI
Fur Traders and Gold Seekers
Chapter VII
A Political Outline
Chapter VIII
Organization of the Mainland
Chapter IX
Union of the Colonies
Chapter X
British Columbia and the Canadian Pacific Railway
Chapter XI
Governors and Lieutenant Governors of British Columbia
Chapter XII
Material Resources
Appendices (pdf)
Biographies (pdf)

Other Information

Picturesque British Columbia (pdf)
Book of black and white images which are actually pretty good but it would have been nice to have had some colour ones.
Picture BC
This is a site where you can explore pictures and videos of BC.
Year Book of British Columbia 1903
For those doing a study on British Columbia this book does shed some interesting light on the Province.
Alastair's Travels in British Columbia
I spent a couple of months in BC, mostly in the Kimberly area, and documented my time there.
The Cariboo Trail
A Chronicle of the Gold-fields of British Columbia by Agnes C. Laut. (1916) (pdf)

There is also a collection of videos about the history of BC on YouTube which you can view here.

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