The BC Gold Rush had profound effects on BC. Without it happening, we might have become just another part of the US. Even thought parts of eastern Canada had been settled for 250 years, British Columbia was not included on maps. The Gold Rush brought so many people here, they didn’t have a reason not to put it on maps.
There are many different claims from people who want to be known as the person who first found gold in BC. Some say that natives traded gold dust since 1852. Others say that Donald Mclean sent two pint-sized pickle bottles full of gold back to James Douglas, an HBC chief factor. James Houston claimed he was the discoverer of gold in British Columbia. His story was that in 1854, he found gold near where the Tranquille Lake empties into the Thompson River. He had sent the gold to Governor Douglas, and Mr. Houston claims it was the first indication that officer had of the existence of gold on the Mainland. And one of Governor Douglas’s journals said that says: “Gold was first found on the Thompson River by a [Native] a quarter of a mile below Nicomen. He is since dead. The [Native] was taking a drink out of the river; having no vessel he was quaffing from the stream when he perceived a shining pebble which he picked up, and it proved to be gold. The whole tribe forthwith began to collect the glittering metal. This was likely in 1856.”
In 1857, Governor Douglas made a prediction. He saw that the Couteau mines in the Thompson-Fraser River area were exciting the population of the United States of Washington and Oregon. He knew that many people from these territories would be arriving in the spring. His prediction soon came true because of the HBC. The Natives had mined around 800 ounces of gold, which they traded to the HBC. Because gold had no use in its raw state, they shipped it off to the nearest mint, in San Francisco. It was sent on the steamship Otter. Word travelled fast, and a forefront of prospectors arrived on the Fraser River. The people of Oregon and California saw the rich pay from the gold mines up north. They loved the idea of “get rich quick!”
Miners came from around the world; from Germany, Scotland, England, and even from China. Many arrived from San Francisco after the California Gold Rush left them disheartened. They travelled on crowded, unsafe ships that had been brought back from the scrap yard so the companies could cash in on the huge amount of business they would be getting from the increase of people travelling to BC. But people also came from other parts of Canada. A group of 150 men, 1 pregnant woman, and 3 kids left Fort Garry on Red River Carts pulled by ox. Most of the survivors from the cross-country journey didn’t even go to the goldfields after arriving in Victoria. They were happy with the smallest amount of...