Grades: 5-12

  • British Columbia History
  • Pre-Confederation Canadian History
  • British North American Colonial History
  • Aboriginal History Pacific Northwest
Key Topics
  • The creation of the Colony of British Columbia
  • The Fraser Canyon and Cariboo Gold Rushes
  • Primary and secondary source analysis
  • Historical causation

Author: Lindsay Gibson
Editors: Roland Case, John Lutz and Jenny Clayton
Historical Researcher: Jenny Clayton, PhD, Department of History, University of Victoria
Developed by: The Critical Thinking Consortium (TC2)

What Were the Real Reasons for Creating the Colony of British Columbia?

Step 2: Set the historical context for determining causes

Before exploring key factors leading to creation of the Colony of British Columbia, use the ideas described above in the Introduction to explain to students the focus of the lesson and outline the activities they will undertake.

Reinforce the idea of historical causation while providing background about the history of the region by inviting students to consult the Colonial British Columbia Timeline to predict which events were major causes of the creation of British Columbia. Distribute copies of the four-page timeline to students. In small groups, instruct students to focus on the events between 1843 (the HBC transfers its southern base to Vancouver Island) and 1858 (England establishes the colony of British Columbia on the mainland). Ask students to decide whether or not each event during this period likely contributed to the creation of British Columbia and, if so, whether it was a major or minor factor. If students need more context to complete this task, use the briefing sheet, Colonial British Columbia Before the Gold Rush, as speaking notes to provide an historical overview, or invite students to read the background document aloud.

After students have discussed the events from 1843-1858, invite different groups to share their conclusions for each event. Encourage other members of the class to offer alternative suggestions about the role of particular events in the creation of the colony.

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Suggested Activities