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 3: Introduce the main contributing factors

Distribute copies of the briefing sheet, "#3 Factors in the Creation of the Colony of British Columbia. Ask students to read the four suggested reasons for creating the colony. Invite students to suggest other causes to include on the list. Explain to students that they will examine various primary and secondary sources about the creation of the Colony of British Columbia in order to rank order these four (and other) causes from most important to least important.

Before proceeding, introduce students to the following criteria for assessing the importance of a cause in bringing about an event.

  • Evidence that the cause was consistent or inconsistent with the broader values, ambitions and desires of key individuals and groups.
  • Directly stated evidence of group or individual support or opposition to the cause.
  • Indications that the cause made the event more likely or unlikely to happen.

Using the sample scenario of the car accident, invite students to locate evidence for the importance of various causal factors. For example, the attitudes of the local officials seem to be a significant factor in the poor road conditions, and the explicit suggestion by local residents supports the idea that lax enforcement of liquor laws was a factor.

Model the first step of analysis of the primary and secondary documents found in #4 Core Documents: What Were the Real Reasons for Creating the Colony of British Columbia? using Document #9 as an example. Distribute a copy of this document to each student or display a copy for the class to see. Begin by inviting students to use the questions on the activity sheet, #5 Reading Around a Document, to develop an overall sense of the document. Illustrate what is involved in this task using the sample answers for Document #9 found on #6 Sample: Reading Around a Document. Explain the need to identify details from the text (find evidence) to support a response that may involve drawing inferences. Direct student’s attention to the introductory description of the author and the citation after the text as sources of information about the document. Discuss their answers as a class.

Model the second step of the analysis with the entire class using Document #9. Provide copies of the activity sheet, #7 Identifying Evidence about Causes, to guide students. Direct them to look for evidence that suggests whether or not each proposed cause was a factor and then rate how important it may have been to the creation of the Colony of British Columbia. A sample analysis of Document #9 is found in #8 Sample: Identifying Evidence about Causes.

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Suggested Activities