Event Title

Crossing the border in 1858: Gold Rush routes from Washington to the Fraser and Thompson Rivers

Description

The discovery of gold along the Thompson and Fraser rivers in 1857 caused a stampede of thousands of miners into what became, by November 1858, the colony of British Columbia. As well as the Fraser River, several overland routes from Washington Territory were taken to the goldfields, including the Whatcom Trail, Semiahmoo Trail, and the Similkameen, Okanagan, and Columbia river valleys. James Douglas, governor of Vancouver Island and chief factor of the Hudson's Bay Company, and the nearest de facto representative of the Imperial Crown, proclaimed that miners were required to obtain a license upon entry to the gold region, although some of the routes allowed miners, for a time, to circumvent British customs and fees. Douglas' response to this influx was aided by the resistance of First Nations and the role of the HBC in selling supplies to miners. Both British and American officials and entrepreneurs tried to capitalize from the trans-boundary traffic. Using archival and newspaper sources, this study traces the use of cross-border routes along the 49th parallel in 1858, focusing on routes from Whatcom County, and analyzes the intervention by the HBC and colonial authorities to control the movements of miners. New research sheds light on the gold rush geography of the British-American frontier.

Start Date

8-3-2008 8:00 AM

End Date

8-3-2008 5:00 PM

Subject - LCSH

Fraser River Valley (B.C.)--Gold discoveries; Thompson River (B.C.)--Gold discoveries; Gold mines and mining--British Columba--History; Canada--Boundaries--United States; United States--Boundaries--Canada

Subjects - Names (LCNAF)

Hudson's Bay Company

Geographic Coverage

Whatcom County (Wash.); British Columbia; Fraser River Valley (B.C.); Thompson River (B.C.); Canada; United States

Genre/Form

Abstracts

Session

Borderlands in the Northwest: Case Studies

Rights

Copying of this document in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this document for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author's written permission.

Digital Format

application/pdf

Language

English

Type

event

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Mar 8th, 8:00 AM Mar 8th, 5:00 PM

Crossing the border in 1858: Gold Rush routes from Washington to the Fraser and Thompson Rivers

The discovery of gold along the Thompson and Fraser rivers in 1857 caused a stampede of thousands of miners into what became, by November 1858, the colony of British Columbia. As well as the Fraser River, several overland routes from Washington Territory were taken to the goldfields, including the Whatcom Trail, Semiahmoo Trail, and the Similkameen, Okanagan, and Columbia river valleys. James Douglas, governor of Vancouver Island and chief factor of the Hudson's Bay Company, and the nearest de facto representative of the Imperial Crown, proclaimed that miners were required to obtain a license upon entry to the gold region, although some of the routes allowed miners, for a time, to circumvent British customs and fees. Douglas' response to this influx was aided by the resistance of First Nations and the role of the HBC in selling supplies to miners. Both British and American officials and entrepreneurs tried to capitalize from the trans-boundary traffic. Using archival and newspaper sources, this study traces the use of cross-border routes along the 49th parallel in 1858, focusing on routes from Whatcom County, and analyzes the intervention by the HBC and colonial authorities to control the movements of miners. New research sheds light on the gold rush geography of the British-American frontier.