British Columbia

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The most westerly province of Canada. Its capital is Victoria. Its largest city is Vancouver. It was the sixth province to join the confederation of Canada.

British Columbia started as two British colonies, Vancouver Island and New Caledonia. The colony of Vancouver Island was created in 1849 and later merged with New Caledonia, which was created in 1858, in 1866. The two colonies agreed upon the name British Columbia for the newly created political region.

The Cariboo region (middle interior) of British Columbia, then New Caledonia, experienced a gold rush in the years of 1862-1865. This created a rapid influx of miners and settlers, about 30,000 in all.

Several factors played in the decision of British Columbia to join the Dominion of Canada in 1871. These were the fear of annexation into the United States, the overwhelming debt created by rapid population growth and the need for government-funded services to support this population, and the end of the gold rush creating a slight economic depression.

The decision to join Canada was made largely because the Canadian government offered to link British Columbia to the more settled parts of Canada via the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Canadian government's offer to pay off the $1,000,000 British Columbian debt.

On July 20, 1871 British Columbia became a member of the Dominion of Canada.

The Okanagan region is the premiere wine growing region in Canada. Initially favouring the German varietals, the area is now producing fine Marchel Foche's, and with time other powerful reds. Small rural towns Penticton, Oliver or Osoyoos provide hospitality to visitors from around the world.

See also: Canada, Canadian provinces and territories, Canadian cities

Government of British Columbia: http://www.gov.bc.ca/

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