British Columbia, as we know it to-day, has had an organic existence only since the year 1859, or, at the earliest, if we include the colony of Vancouver Island, since 1849. Its history, therefore, as Crown colony and province of the Dominion of Canada, is contemporary with the lives of many still living. In a previous era, however, the region had bulked large in the annals of the fur trade; and in a period still more remote it was a part of the romantic story of the conquest of the Pacific. If, therefore, we would penetrate beyond results to ultimate causes, to see the community in its making and the material which the most active of its makers found to his hand, as well as the development which sprang from that beginning, we should find that the inquiry, notwithstanding the remoteness of the region from the political life of the continent with which we are most familiar, and the recent date at which its organization was effected, leads far into the past. We must begin, indeed, if we would trace the stream of western history to its source, with a time almost coeval with the earliest European knowledge of America and but little subsequent to the landing of Columbus on its eastern shores.