Rival Cities: Victoria, Fort Langley and New Westminster

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Question:This essay will discuss the debate of "Why the capital of British Columbia relocated from New Westminster to Victoria?" And, with this debate "Was Sir James Douglas responsible for the capital of B.C. relocating to Victoria?"Thesis Statement:This essay will explore who were the possible contenders for the title "capital city" in British Columbia, examine the history of New Westminster, Fort Langley and Victoria. Also, this essay will explore and show that geography and economics were influential factors when the decision was finally awarded to Victoria.

Rival CitiesVictoria - New Westminster- Fort Langley"This student hereby formally requests the History Department to formally request the S President of this University College, to petition the Premier of B.C., to reinstate the original i capital of British Columbia back to New Westminster." As ridiculous as this statement is, it is i an accurate reflection of an event that actually happened in the mid 1800's when the New Westminster Legislature put a motion from the floor to discuss the assignation of the capital of B.C. There were several men responsible for the development the British Colony: Victoria, under the leadership of James Douglas, Fort Langley under the leadership of Governor Simpson and the future development of the capital of British Columbia, New Westminster. Why was Victoria the best choice? Why is there controversy surrounding the capital of British Columbia? A historical perspective will determine why Victoria was ultimately the best choice and will consider the other contenders. This essay will examine the history of New Westminster, Fort Langley and Victoria as possible contenders for the title of "Capital City" and, will also discuss the geographical development, how the economy contributed to the decision to finally award that . honor to Victoria. Is Governor James Douglas responsible for the capital of British Columbia moving to Victoria?In order to understand the issues surrounding the choice of a capital, it is necessary to review the beginning of the British Colony starting with Fort Langley. In 1827, a group of men left Fort Vancouver for the purpose of establishing a new post, which is known today as Fort Langley. By September of 1827, a rectangle fort measuring forty feet by forty-five feet was enclosed for those who remained behind to establish it. Governor Simpson gave Chief Factor McMillan a deserved rest and put a new person in charge, Chief Trader Archibald McDonald. Ford records reveal the prosperity enjoyed under McDonald's leadership: 91 bushels of potatoes were planted and harvest yielded two thousand bushels, seven thousand five hundred and forty-four salmon were harvested with the help of the Native Peoples and thousands of beaver pelts were obtained, James Murray Yale succeeded McDonald. The land surrounding the fort was cultivated for agricultural purposes and the herding of cattle, hi 1838, Governor Simpson wrote Yale and informed him that the fort would have to move for the convenience of continuing the fur and salmon trade and Yale was permitted to choose the best site. Trading arrangements were being made with the Russians in Alaska. In 1840 a fire broke out and the fort was destroyed. Chief Factor John McLoughlin sent his clerk, James Douglas, to help and included the needed tools to aid in the rebuilding of the fort. Currently, the tenure of the Hudson Bay Company was of concern to Simpson and he instructed Douglas to explore and secure an area that would accommodate a sea port. Thus, the city of Victoria was established in 1843. Life at Fort Langley slowed during the years 1847-1849 and then revived when the Gold Rush brought miners to the mainland. Governor Douglas was concerned about Law and Order, a possible threat of a war between the miners and the Natives, and the threat of the land being claimed by the Americans. Governor Douglas sent a request to Lord Lytton for military support, declared the mainland to...
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