A Digital Treasure Trove

Posted by Daniel on Dec 12, 2008

Anyone interested in the early history of British Columbia should be aware of a new online treasure trove of documents relating to the creation of the mainland colony in 1858, http://bcgenesis.uvic.ca/. Researchers at the University of Victoria have placed on line a digital archive containing the correspondence between British colonial authorities in London and the governors in the colonies of Vancouver Island and BC prior to Confederation in 1871. Also included is a wealth of other documents related to the colonial period.

This might sound like dry stuff of interest only to the expert. In fact, the archive contains all kinds of information that illuminates the daily life of settlers and First Nations people.

The archive rests on the foundation of work done in the 1980s by UVic historian Dr. James Hendrickson. For the moment, only the 1858 documents are available. Eventually the entire set of colonial dispatches 1846-1871 will be accessible. One of the most interesting parts of the collection is the introduction by Dr. Hendrickson, a very useful history of the colonies at the time of the gold rush.

Check it out.