The Vancouver Public Library has extensive primary and secondary resources on the history of British Columbia. This guide is designed to help you begin your research on this topic and use library resources effectively.
The BC Archives is the archives of the Government of British Columbia, and provides research access to records of enduring value to the province for both the provincial government and public researchers.
The library at the Maritime holds a large and various amount of research materials related to all aspects of maritime studies. Some of the collection highlights include the first editions of the Cook and Vancouver volumes published in 1785 and 1798.
Museum of Anthropology, a place of world arts and cultures with a special emphasis on the First Nations peoples and other cultural communities of British Columbia, Canada. The Museum is built on traditional, ancestral, unceded land of the Musqueam people and it is fitting that the first artworks and words you encounter outside the Museum are a welcome from our generous First Nations hosts.
As the primary local repository for maritime history, the Vancouver Maritime Museum houses over 15 000 objects and 100 000 images either in storage or on exhibit. Our holdings reflect the city’s long connection with Vancouver, the Pacific Northwest and the Arctic, and the collection represents European, Asian, North American and First Nations sources.
Northwest History Index
This card index in Special Collection provides access to the Northwest History Collection, a heritage collection covering the early history and exploration of British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest.
The collection includes:
magazine and newspaper articles
chapters in books
many other resources
As of August 1998, no new material has been added to the Northwest History Index. It is continued by the British Columbia Index.
The oral histories of coastal Indigenous groups of British Columbia have long told of a massive earthquake and tsunami in early 1700, devastating the coast and its inhabitants. The painting above by Tsimshian artist Bill Helin depicts this event.
The 1700's marked a period of European exploration and contact with coastal Indigenous groups.
By the 1740's, Russians had begun trading on the B.C. coast.
In 1778, British explorer Captain James Cook became the first European to set foot in British Columbia on his third expedition to the Pacific.
During this time, Spanish explorers Perez and Quadra were also exploring the coast. A fort was built in Nootka Sound.
In 1776, a devastating small pox epidemic hit Indigenous communities, other epidemics followed.
In 1793, Alexander MacKenzie became the first European to cross North America overland.
This book gathers the early recorded histories and personal accounts left by Chinese seafarers, Spanish and British naval officers, traders seeking sea otter pelts, colonial surveyors, as well as soldiers, settlers, and other adventurers, starting from many centuries ago.
The history of the Pacific Northwest from the perspective of French Canadians involved in the fur economy, the Indigenous women whose presence in their lives encouraged them to stay, and their descendants.
In the late 1970s an archaeological team was sent into a remote region of British Columbia to document the Nuxalk-Carrier Grease Trail--part of explorer Alexander Mackenzie's 18th-century crossing of North America.