British Columbia includes, more or less, OTL British Columbia, Yukon, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain claimed the territories of British Columbia in 1797, where a treaty was signed with Spain defining the limits between the Oregon Territory and California.
The Oregon territory was also claimed by the United States of America, who, after the war of 1812, was granted all territories south of the 49 degrees parallel.
In 1858, Great Britain united the colony of Vancouver Island with that of mainland British Columbia, with the colonial capital being Victoria on southern Vancouver Island. By 1860, both Britain and the United States had colonized a great deal of their respective territories at each side of the parallel on the main land, while they enjoyed some unofficial accommodation on the islands off shore.
This unofficial accommodation, however, broke in a series of incidents, which provoked greater involvement of both American and British forces, until, in May 1862, the USA officially declared war against the United Kingdom, already in a war in Europe.
The Royal Navy was far more effective than the US Navy and the US Army in controlling the territories in the Pacific, and from the Royal Naval base in Esquimalt on Vancouver Island, quickly imposed British control on the coastline and effectively cut off marine support to Puget Sound and the Columbia River. The US Army was hampered by the difficulty of transport along the length of the Oregon Trail.
During the war, gold was discovered in the Cariboo region of central British Columbia, leading to a large influx of hopeful goldseekers and a significant increase in the colonial coffers.
By 1867, Britain had effective military control of the Oregon Territory, or at least, all the ports. Under the terms of the Treaty of London signed that year, the USA relinquished all claims on the Oregon Territory in exchange for the British Caribbean to become American and for Canada to become independent.
In 1871, Canada, Britain, and British Columbia negotiated the possibility of BC's entry into Canadian confederation, but the plan did not go forward when the Canadian government was unwilling to promise a transcontinental railway to seal the deal. Britain was also determined to maintain her presence in the Pacific.
In 1872, the United Kingdom purchased Alaska from Russia, and from Victoria, the British organized the whole region (Alaska, British Columbia and Oregon) as one entity. When gold was again discovered in the 1890s (this time in the Yukon and Alaskan regions), the British and colonial British Columbian governments zealously maintained the rule of British law, enforced by the Royal British Columbia Mounted Police—most senior officers were veterans of the colonial regiments raised during the Great War.
Throughout the nineteenth and until the last quarter of the twentieth century, logging, mining, and fisheries were BC's primary industries. A shipbuilding industry flourished during the latter half of the nineteenth century, building sailing vessals for Pacific trade. In recent years, British Columbia has become a major "eco-tourism" destination, particularly for Californians.
British Columbia, including Alaska and Oregon, was granted independence as a dominion in 1935. Thereafter, under British Columbian law, the British monarch has been styled "King (or Queen) of British Columbia," represented by a governor general.
British Columbia is divided in 12 provinces.
- The Aleutians
- Prince George
- New Westminster
- Vancouver Island (including the islands of the Gulf of Georgia and Puget Sound)
Capital: Victoria. Other regional centres include New Westminster, Seattle, Fort Vancouver, Portland, Boise, Fort George, and Sitka.