Fraser River gold rush

May 5, 2017

Map of the Fraser River Valley in British Columbia, 1858

The New Eldorado — A Complete View of the Newly Discovered Goldfields in BNA, 1858. Library and Archives Canada, R9266-3470, Peter Winkworth Collection of Canadiana


In 1858, approximately 30,000 miners, many of them Americans, flocked to the shores of the Fraser River in search of gold. In response to this influx, Britain created the colony of British Columbia, formerly the mainland district of New Caledonia, so that British law and authority could be maintained in the region. The arrival of large numbers of miners resulted in numerous conflicts with local First Peoples, particularly the Salish and Chilcotin. The most productive diggings were in the lower Fraser Valley; miners who were not part of the dominant culture — notably Chinese miners, many of whom had arrived directly from Hong Kong — established diggings in more remote locations beyond Yale.

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