- As Canada expanded west, the US-Canada border west of Lake of the Woods was firm at the 49th parallel. This boundary ended at the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains.
- Russia had claimed the west coast as far south as Northern Vancouver Island.
- The Americans claimed the Oregon Territory on the western side of the Rocky Mountains as far north as Fort Simpson and the Queen Charlotte Islands.
- The Hudson's Bay Company saw this land as an extension of Rupert's Land.
- HBC did not want to encourage settlement of the area as it might interfere with the fur trade or undermine the HBC's trade monopoly.
- The American population was growing rapidly and it seemed that the US would control all of North America. This was an idea promoted by Manifest Destiny.
Manifest Destiny: The 19th-century political and philosophical belief that it was America's divinely assigned mission to expand westward across the North American continent and to establish democratic and Protestant ideals.
|Manifest Destiny - the long held belief that white Americans had a God-given right to occupy the entire North American continent.|
- Americans had an aggressive policy set on control of the Oregon Territory in which settlers were strongly encouraged to move into the area.
- Two British employees of the HBC were crucial in maintaining British Columbia as British territory.
- George Simpson was named governor of the expanded HBC in 1826.
- Simpson toured British Columbia and then created Fort Vancouver close to where Portland, Oregon is today.
- He also established Fort Langley which still exists today as the city of Langley.
- Fort Vancouver was placed under the direction of Chief Factor John McLoughlin.
- Simpson and McLoughlin differed on how to deal with the American settlers - Simpson wanted them to be treated harshly however McLoughlin encouraged Americans to go south of the Columbia by offering money and supplies.
- HBC also struggled with the Russians in the north who had established fur-trading posts in Alaska.
- In 1939 HBC and the Russians agreed that the Russians would stop operating south of 54 40' N and the HBC would supply the Russian posts in Alaska with food.
- HBC provided a steamship, the SS Beaver, in 1835 to provide service to the Russian posts and to trade with the Northwest Coast peoples.
- In 1841 Simpson decided to close all the west coast forts with the exception of Fort Simpson as the fur trade was not growing as he had hoped.
- McLoughlin was furious as he saw all his hard work go down the drain. Also, when his son was killed at Fort Stikine and Simpson recommended the charge of "justifiable homicide" McLoughlin developed an all out hatred for Simpson.
- Simpson was alarmed and fearful that the HBC would lose control of the territory.
- He ordered James Douglas to establish Fort Victoria on Vancouver Island.
- In the mid-1840s the US wanted to expand their western territory.
- In 1844, James Polk, a Democratic candidate for president, ran on the platform "54 40' or fight". This meant the US would claim the Oregon Territory up to the parallel 54 40'N.
- Polk won the presidency but did not really want to enter into a war with the British.
- When the British refused to give up on the territory, the border on the 49th parallel was extended to the west coast with the exception of Vancouver Island.
- In 1848 the British government established the Crown colony of Vancouver Island and gave the HBC a trading monopoly there.
- James Douglas was named first governor.
|James Douglas leaving Fort Langley|
|Fort Victoria - 1855|