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On March 11, 1950, the centenary of the founding of the colony of Vancouver Island, the first British colony on the western side of America, was celebrated. Richard Blanshard, the first Governor, reached his post by a voyage from England by way of the Isthmus of Panama. Sixty years almost to a day before Blanshard's arrival, the British Government had issued instructions for the founding of a colony on the coast of what is now British Columbia as a dependency of New South Wales, Australia. The first Governor was to have been an officer of the New South Wales Corps. Had these orders been carried out the boundary between Australia and Canada might now be at the continental divide, or perhaps even further east. The whole history of the Pacific Coast of North America might have been very different.
Idea of linking activity on the Northwest Coast of America with action in the Southwest Pacific goes back more than two centuries before the day when Governor Arthur Phillip of New South Wales was instructed to found a "Botany Bay" colony at or near Nootka Sound. A definite English project for combining exploration and settlement in the Australian region with a search for the western end of the Northwest Passage, supposed to reach the Pacific not fare to the north of California, was put forward in the earlier years of Queen Elizabeth's reign. In 1572 Henry Hawk returned to England from Mexico, where he had lived from 1567 to 1571. He brought news of Mendana discovery of the Solomon Islands in 1567-1568 and of a voyage from the west
coast of Mexico to seek the western end of the Strait of Anian, the supposed North-west Passage leading from the Atlantic to the Pacific somewhere near Puget Sound. When Mendana found the Solomons, he ........ University (of BC) Archives
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