Tag Archives: Boundary Commission

Photos of Victoria and Esquimalt, 1859

Victoria 1859. Source: LOC

In 1846, the Oregon Treaty established the boundary between British and American territory west of the Rockies (and unintentionally established the benchmark date for whether archaeological sites are automatically protected under the Heritage Conservation Act, but that’s another story).  Vancouver Island was to remain in British hands in its entirety, but otherwise the 49th parallel was to be the boundary on land.  The ocean boundary through the Salish Sea was resolved later, after the armed standoff on San Juan Island known as the “Pig War“.   An International Boundary Commission was struck, with the mandate of surveying the 49th parallel and one of its base camp headquarters in 1858 and 1859 was Esquimalt.  At this time, a series of photographs of the young Fort Victoria and surrounding buildings were taken, some of the earliest photographs from British Columbia I know of – including some remarkable pictures of First Nations people.

Continue reading