What are the seafaring traditions of British Columbia, Canada?
- connieLv 74 years agoFavorite Answer
Throughout the 1820s and 1830s, the HBC controlled nearly all trading operations in the Pacific Northwest, based out of the company headquarters at Fort Vancouver on the Columbia River. Although authority over the region was nominally shared by the United States and Britain through the Anglo-American Convention of 1818, company policy, enforced via Chief Factor John McLoughlin of the company's Columbia District, was to discourage any settlement, including US settlement, of the territory. The company's effective monopoly on trade virtually forbade any settlement in the region. It established Fort Boise in 1834 (in present-day southwestern Idaho) to compete with the American Fort Hall, 483 km (300 mi) to the east. In 1837, it purchased Fort Hall, also along the route of the Oregon Trail, where the outpost director displayed the abandoned wagons of discouraged settlers to those seeking to move west along the trail.
Fort Vancouver was the nexus for the fur trade on the Pacific Coast; its influence reached from the Rocky Mountains to the Hawaiian Islands, and from Alaska into Mexican-controlled California. At its pinnacle, Fort Vancouver watched over 34 outposts, 24 ports, six ships, and 600 employees. Also, for many primarily American settlers the fort became the last stop on the Oregon Trail as they could get supplies before starting their homestead.
By 1843 the Hudson's Bay Company operated numerous posts in the Columbia Department, including Fort Vancouver, Fort George (Astoria), Fort Nisqually, Fort Umpqua, Fort Langley, Fort Colville, Fort Okanogan, Fort Kamloops, Fort Alexandria, Flathead Post, Kootanae House, Fort Boise, Fort Hall, Fort Simpson, Fort Taku, Fort McLoughlin (in Milbanke Sound), Fort Stikine, as well as a number of others.
With the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914, Vancouver’s seaport was able to compete with the major international ports for global trade because it was positioned as an alternative route to Europe. During the 1920s, the provincial government successfully fought to have freight rates that discriminated against goods transported by rail through the mountains eliminated, giving the young lawyer of the case, Gerry McGeer, a reputation as “the man who flattened the Rockies.” Consequently, prairie wheat came west through Vancouver rather than being shipped out through eastern ports. The federal government established the Vancouver Harbour Commission in 1913 to oversee port development. With its completion in 1923, Ballantyne Pier was the most technologically advanced port in the British Empire.
The Port of Vancouver, now Canada's largest, is the industrial heart of the city and the centre of its commercial connections to the world. Since 1864, when the Brewster sailed with lumber for international ports and then the barque Ellen Lewis carried a load of fence pickets and lumber to Australia, the Port has been shipping cargo to many of the world's nations. In 1940, the St. Roch, under the command of Henry Larsen, left Vancouver on a two-year voyage that would end 400 years of seafaring history - the quest for the Northwest Passage, that claimed lives of countless ships and men. It scored a series of firsts with its several subsequent voyages and over the years helped cement Canadian sovereignty claims to the Arctic Archipelago.
Bootlegging became a booming trade that only intensified once the US introduced prohibition in 1920. Cross-border trade became a lucrative venture for B.C.'s rum-runners. "Queen of the Rum Row" - the Malahat schooner was B.C.'s most notorious rum-running ship. Moreover, in a head scratching decision, the government allowed liquor to be sold for medicinal purposes, creating a loophole that residents enthusiastically took advantage of. In 1919 over 180,000 'medicinal liquor' prescriptions had been written by B.C. doctors. That was an approximate value of $1.5 million dollars.
The liquor smuggling business included a complicated system of transport, communication, and legal manoeuvring. The primary rum-running operations out of Vancouver did not take place over land borders, but instead used marine transport. This maritime smuggling operation took place primarily on the coast of the Western United States, with a lot of action taking place on the coast of California, on what became known as “Rum Row.” Since exporting liquor from Canada was not illegal, yet importing it into the United States was, ships would leave Vancouver with stated destinations that were not actually the intended destinations of their loads. One option of transport ships was to “short circuit” in which a destination was never reached, but instead the ship would unload somewhere and wait the appropriate amount of time before returning to port. Another option was reaching a port other than in the United States, receiving documentation, but not unloading the ship’s cargo there. This would allow the cargo to reach its American destination, but appear to have been delivered elsewhere. When United States pressure caused Canada to formally change law to more strictly ensure that cargo was actually unloaded at the ships’ destinations, rum-runners began choosing ports such as Tahiti, where they knew officials would continue to sign off on the cargo without actually receiving any, after which the liquor would be delivered to the United States as originally intended. ‘Mother ships,’ as they were referred to by rum-runners, carrying large loads of alcohol would leave port and dock far off the coast. Smaller ships would then come and offload the liquor. In addition to moving faster than the heavy ‘mother ships,’ the small transport ships reduced the risk of losing large loads of alcohol should anything happen to the transport ship on route to shore. The Malahat was a ‘mother ship’ for a Vancouver based rum-running corporation, and is indicative of the type of ship used in such operations. The smugglers used coded transmissions and communications to prevent being intercepted, and had to constantly adapt their methods to keep ahead of attempts from authorities to break their codes.
Maple Leaf (BC's historic tall ship) was built in 1904 in Vancouver Shipyard at Coal Harbour. She was designed and built by William Watts, a well-known Canadian shipbuilder and designer. Billed as the most expensive pleasure craft on the Pacific Coast, she was a private yacht for prominent businessman Alexander Maclaren and wore sail # 1 for the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club. She was the first ship north of San Francisco to have electric lights and carried her crew and society guests into the Gulf Islands and the fjords of the B.C. coast. Maple Leaf and a loyal crew fished halibut in the dangerous Bering Sea until the mid-1970s. They repeatedly outfished other, newer vessels in the fleet.
- Rona LachatLv 74 years ago
Strange question even stranger answer. Do you always get your answer first before you come up with a question.
You and Mrs Ted appear to be the same person with two accounts playing for points.
You missed to obvious sea faring traditions like being the largest Port on the Western coast of North America you missed the History of Canadian Pacific ships.
- Karen LLv 74 years ago
It isn't too clear what you want to know. Maybe you could elaborate a little.