Unsettled Boundaries: Fraser Gold and the British-American Northwest

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9780874222685: Unsettled Boundaries: Fraser Gold and the British-American Northwest
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Responding to reports of gold discoveries on the Fraser River, thousands of prospectors from California and other points on the Pacific coast crossed the 49th parallel to British territory in 1858. Most returned to San Francisco and Puget Sound later in the same year, blaming their failure to find wealth in the river canyons on uncooperative Hudson's Bay Company officials and the English government. Viewing events from the perspective of California, historians have generally considered the gold rush a failure. In reality, the Fraser River experience was a sustained success, continuing beyond 1858 and embracing the vast interior of British Columbia, and becoming one of the major developments in Pacific Northwest history. Although it was an artificial line bisecting forest, mountain, and prairie, the 49th parallel separated distinct regions of law and custom, explaining why many Americans were unable to comprehend the true nature of their adventures in British North America.

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From the Publisher:

"On June 24, 1858, the annual Hudson’s Bay Company brigade rode into Fort Hope on the lower Fraser River, two months after departing its assembly point in faraway New Caledonia. ‘There was much excitement among the men,’ reported Governor James Douglas ...The 180 packhorses led into the post, after all, carried furs—beaver, mink, otter, fox, and several bearskins—valued at $300,000. More to the point, the downriver party came face to unexpected face with the thousands of prospectors who had, in a matter of weeks, rushed up from the sea to hunt for gold. The mainland British Pacific Northwest, a region so obviously insignificant to the home government that there were no official local administrations, was transformed into a wet weather El Dorado, the apparent successor to the California Sierra."

The results of that frantic stampede for wealth still impact the current residents of the Pacific Northwest on a daily basis. Unsettled Boundaries is the chronicle of how a collection of crude trading outposts, spurred on by the gold rush of 1858, grew into a fully functioning society. This absorbing history details the importance of an arbitrary line, the 49th parallel; various gold mining operations; how opposing forces and governments struggled to gain the upper hand; and how eventually, the groundwork was laid to change wild, primitive country into civilization.

Review:

"Ficken presents a fascinating story about the Fraser River gold rush, a pivotal time in Pacific Northwest history."

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Ficken, Robert E.
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Book Description Washington State Univ. Condition: BRAND NEW. BRAND NEW Softcover - In 1858, thousands of optimistic prospectors crossed into British territory, hoping to strike gold. Faced with brutal weather and a lack of supplies, most returned later that same year. Even so, mining continued until simple fur trading posts were transformed into civilization, making the Fraser River experience one of the major developments in Pacific Northwest history. A Brand New Quality Book from a Full-Time Bookshop in business since 1992!. Seller Inventory # 2557545

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