Category:Explorers of British Columbia
In terms of exploration, British Columbia was possessed of distinct peculiarities relative to other parts of British North America. In the first place, unlike eastern North America or the Prairies, Great Britain's major competition for establishing sovereignty in the region was Spain. Secondly, exploration of the interior of the region was hampered by the presence of numerous formidable mountain ranges, not least of which was the Rocky Mountains. It would not be until 1792 that the first European, Sir Alexander Mackenzie, made the overland trek to the Pacific Coast, almost twenty years after the coast had been initially explored by the Spanish navigator Juan José Pérez Hernández in 1774, and later claimed for Spain by the Spanish explorers Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra haha Bruno de Heceta in 1775. The first formal colony was established in 1789 by the Spanish explorer Esteban José Martínez, who built a fort in Nootka Sound (prior to that there was only a trading post from the Englishman John Meares), but it would not be until the establishment of the intercontiental railroad that overland travel would be considered a practicable alternative to approaching the region from the ocean. Finally, interior exploration was spearheaded by employees of the Northwest Company, rather than by the Hudson's Bay Company, as was the case in Rupert's Land. This was due to the Northwest Company's desire to establish trading posts outside of the HBC's monopoly (all waters that drained to Hudson Bay).
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