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Expansion, Timber and Gold
Fraser River gold rush, timber trade, indigenous population, furs, trade opportunities
Britain continued to be important to the economic development of its North American colonies, supplying trade opportunities and investment. During its wars with France, Britain was cut off from its timber sources in Europe, and it turned to British North America for timber. Timber production became a vital industry, and wood quickly replaced furs as the leading export of British North America. The timber trade encouraged shipbuilding, and by midcentury Atlantic Canada was building and operating a long-distance sailing fleet. Merchants prospered in Halifax and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia; Saint John, New Brunswick; St. Johnís, Newfoundland; and other seaports.
The Fraser River gold rush of 1858 brought new settlers and new interest to the Pacific coast. The colony of British Columbia was formed that year out of the HBC territory, and in 1866 it incorporated the colony of Vancouverís Island (the old name of Vancouver Island), which had been created in 1849. Its settlers, a mix of British, Canadians, and Americans, with a few Chinese, had begun to ship timber, salmon, and coal, as well as gold, from the colony, but they were still outnumbered by the indigenous population of the coast.
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