Victoria, the 15th largest city in the nation and capital of British Columbia, began as a trade port, first visited in the 18th century by Spanish and British explorers. Its ideal and picturesque location on the Southern tip of Vancouver Island has turned modern Victoria into a major port city and popular tourist destination. Downtown Victoria is a hub of activity with many night clubs, restaurants offering the freshest of fresh fish, excellent antique shopping and historic sights around every corner. The core has a population nearing 100,000 in 2008, but with more than 300,000 in the greater metropolitan area it is the largest city on the island. As such it has become a center for major celebrations like the annual Canada Day fireworks display, and plays host to many music and sporting events from JazzFest International to the Commonwealth Games.
Originally inhabited by the Salish people, the first Europeans to visit the area came with English explorer Captain James Cook in 1776. By 1843, the Hudsonís Bay Company had established sufficient trade and built the settlement of Fort Victoria. By the end of the 1840s the settlement had become the first town in the Crown Colony of Vancouver Island, and grew into a major trade port.
Victoria officially became a city in 1862, and the population grew from a few hundred to a few thousand. By the turn of the century, British Columbia had joined the Canadian Confederation and Victoria became a provincial capital.
Royal British Columbia Museum
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