James Douglas (governor)

James Douglas (Governor)

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James Douglas (governor)

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Sir James Douglas KCB (August 15, 1803 – August 2, 1877) was a company fur-trader and a British colonial governor on Vancouver Island in northwestern North America, particularly in what is now British Columbia. Douglas worked for the North West Company, and later for the Hudson's Bay Company becoming a high-ranking company officer. From 1851 to 1864, he was Governor of the Colony of Vancouver Island. In 1858 he also became the first Governor of the Colony of British Columbia, in order to assert British authority during the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush, which had the potential to turn the B.C. Mainland into an American state. He remained governor of both Vancouver Island and British Columbia until his retirement in 1864. He is often credited as "The Father of British Columbia".

Early life and fur trader

James Douglas was born in Demerara (now part of Guyana) to John Douglas, a Scottish planter, and Martha Ann Tefler, a Creole originally from Barbados. Telfer was free coloured, which in her time and place meant a free person of mixed European and African ancestry. The couple had a number of children together, but were not formally married.Adams, John. 2001. Old Square-Toes and His Lady: The Life of James and Amelia Douglas. Victoria, BC: Horsdal and Schubert. P. 1. In 1812 James was sent to Lanark, Scotland to be schooled. It is also believed that he went to school in Chester, England, where he learned to speak and write in fluent French.

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