British Columbia, also commonly referred to by its initials BC, is a province located on the west coast of Canada. British Columbia is also a component of the Pacific Northwest and the Cascadia bioregion, along with the US states of Oregon and Washington. The province’s name was chosen in 1858 by members of the Hudson’s Bay Company. In 1871, it became the sixth province of Canada. Its Latin motto is Splendor sine occasu (“Splendour without Diminishment”).
The capital of British Columbia is Victoria, the fifteenth-largest metropolitan region in Canada, named for the Queen who created the Colony of British Columbia. The largest city is Vancouver, the third-largest metropolitan area in Canada, the largest in Western Canada, and the second-largest in the Pacific Northwest.
The province’s name was chosen by Queen Victoria, when the Colony of British Columbia, i.e., “the Mainland,” became a British colony in 1858. It refers to the Columbia District, the British name for the territory drained by the Columbia River, in southeastern British Columbia, which was the namesake of the pre-Oregon Treaty Columbia Department of the Hudson’s Bay Company. Queen Victoria chose British Columbia to distinguish what was the British sector of the Columbia District from that of the United States (“American Columbia” or “Southern Columbia”), which became the Oregon Territory in 1848, as a result of the treaty.