More than a Fur Trading Post: Agricultural Development at Fort Victoria, 1846
Just three years after the establishment of Fort Victoria accounts made by Chief Factor Roderick Finlayson in the Fort Victoria Journal show that fur trading was infrequent at best. The first year of journal entries, which provides the closest look at what life at the fort consisted of in its formative years, shows that only 18 days included mention of a significant trade occurring; however, in that same year employees at the fort produced thousands of bushels of vegetables. The forts role as an agricultural hub was discounted by the colony’s first Governor, Richard Blanshard, who commented in 1851 that the fort was nothing more than a fur trading post - a comment that has had an undue influence on historical writing about Fort Victoria. After considering why the fort was designated as a main depot and examining how the Lekwungen People’s land management practices incentivized the HBC to appropriate and reorganize land for company farming, this essay challenges Blanshard’s comment, suggesting that Fort Victoria was much more than a fur trading post.
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