New West Lands Reserve: Parts unknown.

Author:Hunter, Troy

In 1763, after the Treaty of Paris, a map was published by, Robert Sayer: A New Map of North America, with the British, French, Spanish, Dutch & Danish Dominions on that great Continent; and the West India Islands, According to the Definitive Treaty concluded at Paris 10th February 1763 .

It's fascinating to look closely at the places that were named, including: New France, New Mexico, New York, New Albion, New Navarr Mexico, New Britain, New Denmark, and New Ultra. The entire Northwest was only labelled, "Parts Un Known" and was devoid of much detail, with exception of the, "River of the West", which was actually the Columbia River and the Juan de Fuca Strait.

An appropriate name for what has become known as British Columbia is "New West Lands Reserve", because unceded land is reserved by the Royal Proclamation of 1763. The name is plural as there is more than one First Nation in the Province. The reference to "Reserve" connotes a sense of non-permanence, which is the underlying goal of the 1763 Proclamation. Moreover, the Iroquois and Metis who guided the European fur traders to the area originally knew the area as the New West Territories, just as Quebec was known as New France. The many place names with the word "New" makes it even more convincing that the name, "New West Lands Reserve" should be used.

Moreover, New West Lands Reserve also honours and commemorates some of the earliest Europeans that came into the land. It was the North West Trading Company that first explored what is now British Columbia under the command of Simon Fraser in 1805. Although Simon Fraser called a region of the province New Caledonia, there is an island in the Pacific Ocean with the same name. Likewise, there already is the North West Territories and there shouldn't be confusion with the lands known as British Columbia, with those territorial lands north of the 60th parallel.

On a similar vein, Rupert's Land was the Hudson's Bay drainage basin, an area of land established under the 1670 Hudson's Bay Charter. The Charter contemplated that Rupert's Land would be extended to the west coast and the Hudson's Bay Company would seek to find the Northwest Passage. In the 1850s, Sir James Douglas was running the show for the Hudson Bay Company on Vancouver Island, where he was busy making treaties as was required by the Royal Proclamation of 1763. The United Kingdom requested that the Hudson's Bay Company sell off its monopoly of Rupert's Land and in return, begin...

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