The city of Victoria was named after the British Queen Victoria born on May 24 1819. Victoria's rein lasted 64 years, starting in 1837 at age eighteen and culminating with her death at age eighty-one on January 22 1901. The land on which the city of Victoria was founded belonged to the Lekwammen First Nations people. The Hudson's Bay Company established a fort in the area in 1843 and six years later Vancouver Island was established as a British Colony. The Colonial Office in London recruited young men to come to the colony. A second colony, the Colony of British Columbia, was created in 1858. Rumours of gold in the Fraser River reached Fort Victoria by 1856. In 1858 between 10,000 and 20,000 people arrived in Victoria. The two colonies merged in 1866 and in 1871 British Columbia joined the confederation of Canada. Victoria became the capital of the province.
Because most of the immigrants to the province were of British origins, British Columbia had closer ties to the crown than many other areas of Canada. It was not until after World War One that Canadian-born residence outnumbered British-born in British Columbia. Of particular interest for this website are the people and city of Victoria and their relationship to the British Monarchy. Ties to the crown were reaffirmed throughout the year in Victoria by public outpourings of affirmation including the celebration of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, Golden Jubilee, her birthday and the mourning of her death. The focus of this website is the city of Victoria's response to the Queen's death and the memorials that were held throughout the city including coverage in the local newspapers.
Responses to the Queen's death were not restricted to London. Memorial services were held throughout the British Empire and the world. Her subjects in Victoria were shocked by her death. For many she was the only monarch they had ever known. An examination of Victoria's response to the death of the Queen does not only speak of the events that took place to mourn her passing but can be analysed as an act of confirmation of the loyalty of the city to Queen Victoria. Links can be made between the outpouring of sympathy in Victoria and the city's strong ties to the British monarchy, particularly Queen Victoria, since the city's establishment in 1843.
The Queen is Dead!