Fort Victoria was a fur trading post of the Hudson’s Bay Company, the headquarters of HBC operations in British Columbia. The fort was the beginnings of a settlement that eventually grew into the modern Victoria, British Columbia, the capital city of British Columbia. The headquarters of HBC operations on the Pacific Coast of North America at the time of Victoria's founding was Fort Vancouver, on the lower Columbia River, but it had struggled for years to turn a profit; its location was difficult to defend, inaccessible to ships and too far from the lucrative furs in New Caledonia. With American settlers pouring into the region, in 1843, the company sent James Douglas to build a fort some distance north on Vancouver Island and made him its Chief Factor.
The California Gold Rush (1849–1855) began on 1849, when gold was found by James W. Marshall at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California.The first to hear confirmed information about gold in California were residents of Oregon, the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii), western Mexico, and Central America. They were the first to go there in late 1848. All told, the news of gold brought some 300,000 people to California from the rest of the United States and abroad. Of the 300,000, approximately half arrived by sea and half came overland from the east, on the California Trail and the Gila River trail. The gold-seekers, called "forty-niners", often faced substantial hardships on the trip. While most of the newly arrived were Americans, the Gold Rush attracted tens of thousands from Latin America, Europe, Australia, and Asia.
Constitutional history began in 1849 with the creation by the Imperial Government of a proprietory colony based on a west Indian model, Vancouver Island. On March 11, 1850, Richard Blanshard formally assumed office as Governor of the Colony of Vancouver Island. It was a wintry day, but every effort was made to make the ceremony as impressive as the rudeness of the surroundings at Fort Victoria would permit. A salute of seventeen guns roared out from "H.M.S. Driver" and was answered from the bastion of the fort. All available British residents and a complement of sailors from the "Driver" were assembled in front of the fort to hear the newly-arrived Governor read the Royal Commission, appointing him the first Governor of the first Crown Colony to be established in British territory west of the Great Lakes.