Colonial Despatches

The Colonial Despatches digital archive contains the original correspondence between the British Colonial Office and the colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia.

This project aims to digitize and publish online a complete archive of the correspondence covering the period from 1846 leading to the founding of Vancouver Island in 1849, the founding of British Columbia in 1858, the annexation of Vancouver Island by British Columbia in 1866, and up to the incorporation of B.C. into the Canadian Federation in 1871. The 1858 documents (over 600) are already online, and work is continuing on the other years.

All the material on Colonial Despatches site originates in the work of Dr. James Hendrickson and his team of collaborators at the University of Victoria, which resulted in the publication of 28 print volumes of correspondence several years ago.

Those original transcriptions have been converted into TEI P5 XML, and presented in the form of highly interactive and searchable website. The site was given a formal launch on November 3, 2008, at the Maritime Museum in downtown Victoria, and has since attracted coverage in the Globe and Mail, the Vancouver Sun, the Saanich News, the Victoria Times Colonist, and A-Channel TV News.