Okanagan Explosion - Miners

Social Studies 9 - By: Daniel Raposo Sanchez

Miners in the Okanagan


In 1833 David Douglas was the first to record the discovery of gold in the Okanagan. Gold was discovered in California in 1848. Over the next seven years a lot of people came to the Okanagan for the magical metal.

By 1858, amid turmoil and lawlessness, over 30 thousand miners had moved into British territory and fought with the natives and each other to stake their claims.

An uneasy truce was negotiated that same year (1858) with various Washington tribes. Palmer and Miller brought a wagon accompanied by two hundred miners wo were fearful the truce would not hold. Even though it was hard, 7 of the 9 wagons got to Kamloops and sold all of the resources making a good profit.


The miners didn't have a direct importance but the people they brought did. Because the miners, more routes were created, like the one in 1860, by Edgar Dewdney was from hope through to the gold fields in the Kootenays. This trail also provided access from the Lower Mainland to the Mission Valley.

Also lots of miners settled in the Okanagan Valley and became ranchers, farmers or orchadists.

Role of the Okanagan Fur Brigade Trail

The Okanagan Fur Brigade Trail had a big impact, not only in the miners. It was the main transportation link for the miners. Without the Trail not all the people that came to the Okanagan would came to it; that means that the development and growth of the Okanagan would be like it was.

Early European Profile - David Douglas

Early History

David Douglas was a Scottish botanist. He made three separate trips from England to North America.

He was the first to record, in 1833, the discovery of the gold in the Okanagan.

In his different trips he introduce about 240 species of plants to Britain

Reason for settlement in Okanagan Valley

David Douglas never settled in the Valley. He made trips from England to North America.

He was a botanist searching for new species of plants along the early fur trade route through Canada and the United States.

Early Accomplishments

He was born in the village of Scone, North-east of Perth, Scotland. Son of a stonemason. He attended school and upon leaving he found work as an apprentice to William Beasttie, head gardener at the state of the 3rd Earl of Mansfield. He spent 7 years as an apprentice and went to college. Then he moved to the Botanic garden of Glasgow University.

William Jackson Hooker, impressed by David, sent him to an expedition to the Highlands before recommending him to the Royal Horticultural Society of London

Accomplishments in Okanagan Valley

He went to eastern North America, Pacific Northwest, and on his last journey he went first to the Columbia River, then to San Francisco, then to Hawaii, then he went back to Columbia River and a year later he returned to Hawaii. He introduced different kinds of plants in North America

Legacy Today

The common name Pouglas-fir refers to him. Several Hawaiian plants were named after him. Over eighty species of plant and animal have douglasii in their scientific names, in his honor. There is a memorial to David Douglas in his birthplace of Scone. A High School District are named after him in Oregon.

In Vancouver, Washington, he is remembered via David Douglas Park which was use during World War II

Driving Question

What was the impact of the early Europeans on the growth and development of the Okanagan Valley?

David Douglas didn't have a huge impact in the development and growth of the Okanagan Valley, but because of him, lots of Europeans and north Americans came to the Okanagan Valley to find gold. Most of those people settled in the Okanagan and became farmers, ranchers... That people did help the growth and development of the Okanagan Valley.

Interesting Facts

-In 1832, David Douglas, a respected Scottish botanist, was found dead in a pit dug to trap wild bullocks at Kaluakauka, in the ahupua'a (land division) of Laupahoehoe. The bull that was trapped in the pit with him officially was blamed for killing Douglas, but throughout the islands people speculated about the mysterious circumstances.

-There is a movie called ''Finding David Douglas'' that tells the story of his life and achievements, to great critical acclaim.