Just as the British Corporate Hudson Bay Company outpost Belle Vue Farm was settling in between the muddy lines of an ill defined international boundary on San Juan Island the demographics of the west were undergoing a swift and radical change. In 1848 gold was discovered in California. According to Wikipedia some 300,000 men came by ship or wagon train to seek their fortunes in the gold fields. San Francisco became a boomtown almost overnight. Many arrived too late to find gold in California so in the late 1850s when gold was discovered again in British Columbia’s Fraser River ships filled with prospectors headed north. From Wikipedia, “within a month 30,000 men, had descended upon Victoria, which until that time had had only a population of about 500”. They came from all over the world but most of these fortune seekers were American men.
link to: Wikipedia’s California Gold Rush page
link to: Wikipedia’s Fraser Canyon Gold Rush page