Western-most province in Canada
Earliest known reference to this name is 1858 (Queen Victoria).
Name officially adopted in 1858. Official in BC — Canada
When an influx of American gold-miners prompted Great Britain to proclaim this crown colony in 1858, the name choosen commemorated not so much the Portuguese navigator as it did the United States ship Columbia, which sailed into the estuary of the river in 1792. Captain Robert Grey fired the ship’s cannons at the canoes of the local Indians who paddled out to investigate.
The southern part of what is now the province of British Columbia was known as the Columbia Department during the fur-trade ear. Although the major portion of British Columbia was called New Caledonia by the fur-traders, this name (duplicated in the South Pacific) was discarded by Queen Victoria in favor of the present name.
The name appear on the 1859 Arrowsmith map, entitled “Provinces of British Columbia and Vancouver Island; with portions of the United States and Hudson’s Bay Territories.”