Columbia River

British Columbia. River: Columbia River drainage
Headwaters are Columbia Lake at Canal Flats
48.9997 N 117.6322 W — Map 82F/4 — GoogleGeoHack
Earliest known reference to this name is 1792 (Gray)
Name officially adopted in 1910
Official in BCCanada
Elevation: 3747 m

Adopted in the 9th Report of the Geographic Board of Canada, 1910, as named on maps and charts since 1795.

Called “Oregon River” by Jonathan Carver, 1766. Called “Rio de San Roque” by Bruno Heceta, who discovered the river’s mouth in 1775, and so-labelled on Spanish charts.

Named “Columbia River” in 1792, by Captain Robert Gray of Boston, after his ship Columbia, which entered the mouth of the river in May of that year. The name of Gray’s vessel honours Christopher Columbus, who reached the Americas in 1492.

“Columbia River / Fleuve Columbia” is among the 75 “Pan-Canadian names,” large and well-known Canadian features and areas designated in Treasury Board Circular 1983-58 to require presentation in both official languages of Canada on federal maps. In French, a fleuve is a river that flows into an ocean or sea.


  • Arrowsmith, John [1790–1873]. Provinces of British Columbia and Vancouver Island; with portions of the United States and Hudson’s Bay Territories. 1859. UVic
  • British Columbia Geographical Names. Columbia River
  • Wikipedia. Columbia River

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