Thompson River

British Columbia. River
Flows W from Kamloops, then S and W into Fraser River at Lytton
50°14’07” N 121°34’57 W — Map 92I/4 — GoogleGeoHack
Earliest known reference to this name is 1808.
Name officially adopted in 1925. Official in BCCanada
David Thompson (1770-1857) Canadian cartographer and explorer

David Thompson (1770-1857) Canadian cartographer and explorer

The Thompson River proper starts at the confluence of the North Thompson River and the South Thompson River at Kamloops.

Named in 1808 by Simon Fraser, North West Company, during his descent of the Fraser River to its mouth, after geographer David Thompson.

Thompson, a charity pupil at Grey Coat School, London, was apprenticed to the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1784. He joined the North West Company as a surveyor in 1797. In 1811 he explored the length of Columbia River, crossing the Continental Divide via the Athabasca Pass.

He was a member of the British-American Boundary survey, 1815-24. Thompson died of poverty at Longuineil, Quebec, in 1857, age 87

Thompson himself was never on any of the three Thompson Rivers.

The name appear on the 1859 Arrowsmith map and the 1871 Trutch map.


  • Fraser, Simon [1776–1862]. The letters and journals of Simon Fraser, 1806-1808. Edited by Lamb, W. Kaye. Toronto: MacMillan, 1960. Internet Archive
  • Arrowsmith, John [1790–1873]. Provinces of British Columbia and Vancouver Island; with portions of the United States and Hudson’s Bay Territories. 1859. UVic
  • Trutch, Joseph William [1826–1904]. Map of British Columbia to the 56th Parallel North Latitude. Victoria, B.C.: Lands and Works Office, 1871. University of Victoria
  • British Columbia Geographical Names. Government of BC. Thompson River. BCGN

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