"The Duties of neutrality": the impact of the American Civil War on British Columbia and Vancouver Island, 1861-1865




Souiedan, Racan

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The American Civil War resulted in lasting consequences for the British Empire’s remote Pacific colonies of British Columbia and Vancouver Island. Britons in the colonies mobilized to address the issue of defending against a potential American attack. Despite concerns surrounding the possibility of an American invasion, the conflict increased solidarity towards the United States, as public opinion in British Columbia and Vancouver Island became more pro-Union through the course of the American Civil War, with local residents regularly celebrating holidays like the Fourth of July. Local newspapers welcomed efforts by the American government to finally abolish slave labour, yet Victoria’s African American community continued to face racial discrimination, which was often blamed on resident Southerners. The conflict ultimately helped in improving public perceptions of the United States, but not without raising significant fears of American military might on the continent.



Canada, American Civil War, United States of America, British Columbia, Vancouver Island, Military History, Confederation, Great Britain, Canadian History, American History, Colonial History