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It is bounded to the north by Yukon and the Northwest Territoriesto the east by the province of Albertato the south by the U. It stretches some miles 1, km from north to south and miles 1, km from east to west at its widest point. The land has a diversity of climate and scenery unparalleled in Canada, from the island-studded and fjord-indented coast to the great peaks of the western continental cordilleras, with their large interior plateaus.
One of the last regions of the North American continent to be explored and settled, British Columbia emerged British Columbia on the second half of the 20th century as one of the leading provinces of Canada in population, economic wealth, and overall growth. Its main cities include Vancouverone of the largest ports of Canada and of western North Americaand Victoriathe provincial capital, located on the southeastern tip of Vancouver Island.
Areasquare milessquare km.
The vast territory of British Columbia lies almost entirely within the great mountain system, or cordillerathat stretches along the western edge of the Americas from north of the Arctic Circle to Cape Hornat the southernmost extremity of South America. These mountains divide the province in ranges aligned in a northwest-southeast direction, creating a series of valleys and a broad central interior plateau where human settlement has concentrated. The two major ranges are the Coast Mountainswhich British Columbia on in the western part of the province, and the Canadian portion of the Rocky Mountains in the eastern part.
The province reaches its highest elevation in the far northwest at Mount Fairweather 15, feet [4, metres]located in the St. Elias Mountains a range of the Coast Mountains on the Alaskan border. Hundreds of coast-hugging islands—the largest of which are Vancouver Island and Haida Gwaii formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands —offer a protected waterway along the coastline, which is indented by narrow fjords that twist inland about the bases of towering mountains.
The broad Fraser delta, behind Vancouver to the south, is the largest of the limited coastal lowlands. In the interior many of the wide plateaus are cut by deep canyons and entirely surrounded by mountain ranges, including the Cassiar, Omineca, Skeena, and Hazelton mountains in the north and the Columbia Mountains in the southeast. The province contains three main river systems: the Peace in the north; the Fraserwhich drains nearly all of the interior plateau; and the Columbia in the southeastern and south-central regions.
Lesser rivers, such as the SkeenaNass, Iskut, and Stikinedrain the northwestern region into the Pacific, while the Liard system drains the northeastern section into the Arctic Ocean. The Fraserthe only major river that lies entirely within the province, rises in the Rockies near the Yellowhead Passflows north and then southwestward to Prince Georgewhere it turns almost due south for miles kmflowing to Hopeand then westward through the lush farmlands to the sea south of Vancouver.
The Columbia follows the Rocky Mountain Trench northward, bends around the northern end of the Selkirk Mountainsand turns south to flow into the Arrow Lakes and then into the U. The Peace also becomes a formidable stream within the Rocky Mountain Trenchbut it cuts eastward through the Rockies and into the plains area of Alberta. Most of the thousands of lakes are small, but they are important for the water they store in an age when hydroelectric power has become a prized resource.
The larger lakes are made long and narrow by the north-south mountain ranges that confine British Columbia on in the deep and narrow valleys in all parts of the province. Atlin and Teslin in the northwest extend into Yukon. The Arrow and Kootenay lakes are important as storage reservoirs for hydroelectric plants. About two-thirds of the land area is forested, while only a small portion has soil suitable for agriculture. The most valuable soils of British Columbia are the alluvial soils that developed on sand and silt deposited by streams and rivers.
These extremely fertile soils, located mainly in the lower Fraser valley, are of limited extent. Similar prairie grassland soils lie in the Peace River country, the only part of the province suitable for large-scale grain farming. The more extensive but much shallower podzol soils cover the wet areas, especially along the coast, where they sustain a dense forest cover.
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The Canadian Encyclopedia - British Columbia. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. Seal of British. See all media. Capital: Victoria Show more Population: 4,; est. Show more Date Of Admission: Show more Provincial Motto: "Slendor sine occasu Splendour without diminishment " Show more Provincial Flower: Pacific dogwood Show more. Full Article. Kamloops, B. Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content.
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