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A history of the militia and defences of British Columbia, 1871-1914 Silverman, Peter Guy

Abstract

This thesis deals with the development of the militia of British Columbia during the period 1871-1914 and takes into account the various economic, political, and social factors within British Columbia which affected its growth This includes an examination of the causes, both internal and external, which induced certain individuals or groups of people in the province to agitate for the establishment of militia units, and the Dominion policy towards this agitation. In this latter respect it takes into account the strength and weaknesses of the militia system both in the Dominion as a whole and within the province of British Columbia. It deals briefly with Imperial defence policy in general, and Canadian-Imperial relations concerning the defence of British Columbia, in particular Esquimalt. The various British proposals for the joint defence of the naval station, the Dominion policy concerning such proposals and the negotiations which led to joint defence agreements are considered. The author concludes that policy concerning the defence of British Columbia originated not with the Dominion Government, but with the Imperial authorities. Some examination is made of the effect of a permanent regular garrison upon a volunteer militia in the way of instruction, example, etc., and of Canadian policy towards the establishment of a permanent garrison at Esquimalt. The historical significance of the work lies in the fact that, with the exception of Mr. R.H. Roy’s article, The Early Militia and Defence of British Columbia, 1871- 1885, there has been no examination of the early military history of this province. Canadian military history, including that of the various provinces, has as yet been but slightly examined by historians. It offers a wide field for research.

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