The most Western province of Canada, British Columbia is bordered on the North by Yukon and the Northwest Territories, on the East by Alberta, on the South by the United States, on the West by the Pacific Ocean, and Alaska (the United States) on the Northwest.
The capital of British Columbia is Victoria, located on Vancouver Island of the Southern coast of the province, though the most populous city is Vancouver, located on the coast of the mainland across from Vancouver Island. The majority of the people in the province live in the Southern half, closer to the coast or centre. Some large settlements are located in the centre of the province near the Rocky Mountains.
The economy of the province is based upon a number of industries: fishing, forestry, natural gas, farming, and shipping. The climate of the major population centres in the province is unique in Canada, as it is more mild, and temperatures usually stay above zero year-round, and leads to large amounts of rain throughout the year.
Due to the vast range of climates in the province, British Columbia had the greatest number of distinct First Nations of any province or territory in Canada. The totem poles that are traditionally seen throughout the province are a result of the coastal First Nations peoples.
British Columbia joined Canada in 1871, after Canada promised the completion of a trans-continental railroad to join it to the rest of Canada.
The wavy lines on the flag represent the province's location between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. The sun is to symbolise that the province is Canada's Westernmost province. The Union Jack at the top of the flag represents the province's British history, and the crown in the Union Jack represents the Royal Family.
The Southern part of British Columbia used to be called "Columbia", after the Columbia River, which was named after the American ship the "Columbia Reviva", which itself was named after the female personification of the United States, "Columbia". The central region of the province was called New Caledonia by explorer Simon Fraser, as it reminded him and his men of their native Scotland, traditionally known as Caledonia. To avoid confusion with the South American country (Colombia) and South Pacific Island (New Caledonia), Queen Victoria renamed the area British Columbia when it became a British colony in 1858.