The Victoria Voltigeurs

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Title: The Victoria Voltigeurs
Creator: Barkwell, Lawrence J.
Subject: War, Métis History
Description: The Victoria Voltigeurs were a mobile force of Métis militia hand-picked by Governor
James Douglas in 1851. In 1845, the territorial dispute between the British and the Americans on the west coast (called the Oregon Crisis) was settled by extending the border along the 49th parallel to the Pacific, with the exception of Vancouver Island, which remained British territory. Immediately following the Oregon Crisis of 1845, it became important for the British to have a real colony on the west coast to counter any American or Russian claims. In 1849 Vancouver Island was turned over to the Hudson’s Bay Company on the basis of a commitment to settle the island. The capital became Victoria, a trading post erected by the company in 1843, and the government appointed a royal governor who was independent of the company. The royal governor, James Douglas, did not have any troops to enforce regulations or to perform guard duty when needed. Thus, in mid-1851 Governor Douglas formed the Victoria Voltigeurs. This was a small corps of Métis men intended to lend an occasional hand in enforcing justice. The Voltigeurs were mostly French-Canadian voyageurs or “Half-Breeds” - Métis of French-Canadian and Iroquois descent - who were mobilized as circumstances required. Their numbers varied considerably from a half dozen to 30 or so.
Publisher: Louis Riel Institute
Type: Text Document
Language: English
Date of Copyright: June 9, 2008
Coverage: British Columbia
GDI Media Filename: Victoria Voltigeurs.pdf

Related Categories

Category Veterans and War
Category History