British Columbia is bordered
by the Pacific Ocean on its west, by the American state of Alaska
on its northwest, and to the north by the Yukon and the Northwest
Territories, on the east by the province of Alberta, and on the
south by the U.S. states of Washington, Idaho, and Montana. The
current southern border of British Columbia was established by the
1846 Oregon Treaty, although its history is tied up with lands as
far south as the California border.
British Columbia's land
area is 944,735 square kilometers (364,764 square miles) which is
about the size of France, Germany and the Netherlands combined.
It is larger than the total area of Washington, Oregon and California.
British Columbia's rugged coastline stretches for more than 27,000
kilometers (16,780 miles), including deep, mountainous fjords and
about 6,000 islands, most of which are uninhabited.
British Columbia's capital
is Victoria, located at the southeastern tip of Vancouver Island.
BC's most populous city is Vancouver, located in southwest corner
of the BC mainland called the Lower Mainland. Other major cities
include Surrey, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Richmond, Delta, and New Westminster
in the Lower Mainland; Abbotsford and Langley in the Fraser Valley;
Nanaimo on Vancouver Island; and Kelowna and Kamloops in the Interior.
Prince George is the
largest city in the northern part of the province, while a town
northwest of it, Vanderhoof, is at the geographic centre of the