Vancouver Island was actually created, from what we can tell, about 200 million years ago as the result of a volcanic eruption. It actually sits atop an underwater mountain range. For 8,000 to 10,000 years, aboriginal people lived on the land; we have found some of their ancient artifacts that are thousands of years old.  Several groups of people have lived here since before the days of European trade and colonization, known today as  the Kwakwaka'wakw (Kwakiutl), the Nuu-chah-nulth (Nootka) and the Coast Salish. Today many of their historic artifacts are on display in museums.

There is some discussion about who was the first non-Native to discover the island. Some feel there is a lot of evidence to credit the Japanese, others say the Chinese. Most however, give it to the Europeans; yet there is discrepancy even here, some say Spanish, others English. We do know that the famous English explorer Captain James Cook landed in the area in 1778 and began trading with others in the region. But it was probably Captain Juan Perez of Spain who first step foot onto the island four years prior to that.

The British were those to hold control over the island officially in 1849. Trade continued to flourish and the city of Fort Victoria grew bigger and more prosperous, partly thanks to a gold rush. In 1871, the city, now having lost the "fort", became the capital.

Fortunately, the residents realized that the island upon which they were living was full of history  and made efforts to preserve it. The first museum went up in 1886, and is now the Royal British Columbia Museum.