Skip to main content

Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

Robert Brown and the Vancouver Island Exploring Expedition

Robert Brown, a twenty-one-year-old Scotsman, arrived on Vancouver Island in 1863 for the purpose of collecting seeds, roots, and plants for the Botanical Association of Edinburgh. Relations with his employer quickly deteriorated, however, and when the opportunity arose in 1864 to head the Vancouver Island Exploring Expedition, Brown eagerly accepted the position as its commander. During the four and a half months of the expedition, Brown kept a journal which is published here for the first time. It is remarkable for its record of life on Vancouver Island over a century ago and its description of the island’s pristine wilderness as well as for its proposals for future economic development. The accounts of agricultural settlements at Cowichan, Chemainus, and Comox and of the coal-mining town of Nanaimo are among the earliest available.

Table of Contents

Illustrations and Maps



1 The Land We Live In

2 Journal of the Vancouver Island Exploring Expedition

3 A Guest at a Potlatch

4 A Collection of Indian Myths and Legends

Appendix 1: Published Writings by Robert Brown Relating to the Northwest Coast

Appendix 2: The Drawings of Frederick Whymper


Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press