(1803–77), Hudson's Bay Company officer, governor of Vancouver Island (1851–64) and British Columbia (1858–64). Born in British Guiana to the ‘country’ family of a Glasgow merchant, his mother a ‘free coloured woman’, Douglas was schooled in Scotland and apprenticed age 16 to the fur trade. Physically imposing, a North West Company enforcer in the struggle with the HBC, after the 1821 merger he was sent to New Caledonia. ‘Furiously violent when aroused’, he came into personal conflict with resident Indians. Kicked upstairs to Fort Vancouver, he took with him Amelia Connelly, his Irish-Cree wife, by whom he had 13 children, 6 surviving to adulthood. By 1849, when the HBC western headquarters moved to Fort Victoria, he was chief factor and senior member of the Board of Management.
From The Oxford Companion to Canadian History in Oxford Reference.
Subjects: History of the Americas.