Captain Cook was eager to trade with the people of Nuu-chah-nulth. Word went out of his trade with the people of Nuu-chah-nulth and the profits that he made from the trade. As a result many European settlers moved to the Island bringing with them smallpox and other diseases that killed the Aboriginals. the indigenous people of the Island (Carty, 381).
After the infestation and the effects of smallpox, the Island was not as busy in the beginning of the 19th century. However, there were still activities that shaped the present day British Columbia. Before the turn of the century, many Europeans settled in the Island. The Spanish considered the Island to be under its territory because of its explorations in the region in the 16th century. When the Spanish heard of the arrival of the British into the Island, they took their ships creating the Nootka crisis. a crisis that almost led to war between Spain and Britain. After the crisis, the Spanish left Nootka Sound settlement. The influence of the Spanish in the Island came to an end in 1795 after the Nootka Convention. After the Spanish, left British Columbia European explorer merchants begun to get interested in the Island. Most of these merchants were British explorers and traders. Some of the notable people during this period were Simon Fraser, David Thompson and Sir Alexander Mackenzie (Recksten, 280). The three Britons were employees of Northwest Company and were looking for a river route to the pacific. If found, this route was supposed to help their company expand its fur trade. The first to arrive was Mackenzie followed by Fraser. they were both unable to find routes that were fit for trade. It was David Thomson who finally found a route to the Pacific that would be appropriate for trade.
During this period, explorers used to lay claim to trade routes that they had discovered.