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Heritage Of the Mighty Peace

The Peace River region is vast, reaching over 12,000 kilometres from Summit Lake to its confluence with the Slave River. This unique region has a history that is finally being written. It was the home of the earliest people, the Clovis and Folsom People, who lived and traveled in the Peace River region over 11,500 years ago.

Postcard of Smoky and Peace River

The First Nations tribes have had a long and proud history in the Peace River from times before recorded history through the fur trade years and into the present. The Métis formed as a unique people in the Peace River region and continue to contribute to this day.

Early settlers were attracted to the rich agricultural opportunities in the Peace River country, which also had abundant forests and minerals that could assist in their success. Many of the early settlers struggled through wilderness trails with oxen carts, horses, dog sleds, or on foot to make their claims in the Peace River region.

The isolation of the Peace country brought out the independent nature of the settlers as they operated their own saw mills, flour mills, mines, and blacksmith shops as goods from other centres were not available.

During the First World War, many homesteaders became soldiers, while others continued to work toward developing the economy and communities of the Peace country. There were better steamboat services, railway lines, and air services established, as the wilderness trails became roads. After the war, the Peace country continued to prosper and develop, becoming the place to go for those displaced during the Great Depression.

The Second World War brought more activity to the Peace country as the Northwest Staging Route established airfields to provide the American military the air transportation they needed to Alaska. Early in the war the Alaska Highway was built through the Peace River region creating jobs and improving transportation.

Ken Huff and O.A. Erdman on the Peace River

Northern developments continued after the Second World War, including the Distant Early Warning Line, oil and gas exploration, mining, expanding agriculture, and forestry industry. All of these efforts brought the prosperity and modernization of the region that is apparent today.

The Peace River and its First People: This section explores the geography of the Peace River and the Clovis and Folsom Peoples who lived and traveled through the region from 11,500 years ago to about 7,500 years ago.

Fur Trade: The fur trade in the Peace River region from its early developments to the role played by the Métis people is explored. This section also explores the arrival of the missionaries.

Early Settlement: One can read about the struggle of the early settlers in the Peace country in this section from the trip north through the wilderness to the breaking of the land, seeding, harvesting, building homesteads, and communities.

World War I and After: These web pages tell the history of the meny Peace River homesteaders becoming soldiers. Those in Peace River continued to develop their communities and the land with the arrival of the railway. The years following the war brought continued growth with another wave of settlement during the Great Depression as those who were displaced found opportunities in the Peace country.

World War II and After: The Second World War brought more rapid growth including the Alaska Highway, and the Northwest Staging Route. These developments continued after the war with northern developments including the Distant Early Warning Line, oil and gas exploration, mining, expanding agriculture, and forestry industry.

Museums: This section provides a series of links to descriptions of museums in the Peace River country.

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