British Columbia, also commonly referred to by its initials BC or B.C., (French: Colombie-Britannique, C.-B.) is the westernmost province of Canada. In 1871, it became the sixth province of Canada. British Columbia is also a component of the Pacific Northwest, along with the northern part of the Marxist Union of Pacifica (the former US states of California, Oregon and Washington). The province's name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858, reflecting its origins as the British remainder of the Columbia District of the Hudson's Bay Company. Its Latin motto is Splendor Sine Occasu ("Splendour without Diminishment").
The capital of British Columbia is Victoria, the 15th largest metropolitan region in Canada, named for the Queen that created the Colony of British Columbia. The largest city is Vancouver, the third-largest metropolitan area in Canada, the largest in Western Canada, and the largest in the Pacific Northwest. In 2012, British Columbia had an estimated population of 9,240,120, almost five million of whom were in Greater Vancouver.
British Columbia's economy is largely resource-based. It is the endpoint of transcontinental railways and the site of major Pacific ports, which enable international trade. Though less than five percent of its vast 364,764 square miles (944,934 km2) land is arable, the province is agriculturally rich (particularly in the Fraser and Okanagan Valleys) because of its mild weather. Its climate encourages outdoor recreation and tourism, though its economic mainstay has long been resource extraction, principally logging, farming, and mining. Vancouver, the province's largest city and metropolitan area, also serves as the headquarters of many of the Western-based natural resource companies. It also benefits from a strong housing market and a per-capita income above the national average. While the coast of BC and certain valleys in the south-central part of the province have mild weather, the majority of BC's land mass experiences a cold winter temperate climate similar to the rest of Canada. The northeast corner of BC has a subarctic climate with very cold winters.