Vancouver Island is a large island in British Columbia, Canada. It is one of several North American locations named after George Vancouver, the British Royal Navy officer who explored the Pacific Northwest coast of North America between 1791 and 1794. While the city of Vancouver is located on the North American mainland, Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, is located on the island. Along with the minor islands to its immediate south, it is the only part of British Columbia that is south of the 49th Parallel.
The island is 460 kilometres (290 mi) in length and 80 kilometres (50 mi) in width at its widest point. At 32,134 km (12,407 sq mi), Vancouver Island is the largest Pacific island east of New Zealand, the largest island on the western side of North America, the world's 43rd largest island, Canada's 11th largest island, and Canada's second most populous island after the Island of Montreal. The Canada 2011 Census population is 759,366. Nearly half of these (344,630) live in Greater Victoria. Other notable cities and towns on Vancouver Island include Nanaimo, Port Alberni, Parksville, Courtenay, and Campbell River.
The island was originally named Quadra's and Vancouver's Island in commemoration of the friendly negotiations held by Spanish Commander of the Nootka Sound settlement Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra, and British Naval Captain George Vancouver on Nootka Sound in 1792, to find a solution to the Nootka Crisis